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Topic: Finding a magical look
Message: Posted by: Edith (Sep 1, 2010 12:59PM)
People in http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=378809&forum=30 suggested that I look out for a more magical look.

How did you find your magic look or what of your look makes you appear as a magician?
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Sep 1, 2010 05:55PM)
Hi Edith! May I (Darf ich?)?

I like the pink outfit on your opening Miss Edith page. That would work fine, as the look fits you well. I only see that picture from the waist up. I imagine a pink matching skirt, or even black.

I haven't spoken German since the 70's, but can read most of your site. You have a very thorough background. "ging sie in die Luft..", as in trapeze work, or? Wow. Acrobatics. And now you pretty much do only Close-Up. "Und wenn sie nicht gestorben ist..." LOL! I hope not! By the way, did you ever start doing coins again? Thank you for your post! Post us a video, some time! I'd love to see your close-up act.

Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Sep 2, 2010 07:46PM)
I think really it just comes down to "character."

There are a few kind of default magical characters at least in the US, such as the Tux-guy or the tux-top&hot pants girl, but plenty of magicians invent their own characters. I love Whit's "pop" character who to me seems a slightly oily medicine man with a dash of old southern charm. I've seen gypsy magicians. Heck, one of our regulars here does a pirate-magician for the kiddies. I did a wily street kid sort of thing for a middle ages reenactment group I was part of in high school.

I would ask, what kind of people to the audiences in your area associate with slight of hand or magic? Of those archetypes, what appeals to YOU?
Message: Posted by: randirain (Sep 2, 2010 09:54PM)
Dressing is the hardest thing.

My advise is just to keep trying different stuff until something works.

It hasn't happened to me yet, but I am sure it will at some point.

I have gone from...
a dark look,
to a colorful look,
to vintage mod 60's dresses,
to just not caring,
to something I am about to try which I don't have a name for just yet.

Just what ever you do.. don't conform to the stereotypical woman magician.

Message: Posted by: Jaz (Sep 3, 2010 07:43AM)
Looking at you site photos I see that you actually have several looks.
I like them all. Each look has it's place depending on the venue.
Message: Posted by: Nikki (Sep 3, 2010 08:15PM)
Really it just comes down to who you are. How I find my look was basically just picturing myself doing magic knowing the kind of person I am and magic that I do, and eventually I came up with a look that I liked that fit who I was and the type of magic I do.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Sep 3, 2010 09:49PM)
On 2010-09-02 22:54, randirain wrote:
Dressing is the hardest thing...don't conform to the stereotypical woman magician.
On 2010-09-03 21:15, Nikki wrote:
Really it just comes down to who you are....eventually I came up with a look that I liked that fit who I was and the type of magic I do.

Great replies! As a man, I also do not conform to the "typical magician". You know, Top Hat, tuxedo, etc. I don't have a weird "handle", either (Please, "Dougini" was the only name I could think of using, that wasn't already taken, and I kind of regret using that name. But I had to call myself SOMETHING to be a member here. LOL!).

I introduce myself as Doug Shannon, and go from there. When I was a professional performer, I wore casual clothing, had my hair and beard trimmed, and was pretty much myself. Randi and Nikki are right. There should be no "stereotypical" magician, male or female. If your act is a Sorcerer, and you feel right in such a costume, no problem. Clothing yourself in the appropriate costume is great, if it's YOU!

As far as Edith is concerned, I think that pink jacket and hat is superb! That grabs attention. It is also in good taste. Look here:


And the white dress with red flowers:


(Edith, in my PM to you, I mistakenly said the Kontakt page, I meant the Angebot page.) It's beautiful! It's HER. She stands OUT like that. She has class!

Isn't that really what it's all about? Not a magician's "look", per se, but a look that fits YOU!

Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Sep 3, 2010 10:05PM)
Heh well Doug,

I make my living online and have for a long time. For that reason I use a "play handle" for non business interactions to separate them. A wise man once said "don't sh-t where you live."

And while I don't think you HAVE to do the stereotypical look, and said as much I think, I also don't think there is anything *wrong* with it, if its you.

For my part, I feel extremely comfortable in a tux (or for that matter in a business suit.) The few times I've had the opportunity to perform in one just felt great to me. A tux makes me feel magical. Your mileage may vary. And I bet a lady whow as comfortable with the look could get some attention in Vegas with the classic tux-top and hot pants thing as I don't think its been done in awhile and thus would have a kind of a "nostalgia" tinge to it.

But the important thing in any of this, as I think we've said to death, is you come up with something that communicates *your* character to the audience and that you are comfortable performing in.
(And has a lot of black if your into BA ;) )
Message: Posted by: Nikki (Sep 4, 2010 01:27PM)
On 2010-09-03 22:49, Dougini wrote:

As far as Edith is concerned, I think that pink jacket and hat is superb! That grabs attention. It is also in good taste. Look here:

Love the pink! It seems to fit you very well. Here's another thing to think about, with the look you choose you have to also keep in mind the venues you perform in or wish to perform in.

Because if you get hired for say a black tie event and the look you usually wear isn't black tie then you obviously can't wear it. So you also have to think of how then you can adapt your look to fit the venues needs. OR lets say you always do black tie events and that's what you aimed for when you created the look...well what do you do when someone wants you to work a restaurant? or say a private party or some event that isn't what your used to. Then obviously it would look strange if you over dressed there. So keep in mind all these things and think how you could adapt your look for when those situations may arise.

**Also on a side note think about this, whether you want the clothing choice to be like an every time you ever perform thing like David Copperfield, wearing the same thing every show, or maybe you want to have different outfits for each time.
When I perform, I normally wear black boots that go up to my knees, with a heel, and have gold buckles on the side, and a black midriff jacket with a gold zipper and gold buckle. And usually black pants, the only thing I ever change from show to show Is the shirt I wear underneath which is usually a color like purple or blood red that pops out. [and Obviously I adapt that look because it isn't the right look for every venue].

Also, on your site it seems to me that you have like a bunch of different looks. I think you should maybe focus on one look one style and then adapt that look when needed but not going outside of the boundary's of the style you have. Always ask yourself and see "what does this look say about me?" "what will peoples first impression of me be by the clothing choice I have, and the way I carry my look?"

P.S.--If you do decide you don't want to wear the same thing every show you have to make sure the clothes you wear each time are related to a specific style you have. You don't want to wear something bright and pink that says your fun and exciting one show and the next show wear something dark or Gothic that says maybe your more mysterious the next show. People will think that you have multiple personality disorder...just kidding, but you know what I mean.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 4, 2010 02:27PM)
You also have to think about where you will carry Magic or possible l***s if you do that sort of thing. It can be a problem to get so far in a Rope routine and realize you aren't wearing the pockets you normally do (it has happened to me).

I think the pink is cute too.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Sep 4, 2010 10:28PM)
Being lazy, Id also observe that a single performing outfit means you don't have to move pulls and such (or buy multipel sets.)

Im working on getting my own weight down a bit... my pants size is just too big right now for me to feel good investing in a Tux, but when I'm thinner again Im looking at buying one, or maybe two (Men's warehouse gives you a great deal if you buy two at once) and dedicating one to magic-costume so it can be modified and have gimmicks permanently attached.
Message: Posted by: miss_vega_bond (Sep 27, 2010 06:49PM)
Mmmm... if it helps, I always feel that you should be identifiable as the 'entertainment' - yet able to blend in with the clientele, so that when you are with a table people at the next table arent staring at what you are wearing.. they are doing the over the shoulder look (you know what I'm talking about) because people at your current table are clapping and laughing.
On stage I've got my character, but close up I'm happiest (and comfortable!) in a pencil skirt, ****-hot crisp shirt, either a little bustier over the top or a smart but fitted waistcoat (vest?) and walkable heels. I feel smart, just a little sexy which is V. good for confidence! But the most important thing is to be spotlessly clean with pretty hands, presentable and polished, and above all comfortable.
Hope that helps?

xx VB
Message: Posted by: abrell (Oct 2, 2010 04:42PM)
Dear Edith,

the pink seems to fit you better than blue. I would guess that black and plain white will make you look pale and sick. One of the best investments I myself made was to ask a professional colour consultant. "Colour me beautiful" is a sytem that makes sense in my opinion - behind that system is the aesthetic artwork of Johannes Itten. The colours are assembled to enhance the natural colours of you skin, hair and eyes. In Berlin you can contact http://www.bothe-image.de/. With the results you can very fast select clothing in the right colours.

When you plan you stage personality, whom do you play? Why do you have magic power? Are that clever tricks from the girl next door? Are you a genie from a Doris Day movie? Are you a former magicians assistant that now performs alone? Have all you female ancestors been witches? Your friends can be agreat help with this. Berlin is full of theatres. Ask a director how you would be casted for a theatre play. With that ideas ask someone in a costume department.

Most mens clothing is not as stunning and fashionable as womens clothing. Use that advantage as a magicienne. And in second hand shops the best and most stunning clothes are often very cheap because no average person would choose such eye catching items. Berlin should be the right place to look for really stunning outfits: what about ST-Store in Karl-Kunger-Str./ Doris Textor/ Menzel in Wilmersdorf/ fashion arts in Kreuzberg (outlet store)/...
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 2, 2010 05:40PM)
[quote]Most mens clothing is not as stunning and fashionable as womens clothing.

Not sure I buy that, Men's fashion tends to be a bit more conservative, but a cut-away for instance on a guy thin enough to wear one well is smashing. (At least I think so, ladies feel free to agree or disagree.)

Similarly a good italian suit that is cut to the man wearing it is pretty impressive. Think Remmington Steele..
Message: Posted by: paulapaul (Dec 12, 2010 01:56PM)
One thing that I did, to help find a "look" was gather all the materials I could on prototypes for women of magic. From the Pixie to the Crone, the Huntress, the Goddess Mother, The Goddess Daughter, Goddesses of Love and Destruction, Angels and so on ... I don't know how much that influenced my eventual look, but it was interesting to read books like "The Goddesses in Everywoman" to see qualities of different magical beings I could see in myself.

From a practical point of view, start with what you have. Our looks determine part of what we can and cannot do. I have a friend who has not tipped the scale at less than 200 lbs for years. She plays Mother Goose in her act.

If you wear your glasses all the time, that gives you a point that you need to pull into your look, rather than let it overwhelm your look. Luckily, you are attractive. So, you can pull off the classic look of a smart, chic woman. A well fitted suit, hair in an up do. No print frocks for you!!! They'll make you look like a mouse. A mid-calf skirt that is not fitted will have a tent effect on your build. But, a slender mid-calf could be quite distinct. Any length skirt is acceptable today. One thing you may want to try is a woman’s tux by a top designer, with your hair swept up. If you don't have diamond studs for your ears, get fakes that are small enough to be mistaken for real. If you want to go with something more funky, just make sure it is well defined. Like me, you are too vanilla to wear unstructured clothes. The same with your hair. If you don't want to cut some structure into it, you can always use wigs. A good haircut (or wig) will make a big difference. With wigs, you have more freedom to experiment than you do with real hair. Plus, they hold a style better. You want a style with attitude. Just look out for hot days at an outdoor event! That's a good day to wear your own in a clean up-do, or you'll fry.

No matter what look you use, the hands must be impeccable. Another important aspect of your look is magazine-cover make up. I used to have a makeup lesson every 5 years or so at Lord & Taylor or Saks Fifth Avenue, just to stay up to date with colors and techniques. If you find a drag queen who will show you some contouring tricks, you'll never regret it. You don't want to look like RuPaul, or anything. But, well modulated fashion makeup adds professionalism to any look you choose.

For some flair in dressing, look into an interesting cut in items, like an Asian or Nehru neck, a square neck or a white button up shirt with collar. With my tux, I wore no blouse ... just the plunging neckline. Good necklines can add distinction to your look. So can an interesting collar. "Interesting" does not include wrinkles. A collar that can't hold its shape is not helpful.

The big black purse with a light dress is heavy and distracting. To use a purse, it should also have a "look" that shows some thought has gone into it. It's a fine line to have something interesting that does not upstage you. Like the table for stage magicians, the place for carrying one's utilities is the bane of the close-up girl's existence. Especially if the clothing is fitted...hard to hide the stuff! Now, if your outfit had a floor-length open coat or a duster, pockets could be added inside and out. But, there are plenty of interesting purses. The trick is finding the right one - or ones. I used a black satin-covered box. I added a lizard made of solid gray seed beads onto the top. It was interesting enough to belong to someone unique. It was just formal enough for my tux, and funky enough for less formal events. I carried it like a clutch bag, so it didn't add bulk to my profile. The black was not distracting, since I was not wearing it. But, there is a lot to be said for the shoulder bag - totally mobile! No table needed. Nice. There is a program on American TV called "What Not To Wear", in which the choices of good shoes and bags are in colors I would never dream of. They are unexpected and they look great. If you don't have such a program, you may want to visit boutiques and some of the best women's shops, and ask to see what is new. German sensibility is legendary, so you may want to find some foreign shops as well. Or shops for twenty-somethings. They may have more adventurous offerings. Online outlets, too.

Magazines can also get your imagination running. I used to cut out looks that I liked. Then, I could ask a costumer - how would this dress look with these sleeves, or whatever. I had a picture of some incredible boots that were on a woman wearing only a hat, and a sheer mesh from the hat and the boots - from a Playboy calendar. Friends used to raise their eyebrows, and ask me where I planned on hiding ANYTHING! But, let them laugh. Eight years after I put that picture in my book, I had those boots custom made in Korea. They came up over the knee. I never sat down once the boots were on. When we sit, the knees get thicker, and they would stretch that area of the boots. Those boots hugged me like gloves, and I intended for them to look right for as long as I could.

To be honest, the look we create may happen quickly, or may take years. The trenchcoat and Fedora that I used for my “Dragnet” number (newspaper tear and money magic) were just right from the first time I put them on. My Bird Act dress and jacket took several years to complete. I designed “The Dress” for my bird act myself - the look and the magic utilities. I wanted to walk on stage with a fitted dress and jacket that were small at the waist, like me. I hesitated to load birds at the upper torso, because an audience would notice if I started out like Dolly Parton, and ended up like Twiggy. It’s just the human element that makes a woman’s chest very noticeable to the spectators. Men could put good draping in their jackets, and had the entire torso, down to the hip bone, for concealment. If I wanted to fool the heck out of everyone, and look very feminine, I had to think outside the box. “The Dress” had 4 separate incarnations as I tried what I could afford, and made improvements. In the end, I looked every bit a shapely figure, and still produced 3 cockatoos in the bird act. One was a body load, one was just a box load and the third was a bold leg steal that was made even better by taking advantage of the skirting of the dress. I was able to put a lot of distance between the steal location and center stage (where I produced the bird). I also had body loads for sword productions and the utilities to hide even more.

Hats are great, too. They set you apart.

You want to be distinguishable from across the room. This can be done in low-key styles as well as in "out-there" looks. I would stay with solid colors and very well-cut pieces. Trim at the edges done in lace sewn over a bold color creates texture, and gives you a good place to conceal several pockets. In your wardrobe, think beyond the outfit itself. Include interesting elements like texture, lines that define what you want the eye to see and lines that conceal.

Another fun look is a man's suit, with long, curly tresses down your back. Men’s suits are available in such subtle colors. The same goes for their shirts and ties. There are plenty of things to try. As long as we remember that we are the Principal. A woman who can cause magic to happen at the wave of her manicured hand can be bouncy like a Pixie, or sophisticated, like a Bond Girl, powerful, like a bank president, playful like a kid, independent like the Huntress, wise and frightening like the Crone. The images are limitless. But, even if it is a “ditzy” power (filing her nails while assistants shove swords through an assistant), or Glenda the Good, she is THE SOURCE OF THE STORY. She is the magical person, and she is very interesting.
Message: Posted by: johndraws (Jan 3, 2011 11:18PM)
You are a cute girl. Keep it simple and dress for the occassion. Sounds like you want to "step" your waredrobe up a notch. Nothing wrong with that. I would simply suggest that you wear colors and fitted clothing that compliment you. Keep it simple and non distracting. Clothing should not be a focal point, they should be an accent. The clothes you wear CAN create an image that you do not want to be remembered for. I like the pink hat...but I think you should loose the hat, the bobbie pins and go to a salon for a new hair style that looks "effortless", "timeless" and subtle. You are the frame around your magic...how do you want to be remembered? There are no "right" answers....so most importantly you should be comfortable.
Not sure what kind of act you do..but If I were walking buy and seen you performing tricks at a table dressed like the photos of you wearing your pink hat, glasses and brown pants...I would stop and watch in an eager state of wonder. If I seen you wearing the floral dress and carrying a purse (as cute as you may be) I would not take you seriously and probably walk past or think, she better be good (which already subconciously, creates an unwanted obstical that you are better off without). Very unfair to judge a book by it's cover however...it happens and we ALL get judged to some degree simply based on what people "see". Unfortunate. Hopefully at the end of your set, you will "WOW" them nonetheless.
Message: Posted by: Stucky (Jan 5, 2011 03:52AM)
Find something you enjoy wearing, flatters you, and looks good from a distance. Then punch it up a notch. Something that makes it a bit more showy and ONLY wear it for performing. You don't want to go with an "off the rack" look because it's not very professional. You want to be the best dressed or the most uniquely dressed.

Even outfits that looked ripped and worn, were fabricated with that look in mind. Charlie Chaplin's outfit was custom made to be a performing outfit.

You can ever find multiple looks, so long as they share a similar theme or feel. It just takes time, don't try to force or rush it.
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Jan 11, 2011 12:57AM)
I find myself changing my look depending on the type of show we are doing and I also have to make sure that whatever I wear does not fight with my son Matthew's attire since we are a two person act. We actually found this out the hard way when we each decided to wear a very loud paisley print which looked awesome on us individually, but fought terribly side by side, which made our act very painful to watch! Fortunately it was just a small show for family and friends at the time so no permanent harm was done!

Now we make sure that our outfits compliment each other and fit the theme of the particular show we are doing. :)