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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The clothes we wear » » Is it ok to just wear a suit? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bob Sanders
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Drew,

We seem to think alike. There is a balance to preserve. Dress must be appropriate to not embarrass our talent buyer and/or host(s). Yet we are often "selling" a character who is recognized by costume.

First, last and always the magician is a hired guest. Breaking either set of rules for being an employee or being a guest is also very unacceptably out of character.

With enough experience as a professional entertainer, we have all been on a show with someone we will never ever work with again. As a professional entertainer, we can't afford the character/image damage associated with the identification. We learn to say "Thanks but no thanks". Good agents handle that for us.

When in doubt, wear a real suit with real leather shoes. Change to a character costume after you get there. When your act is over, change back.

Ever noticed that a doctor does not wear scrubs to court, a wedding or church?

Bob Sanders
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Mike Goeller
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My little rebelion and character comes in the form of the cufflinks I wear... Just a little brash... I have spinning dice cuff links,nice card cuff links, and some cool silver buffalo nickel cuff links, they add a little character...

I agree that you want to stand out just a little. Most of the time by wearing top end stuff and having it taliored I stand out just from being the best dressed there.

Even in the corporate world and at corporate parties, very few people even if there wearing a suit really look impecably dressed. So for me In that arena I just dress a little better then anyone there and I stand out and am a little different with out having to resort to a gimmick to do so.

It really depends on your venue. When I'm doing bar magic, I wear a black suit with a T-shirt. Something magic related like Tricks are for kids, or a Lee Grable T-shirt... I found dressing to nice at the bar can alienate you from the average bar go'er... so you scale back, still dress nicer then they are but not by a whole lot nicer.

H. At the one bar I work, when the Ravens were in the Playoffs I just wore my ravens Jersey, and performed in that. (yes I had pants on.) So I feel it really does depend on the venue how to dress. Example... a suit would look ridiculous, working a Renaissance Festible.

Denny Haney has his black and white check, vans shoes... a definate incongruity,with the tux he wears, but its a signitature look/trademark...

There's nothing wrong with dressing a little different, especially in a stage or platform act.

quote:I like to look classy but just the tiniest bit alien.-Jackscratch

I agree completely,but as Bob Sanders pointed out, taken to far and it will loose you work.

The initial advise asked for was for a walk-around engagment (if I remember correctly) and in that situation, I think being a little on the conservative side is fine. Your going to be differnt as soon as you start amazing them.

Things I hate to see... Big buttons and pins that say "yes this is what I do for a living" or "I love Magic" or "tips accepted" (I don't mean to offend anyone just my personal taste) These things except for the Tips accepted pin may have there place in a childrens show character... (maybe) but in a restaurant, or corporate style walk-around I find these thing hidious, and cheapening to the art. I prefer to raise the status and opinion of the art, by dressing and looking very successful. I may resort to clowning (mulica style material) but I don't look like one. Just an opinion.

Mike Goeller
Servante
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I agree with Drew. I usually wear a tux, but sometimes a black suit with a black dress shirt or a black turtleneck. Just a little alien, but not too alien.

I move around a lot during a show, and need to be able to do that, so after a time, wearing the tux, I will say, "Like the jacket? Nice?"
Get a reaction.
"Good. I've worn it long enough to write it off."

Then I take off the jacket and toss it offstage or onto a chair.

Sometimes I then roll up my sleeves...but if I'm planning to do that, I generally don't wear cufflinks (if the shirt I've chosen has button alternates)...or wear cheap plastic ones so I won't lose anything I value.
Bob Sanders
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Nothing is as predictable as change.

I got my start as a professional entertainer in the very late 50s. We were wearing pastel and a few bright color blazers with tux pants and “dogger” ties. Next we hit the age of plaid dinner jackets and real bow ties or still some of the “dogger” style ties. (Oh, how loved my metallic gold, red, silver and blue costumes, but nothing like I enjoyed the ones that followed.) The next generation of stage costumes was dinner jacks with patterns. Mine all had black spider webs over a solid color and my favorite was electric blue.

Then came the late 60s and the 70s and costumes went to ruffles, shoes I call cartoon shoes and soft colors. Pants legs played all kinds of games from pegged, wide, shaped and belled. By the 80s they were “retro”. For a while I even worked in a white tux (but completely consistent with white tie and black tie).

Throughout the whole time black tie and white tie were always appropriate. Cummerbunds have since disappeared but were only for the less formal occasions in black tie anyway. Wearing a vest was always appropriate.

So after all these years, the only real survivors have been the dark black tie and white tie tux. From time to time, even shawl collars disappear from dinner jackets making the peaked ones the safest investment. Lucy and I do have a few silver costumes for stage only.

A few months back some movers were working in Collinwood (our house in Valley Grande) and remarked that there were either 22 or 28 tuxedos in a closet. There is a reason. Those we use. They have been a good investment. The others have been given to the wardrobe departments of theater groups. My only holdout is a cream colored one I use for my Rhett Butler routine. Most people would have no use for it at all.

After forty-eight years in the professional entertainment industry, what I think I have learned is stick to the basics. The rest are temporary toys and don’t do much to help build a career in the industry. Work on the show instead.

Bob Sanders
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Servante
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Well, I confess all of my outgrown tuxes over the decades are still in a closet...including the 1970's wide lapel jobs...the big velvet bow ties...and the 1960's Nehru jacket.
And a few really good tuxes that would be fine to wear today.
Except they seem to have shrunk.

I have hope that I may at some point lose weight to fit them.
I have had that hope each time I've had to retire a tux.
Bob Sanders
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Do you think someone shrinks them just to bother us?

I missed the velvet ones. They came and went before I changed over. But I do remember the wide lapels that could hold more cargo than a square circle! I could hide eggs behind them!

The Nehrus had a front corner that became "pull headquarters". It was also a great place to vanish a wand.

Remember when we also wore "boots" with a tux?

Bob
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Servante
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I've probably got a pair or two of those somewhere. I don't throw much away. Never know when you might need a thing they don't make any more.

I have a glorious formal shirt, too; a jillion ruffles on the front and a collar you could fly to the moon with.

What were we thinking?
Bob Sanders
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We looked like the Carpenters or Donnie and Marie!
Bob Sanders

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JackScratch
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Here in Texas it's OK to wear boots with a tux, to this very day. I'm betting that as a native Texan, I could get away with it anywhere. I still wear real Bowties. Is that some variety of FauxPaus?
Bob Sanders
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Lucy will tell you that I still wear boots for "Sidestep" routine.

We live on a ranch and I have 8 pair boots and Lucy has 4 pair in the computer room!

I would feel at home there.

Bob Sanders
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lhfriar
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The general trend in mens fashion has become more casual over the years. Its a simple fact that men don't wear suits as much as they used to, especially young men. To wear a suit to any occasion is to be dressed nicer than the majority of the guest. Wearing a tux to a kids show is ridiculasly overdressed. A few months ago GQ magazine rated Target's suit as one of the top 10 suits under $500. Its a good looking suit and you wont look like a dork

Logan
Levity
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I agree with the comments that you should look good and should stand apart from what audience members might be wearing.

A few months back I had my tailors make me a 1920s-style black tuxedo with two waistcoats: a white satin one and a black one to match the suit. In the jacket, pants and waistcoats I had the tailor put in a good number of cunningly concealed pockets, and I can keep feather flowers, appearing cane, many packs of cards, coins, abundant silks etc etc etc in my outfit.

I bought a fine pair of plain black Bally shoes when the sales were on, and the whole ensemble looks first-class. I do a theatrical-type presentation, and this outfit clearly signals that I'm a bit retro, a bit different...dare I say, there are unusual things to come...

G
"I suggest you watch very carefully..."
Levity
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I agree with the comments that you should look good and should stand apart from what audience members might be wearing.

A few months back I had my tailors make me a 1920s-style black tuxedo with two waistcoats: a white satin one and a black one to match the suit. In the jacket, pants and waistcoats I had the tailor put in a good number of cunningly concealed pockets, and I can keep feather flowers, appearing cane, many packs of cards, coins, abundant silks etc etc etc in my outfit.

I bought a fine pair of plain black Bally shoes when the sales were on, and the whole ensemble looks first-class. I do a theatrical-type presentation, and this outfit clearly signals that I'm a bit retro, a bit different...dare I say, there are unusual things to come...

G
"I suggest you watch very carefully..."
Natanel
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^ Levity, that sounds like a really sharp outfit.

Ballys are very nice (I frequently perform whilst wearing suede Bally penny loafers) but if you have the budget for a bespoke tuxedo, I fear you are not living up to your true footwear potential.

May I humbly recommend brands like Santoni Fette a Mano, C&J handgrade, Ferragamo Tramezza or even on the very high end Vass, John Lobb or Edward Green?
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Levity
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Thanks, Natanel, those are all excellent shoes...

G
"I suggest you watch very carefully..."
Natanel
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Quote:
On 2008-09-13 19:37, Levity wrote:
Thanks, Natanel, those are all excellent shoes...

G


Who is your tailor by the way? I remember reading a piece in a fashion magazine about a tailor who made some outfits for a classical magician, and said he greatly enjoyed a magic show by the client.
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Levity
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I'm in Sydney, Australia, Natanel; I've had my suits and coats and trousers made by the tailors at Skin Deep...they make excellent retro-style clothing and, what's even better, they always understand the brief and stick to it.

G
"I suggest you watch very carefully..."
Natanel
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Quote:
On 2008-09-16 21:55, Levity wrote:
I'm in Sydney, Australia, Natanel; I've had my suits and coats and trousers made by the tailors at Skin Deep...they make excellent retro-style clothing and, what's even better, they always understand the brief and stick to it.

G


Cool, I've never heard of it but sounds like they do great work. I'm working on my first custom suit with Thick As Thieves LA. It's sort of an exciting process, I think I'm going to have little side pockets put in the pants a la Garret Thomas.
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Levity
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They do a lot of film stuff as well as private tailoring.

I had some excellent deep and thin pockets put into the tux jacket, in which I can hide several 18" long, 24" wide bouquets of feather flowers. The tailor came up with an ingenious way of placing a small button-down flap at the bottom of each of these pockets ao I can insert the bouquets and then button them in so the bouquets won't fall out. It looks almost undetectable in the silk lining of the jacket and works very well.

We also cut the jacket a bit longer and with extra room in it for such loads, but it still has very much a tailored look to it.

Geoffrey
"I suggest you watch very carefully..."
Donal Chayce
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Of course it's okay to perform wearing a suit, but the creme de la creme of magicians wear different types of suits specific to the kind of show they're giving. If it's a corporate gig, you should wear a business suit; if you're performing a classic manipulation act, you should wear a tuxedo or a set of tails...

...and if it's a birthday party, you should without a doubt wear your birthday suit.

:goof:
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