Anyone who attends a piano recital would be expected to be focusing on the beautiful music being played. Since it is a “live” performance, the spotlight would too be on the pianist. As a pianist, what is then considered appropriate to dress yourself in during a piano recital?
For men, the dress code is usually a dress shirt and dress pants with suitable shoes that are pedal-friendly. Sneakers, boots or flip-flops are a no-no.
For the ladies, formal dresses or skirts that are at least knee length, conservative tops (that will stay in place during the performance) and low heels would be appropriate. Shoes that will affect the pedalling should be avoided.
The dress code for formal occasions like a piano recital or an orchestra performance has been somewhat fixed for years. However, as we move into modern times, should the dress code then be challenged to move along with the times?
During her solo performance in 2011 at the Hollywood Bowl, Yuja Wang, a young Chinese pianist was the hot topic of interest. It was not because of her brilliant performance but her choice of dress at that performance.
Whether her choice of dress was suitable for a piano performance became a controversial topic, since most people might just be focusing on the lack of coverage than her performance itself. Her short dress and amazingly high heels left little to the imagination. While the audience enjoyed her incredible skills as a pianist, was it really crucial what Yuja Wang wore?
Yuja Wang did not seem to be bothered with the criticism on her choice of dressing during her performances. In her words, “I just do what is natural for me.” To Yuja Wang, to be comfortable in her own skin is essential, especially during a performance.
Indeed, during piano recitals, it is critical that the pianist has to be dressed in his or her best. As Chia Kenneth, a local mobile tailor with 23 years of experience in the tailoring industry, believes, one has to “Look good, feel good, do good.”
Having done customised tailored suits for both male and female performers, Kenneth advises that for female performers, kitten heels could be an alternative to stilettos as they are more comfortable and address the concern of not being able to feel the piano pedals. They also reduce the strain on the ankle and calf.
For male performers who might face restrictions in their elbows’ and knees’ movements during performances, Kenneth advises using a stretchable fabric for the elbow portion on men’s shirts and having well-fitted suits.
The last thing a performer wants to worry about is whether the clothes he or she is wearing will hinder the performance. Fully-customised, well-fitting clothes for performance will take away this concern. An experienced tailor would be able to provide proper advice to how the performance clothes should be. A customised set of clothes for the performer takes the distraction off improper attire that would otherwise be a hindrance during the performance.
As we move along with times, a piano recital’s dress code could also move forth. It will perhaps not be as radical as what Yuja Wang has done, so long as it ensures that whatever outfits the performers are wearing, are as good as their second skin. This can definitely be achieved if these attire are specially made just for them.