What and How you Wear it, matters.
I’ve always been pretty normal in my dress sense, not necessarily paying attention to brands or trends as long as I liked it and fitted nicely. I was never influenced by what everyone else was wearing, and on the other hand I was also unique for that very same reason. I was brought up to dress, no matter what, clean and presentable at all times, even if the garments were unbranded. However, as I grew up I came to understand the utter importance of how the way we present ourselves – depending on what you wear (clothes, jewellery, hair and make-up; clean, ironed, polished, perfumed) and how you wear it (do you own it? your attitude, your comfort, your sense of belonging to those clothes) – affects two main things:
- People’s perception of who you are.
- The success of your performance.
Wearing the right outfit prepares you to perform the type of activity you are going to accomplish, it sets the ‘mood’. For example, if I decide to wear baggy trousers and a boyfriend shirt to a club, I am probably going to be feeling very relaxed, as opposed to wearing tights, a mini-skirt and a cropped top, which will completely change my attitude, my posture, my walk, and even my thinking. It is a big thing. Both ways set my intentions and the way people see me in opposite directions, and it can even condition my choices of drinks/music/food/acquaintances.
So, while clothes don’t make who you are, they help, a great deal. Apply the sentence: “You are what you wear” in the same way we say: “You are what you eat”. There is something called “Enclothed Cognition” that suggests that, aside with our brains, we also think with our bodies (obviously, as the body is just a physical manifestation of our whole being), and our thought processes are based on physical experiences that set off associated abstract concepts. Those experiences include the clothes we wear. If we go to an atomic level, think of wearing a gold bracelet for example, the gold electrons will influence the electrons of your skin, affecting its behaviour in a positive way (gold has always been such a valuable precious metal to wear, since times immemorial, because it makes you a better person, literally!). It’s the same with the material your clothes are made up of, shapes and colours. Everything has a vibration, and it matches or disrupts our own. So be wise with your choice of garments.
“When an individual wears clothes, the friction caused by the subtle-contact of the garment with the body attracts waves from the atmosphere towards the individual which, aided by the clothes, enter the subtle-sheaths and the body of the individual”.– A Scholar (Through the medium of Mr. Nishad Deshmukh, 18th June 2007)
Once I made an experiment, on purpose, some ten years ago. I decided to wear a Muslim outfit (me, Spanish Catholic turned cosmopolitan-world-citizen Spiritual/Religionless) to a singing recording session. I was so confident in demonstrating that whatever I wore, it would not affect the perception the sound technician had on me (the guy didn’t know me, it was the first time – and the last one – that we were going to work together). When I entered through that door, the good chap (English, white) turned pale and kept on asking what had made me decide to become a singer, and whether I was ‘really’ a singer. I cannot describe with words how contemptuously he treated me, how insignificant I felt, and how, despite my efforts explaining to him that I was a professional singer with plenty of experience on stages of every kind, showing my legs bare naked wearing short dresses, and that I had chosen to dress that way that one time, he kept on ignoring me. Needless to say that, even he loved my voice, he never hired me again. The delights of living in a society full of clichés and sheep mentality, eh? Couldn’t he have treated me according to my talent and professionalism? No, instead he chose to treat me as any man would a Muslim girl in times when ‘Muslim’ terrorist attacks in London where a thing.
Try it once, you’ll be shocked, at the best.
Dressing Sense for Singers.
Let’s get practical now and let me share with you some tips for your practice and performing times.
- Feel the contact of your feet against the floor for a more profound breathing and relaxation (socks or barefooted).
- Wear something loose that makes you feel warm and weightless.
- Wear earthy/neutral colours.
- Wear cotton / linen fabrics.
- No accessories or jewellery that will distract your attention from your bodily sensations. [And for heaven’s sake, do not wear a cap or a hat! nothing should touch your head (no, you WON’T look cool)].
- No make-up.
- In short, wear something that’s going to make you feel as natural as possible and as similar as you are in your neutral state.
This will depend largely on the type and style. And whether you are on your own, in a band, show, recital, etc. But, as a general guide, I give you this:
- Something that enhances your posture but allows you to breathe comfortably (if singing classical, wearing a corset or a belt strategically placed can help adding that extra pressure on your diaphragm, thus making your muscles work more efficiently to give air pressure to the voice).
- Heels: hmm… there are advantages and disadvantages. The former: you’ll feel /look taller and more stylized. The latter: it will compromise your breathing if you are not experienced enough and it can cause discomfort in your posture/movement, even cause pain. So play it by ear and do what you think it’s best. Try with shorter heels if you are a beginner and see how you feel. I suggest practising with them too, if you absolutely have to wear high heels to a performance. Something that works for me is dancing shoes. They are softer than normal heels and I can wear them for ages with no discomfort. If I know that I am going to be sitting on a stool or high chair, then I wear the longest heels I have 🙂 Try and see what works best for you.
- Clothes/accessories/make-up: anything goes! again, it will depend on the situation. In any case, be a degree above everyone else. You are the one people are coming to see, so make an effort and be at your best. No matter how crappy your day has been. No matter whether there are two people in the audience. No matter whether you’re playing in a forgotten room somewhere in a house. ALWAYS BE “THE SINGER”. That person that shines, the one people turn heads for. Why? Because you are taking them to another dimension with your singing, you are making them forget their problems, taking them away from this reality. And most of all because it will make YOU be a better singer, deliver a better performance. How do you feel when you dress to impress compared to when you dress ‘just about’? it changes your mood instantly, so live by the following rule: “I will not leave my house without my lipstick on”. That colour on your lips, those 5 seconds of your life, will change your day. Seriously!
- Be honest. With your singing. With yourself! so that people will relate and ‘feel’ you! Be genuine. Stars are to be admired. You are setting the example of what others want to be. SHINE 🙂
And, now, I will ask you to please dress in general according to the type of activity you are going to engage into. Nobody wants to wear a suit in bed. Nobody wears slippers to the gym (most people don’t, anyway), in the same way that it’s not nice to wear a non-ironed shirt to a wedding or a cocktail dress to do your gardening. Your garments will help you develop your activity. Make an effort, and above all be happy and consequent with your choices.