Month: September 2015

Lifehacks for Singers: Dressing Down Performance Wear

It’s that time of year again, Fall Audition Season! For the next few months, singers everywhere will be vying for contracts, roles, residencies, and spots in young artist programs.  Depending on how many auditions you do, it can be a pretty stressful time; there are the financial concerns of paying for flights, gas, accompanists, headshots, and recordings, the question of putting together the best audition package and which aria to start with, and of course, what are you going to wear?

The question of whether or not an outfit is “performance appropriate” is fraught with conflicting opinions and I don’t think it would do any good to add my own. Instead, I’m going to talk about strategies for when you’re out of the audition room. We don’t always have the time or space to bring a whole extra outfit to change into later, but you don’t want to look your fanciest the whole time.  Here are a few of my tips for how to dress down a performance outfit before or after you’ve sung.

Little Black Dressing Down

The beauty of a good little black dress is that you can dress it up or down easily with a few accessories.  Throwing on a plaid shirt or jean jacket can make even the fanciest dress look more relaxed, and balance out the comfy sneakers or flats that you’re probably going to change into.

Suit Yourself

Suits are so easy that I probably don’t even need to talk about them. Just take off your tie, change your pants into jeans or chinos and you’re set. The jacket can stay on or off depending on whether you have a place to hang it.

Change Your Pants

Changing your pants works even when you aren’t wearing a suit.  Jeans instantly make a dress shirt or top more casual, and if you’re wearing low, comfortable heels, you might not even need to change those.

From Noon Hour to Happy Hour

If you like your bottoms, why not change the top instead? The nice thing about the basic black pieces that everybody tells us to wear at auditions is that they can be made to look appropriate for any occasion with the right accessories.

Put Some Boots On

This last piece of advice I heard from a much more stylish acquaintance of mine, she told me that cowboy boots were the ultimate pair of leather boots to own, because they’re so durable and they are great at dressing down a nice skirt or dress.

And of course scarves.  Casual, Fashionable, and practical.  Pashminas and other big, square scarves have the added benefit of turning into a shawl when you need to stay fancy and warm at the same time.

What are your strategies for dressing down after a performance or audition? Or do you like to stay fancy the whole time? Let me know in the Comments!

Opera Inspired Outfits- The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)

A bunch of my friends just did a production of The Magic Flute in Italy and so I have it on the brain.  I decided to revisit some of my older Opera outfits that have been hiding in the archives of my old tumblr. This is still one of my favourite collections.

The Three Ladies
I love these three women. They have such a great dynamic and generally steal the scene every time.  Each woman has a distinct personality and I wanted to reflect that in each of the outfits. When I first made these up, I assigned the outfits in numerical order from left to right, but I’ve actually changed my mind.  The outfit on the left screams Third Lady to me, who I think is the youngest, or at least the most playful of the three.  The middle one is demure and practical, like I imagine the First Lady to be and the right outfit is for the second lady, who seems to be the dramatic type to me.

Papagena
This is hands-down my favourite outfit that I’ve ever made for this series. I love everything about it. The cagey heels, the feather hair pin, and that skirt! We don’t see much of Papagena in the opera but this outfit is quirky and sexy, just like she is.

Pamina
I went with blue and gold for Pamina because she is trapped between night and day. The dress is fancy and princess-like but the yellow cardigan dresses it down.  The accessories here are super symbolic, the silver star earrings, the gold chain bracelet and of course the dagger broach all represent the forces that she is caught between. Poor Pamina, being used as a pawn in a cosmic power struggle when all she wants is a boyfriend.

Queen of the Night
Ok, maybe giving the queen a gown and a ton of jewellery is a cop-out, but what else can you do? She is dark, dramatic and blindingly sparkly.  The heels are impractical, but who needs practical shoes when you’re the queen of everything? There are a few different pairs of earrings because she would definitely have more than one piercing, maybe if I was to do this again, I would give her a sparkly ear cuff. Most of the jewellery in the set are actually rings, because I can totally imagine her making Tamino and Papageno kiss her rings in deference

Tomorrow is my last first day of school, which is SO CRAZY, but I am determined to blog through it all. Are there any other operas that you’d like to see outfits for? Let me know in the comments!

September Resolutions

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Hello everybody! I’ve missed you.  I had to take an involuntary hiatus from the blog, because of computer issues at the worst possible time to have computer issues (that is, when you are in two operas at the same time and then moving hallway across the country immediately after) but I am back and so excited about it.

Gretchen Rubin recently posted something on her blog about the idea of September Resolutions.  As the traditional start of the school year, September is a great time to start fresh and work on forming new habits. It’s also a great time look at your January Resolutions and re-evaluate them.

Since I’m going back to school next week, I thought it would be good to share my resolutions with you. Since accountability is important when it comes to achieving your goals.

Rededicate Myself to the Blog
I had to take a break from blogging last month but if I am being honest with myself, there were things that I could have done to prevent such a long radio silence. This coming term is going to be busy for me, but I am determined to keep on schedule. I also have my DSLR with me again, so I can finally stop taking pictures with my less than stellar cellphone camera and have some nicer photos to share with you!

Spend More Time at the Library
Living in Halifax this summer meant that I got to spend time at one of the most beautiful libraries that I have ever been to, and it reminded me how much I love the library. I haven’t been to the library in London yet, but even if it isn’t as pretty it will still have everything that I love about libraries.

Develop Good Morning and Night Routines
I’ve read everywhere that having good routines helps you get to sleep faster and makes your mornings easier. Plus, living in a new a climate means that I need to get serious about my skin care, because I am tired of feeling like a teenager with these breakouts

Get Serious About My Finances
As I’ve mentioned in my personal finance posts, taking control of your budget is a process that requires constant re-evaluation. Sometimes I feel a little bit like a fraud, writing about effective budgeting when my budgets are often less than balanced.  Also, this is my last year of school, so I am going to have to start thinking about how I’m going to pay back all of my student loans and to be honest I’m a little worried about it.  Getting my finances under control this year will make the next few years so much easier.

Bike to School (weather permitting)
One of the things that London has going for it over Halifax is that the city is full of beautiful bike trails. Our new apartment is fairly close to a bike trail that runs along the river and deposits us right outside the music building at school. I plan to take advantage of this.

Be a Better Student
Isn’t this everyone’s goal at the beginning of a new school year? Originally I wanted this resolution to be more about my professional success, but I’m not so sure if “get a role in the opera” or “get into this young artist program” are reasonable goals because so much of that is out of my control.  Instead, I can resolve to be a better artist and a good student.  I can work hard in my classes, practice more often and more effectively, and prepare my auditions more fully so that I give myself the best chance to impress the people that have more control over whether or not I get those roles and or a place in those programs.

Make My House a Home
Moving to a new city is always hard, but it was especially hard for me this time because I love Halifax so much.  I’ve spent the past week wavering between loving my new place and wishing desperately that I could go back home to Halifax. Since I can’t do that, I’m going to work hard to make this place cozy and welcoming, so that I can love living here too.

So that’s what I’ll be working towards this year. Do you have September Resolutions? What are they? Let me know in the comments!