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!