All-black attire

I’ve asked before, but may have missed the answer by Antonio last year.

Concert season in Florida is getting started up again, and some of my old questions are returning. Here’s one particular one:

When musicians play in a pit orchestra for a musical (or in salsa bands or other groups that want a certain uniformity), the general required dress is all black. In a pit orchestra, whether in the pit or on-stage, the idea is to be invisible and not draw attention away from the cast.

I would, however, like to add some style to this. Most guys show up looking sloppy in faded black shirts and perhaps something like tuxedo pants. Last night, I wore my charcoal suit, which has very small pinstripes that I can’t even see on it from more than five feet away, and accented it with a pocket square. Tonight, I plan to wear black trousers with the black shirt, and a light grey sports jacket, which I will take off when I get to the theater. When playing an instrument, I try not to wear a tie if I’m allowed to get away with it, so I don’t feel as restricted while playing, especially if I’m playing a brass instrument.

Are there other ideas I could try to break the monotony? Another thing to point out, is that with musicals, the run can be days on end, and I want to try to steer clear of wearing the same exact thing every day.

2 Replies to “All-black attire”

  1. Being restricted to all-black is a tough one!

    It sounds like you’ve hit on some good solutions — wearing a jacket some times but not others, adding a pocket square, etc. Depending on the venue you can try black jeans and a black western or work shirt, but that may be too informal for many of your needs.

    Similarly, a hat might be a nice touch that would probably be fine in a salsa band, but wouldn’t work in a pit orchestra. The more flair you add the less formal you’re going to be, and I assume at some point a symphony conductor is going to say “no.”

  2. Thanks!

    Yeah, in the symphony, it’s almost always black- or white-tie dress.

    I never thought about black jeans; I’d be able to get away with it in the pit, as we’re supposed to just be invisible to the audience, anyway.

    Last week I was working in a production, and one night I wore my light grey tweed jacket, and one of the actors told me I was dressed like Sinatra. Last night, another one told me I looked just like Ray Liotta. I think it’s working!

    Next year, I’m booked for a production of Chicago (my unique doubling expertise is becoming invaluable for the show), and it’s typically an on-stage, meant-to-be-seen space in that show. I would probably wear a hat to that gig, to add to the 1920s flair.

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