A guy once said to me that if or when we started dating, he’d like to buy me a new wardrobe. At the time I thought it was a potentially kind gesture (how? I don’t know!). Intelligence stepped in shortly after and I realized how extremely derogatory and rude his statement was. We didn’t date in the end and I his remark made me think a lot more about my style, how I shopped and what I wore. So… he was good for something <insert evil laugh>!!!
As I started to perform more and more, my style evolved and I realized I needed to have a look that was synonymous with my brand, that could add to the uniqueness of it and make me memorable every time I stepped onto a stage. For the most part, I wear tailored blazers and matching shorts but of course I also leave a little wiggle room for other combinations, depending on the kind of gig. Here are a few things to take into consideration when choosing your signature stage style;
1). What Kind Of Music Do You Play?
Be aware that what you wear will attract a certain kind of audience. There is no question that certain genres have a ‘look’ and it could be in your best interest to know what’s familiar to your type of music and audience. With increasingly popular genres like Hip-hop, Pop, Rnb, Trap, Country, House etc. you tend to see musicians in outfits that are either part of a current trend or that are setting a trend and mostly quite exposed. For more niche genres like jazz, soul, classical etc. artists create a specific style for themselves and rarely follow trends to the T. The average mind usually jumps to conclusions about the kind of music you make based on how you look. It’s not a good or bad thing. It’s just something you should be aware of. If your music and fashion look like a mis-match – that could be a poor reflection on your branding efforts.
2). How Do You Perform?
Are you energetic? Do you sit on a stool mostly and strum your guitar? Do you require comfortable heels to move around in – will you be known for high stilettos that elongate your legs? Do you dance a lot on stage? How does your choice of clothes affect your movement and vice-versa. Look at your videos/set list and see how you can incorporate different style choices into one show that suits the level of energy you give at different points.
Image Source: Getty / Paras Griffin/BET
3). What Sorts Of Events Do You Generally Perform At?
Are you known for performing certain kinds of gigs? The more of the same style of gigs you do like singing in churches as a gospel artist or being the leader singer in a wedding band etc will help to dictate how to position your fashion and style for your brand.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Consistency in our business is key. Some performers are consistently inconsistent. Ever heard of Lady Gaga? Or Nikky Minaj? The ‘surprise’ element could be your thing and it will demand consistent creativity and a visionary mindset.
4). What Are You Most Comfortable In?
Comfort is relative especially for us women. Right? I’m sure you’re thinking – Girl, it’s not about comfort, it’s about what looks good! I feel you… but the truth is, when you’re on stage, the last thing you want to be is uncomfortable. Discomfort shows quite easily to the average eye so it is even more apparent when you’re on stage, under those lights and everybody is watching your every move. You don’t want to be that performer that keeps pulling down their skirt every time they walk from one side of the stage to the other.
5). What Do You Look Good In?
Janelle Monae can rock any combination of black and white and it works really well for her. Do you know what colors suit you? What works for your shape and height? This site has some great insight on that too. Look at some of your past pictures or photoshoots and analyze for yourself what you like, share with friends and get their opinion. Looking good makes you feel good .
6). What Looks Do You Usually Gravitate Towards?
If you are still not sure – look at your everyday style. What do you usually pick up when you’re in a hurry? When you go out, what do people usually say about what you wear? What sorts of outfits do you get the most compliments on? Is it peplum outfits? Bandage dresses? How would your friends and family describe your style. Chances are your stage style could be just a step up and a minor tweek from what you are already confident in.