The days of magicians wearing top hats and tails has truly gone and thanks to Dynamo and David Blaine it is no longer essential that a magician even dresses particularly smartly. Different magicians have different approaches when it comes to deciding what they should wear for gigs so here are my thoughts on the subject.
One approach that I regularly hear when magicians discuss this issue (magicians’ conversations aren’t just about illusions and glamorous assistants, we also discuss really exciting stuff like clothes and hand care!) is that a magician’s appearance should be one level above that of their audience. If the audience is casual the magician should look smart, if the audience is dressed smartly the magician should be in black tie attire… however, I’m not sure where this approach goes if the audience are all wearing tuxedos and ball gowns, should the magician stick a crown on? Also, a certain way of dressing creates a certain expectation of the magician’s behaviour and attitude which may not fit with the magician’s performance persona.
Another approach is that the magician should dress like a superstar and do you know what a superstar wears?… Whatever the hell they want! I quite like this idea but it isn’t really that helpful. If you turn up to a fancy wedding at a country hall wearing shorts, flip flops and a casual t-shirt because it’s a hot day, whoever booked you probably isn’t going to be 100% happy about it no matter how good your tricks are! A professional magician must appear to be just that – professional – and should dress appropriately for whatever situation they’re performing in.
My personal thoughts are that the magician’s clothes should fulfil five criteria:
A magician is supposed be someone who isn’t just your average Joe (or Jo) so this should be reflected in what they wear. If they are wearing the same as everyone else, or even smarter but still unremarkable clothes, there is nothing to mark them out as being magical or even entertaining.2.
2.Match their performance style
A magician doesn’t have much time to communicate their personality so the first impression should tell the audience what to expect. If the magician is serious a smart three-piece suit would work great; if the magician is zany then a bright shirt, tie or glasses is a great way to communicate that character.
Even in a casual situation the magician should look neat and professional. Their appearance should reassure the audience that they are in capable hands, not that they are in the presence of some randomer who happens to know a few tricks.
They should wear something that isn’t too hot and has enough pockets for whatever props they intend to carry around. A huge flowing cloak with big baggy sleeves might not be the best choice!
If the event is formal the magician shouldn’t be too casual, if the event is formal the magician shouldn’t turn up in a tux! I have a set outfit which I wear but little tweaks are made to make it fit a casual party or a formal event while still looking different, matching my performance style, being presentable, practical and being what I want to wear.
What do you think? Is there anything else that I haven’t considered? Or do you think magicians should go back to top hats and tails? Please leave any thoughts or ideas in the comments, as always feel free to like and share, and remember: you shouldn’t focus on who wears the trousers in a relationship… relationships work best when no one is wearing trousers!