Looking your best is essential for a successful performance. I perform at my best when I am dressed impeccably and feel confident. Your performance outfits represents your professionalism and attention to detail, demonstrating to your clients that you have thought of everything, including your attire.
Here is my process for how I go about picking an outfit for a performance.
1. I think about what the poem is about and begin to mind-map the themes included in the poem.
I envision myself performing in the space when preparing to perform a poem on stage. To do this, I request a stage plan and a venue picture from the client.
I also like to visit the venue to better understand the space and ensure that I select an appropriate outfit that allows me to move and perform comfortably.
Next, I create a mind map in my notebook to brainstorm themes, pictures, and ideas that come to mind when thinking about the poem I will be performing. If the poem includes a soundscape or visuals, I also take the time to review them. I sometimes collaborate with seamstresses and designers I have worked with to get their initial ideas and inspiration.
2. Go to Pinterest and create a Pin Board.
When looking for the perfect outfit, I love using the Pinterest app during the initial stages of my search. It's handy for discovering unique and personalised clothing items.
This tool is convenient when looking for a specific piece of clothing that requires certain details or falls outside typical high-street fashion. To keep track of all my ideas, I create a Pinterest board and save everything in one convenient location.
If you're interested, please check out my Pin Board.
Some outfits are not dressy and fancy. For example, I am currently working on a performance for CAP. Since there are three characters in the performance, I am looking into clothing that holds multiple functions, are two toned and reversible to quickly change into the next character.
3. Start piecing together outfits.
When I perform closer to home or somewhere in the UK and have multiple performances for one organisation, I have greater flexibility in how many items, accessories, and additional pieces of clothing I can bring.
However, if I am performing abroad, I must be conscious of how much I can bring, as planes have luggage limits. At this stage, I look at the clothing weights and create a cohesive set of clothing for each performance. For example, if the event's focus is historical and the event's colours are brown and red, I may choose to centre all of my outfits around the colour red. This also provides an anchor for the people at the event and creates a sense of continuity.
4. Buy and try
This part is sometimes the best and worst because if you don't like the items or they fail to fit, you have to return them. However, if you like them, the work is nearly done. I prefer to purchase everything at the same time so that I can consider what I am wearing for a series of performances rather than just one.