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What to wear for classical music event

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by eng needs help, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. eng needs help

    eng needs help Member

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    Fashion-challenged engineer needs advice. I'm attending a classical music performance at a Santa Barbara Music College. The event starts at 3pm, reception following. The weather is likely to be very nice (~70F).
    I'm not wealthy but I expect many of the guests to be...., so curious to determine if an off-white Jacket with (blue?) polo shirt, Khaki trousers, and light-brown tan leather shoes are appropriate. I'd like to try and blend in but am concerned I will either under dress or over dress.
    Ideas for me?
     


  2. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    sounds okay to me. its the west coast.
     


  3. eng needs help

    eng needs help Member

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  4. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    First, define "off-white jacket."

    Second, a collared shirt with actual buttons (aka dress shirt) is much better than a polo shirt. Light blue/medium blue is fine, though.

    Third, light-brown tan leather shoes? It is reckless to give an opinion about these without pics or at least a full description.

    The default uniform for the event you describe is what Manton calls a "California Tuxedo." This is a blue blazer, dress shirt, khakis and dark brown shoes. Kind of boring but both correct and safe. Probably half of the male guests will be wearing some variation of this.
     


  5. Bradford

    Bradford Current Events Moderator

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    I think what you described sounds perfectly fine. While a dress shirt would be a bit more formal, its unnecessary here in California and especially in Santa Barbara which is really a resort community and a place where a polo shirt would not be out of place at all.
     


  6. eng needs help

    eng needs help Member

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    Bradford, thank you for you post. This is appreciated.

    Bounder, yes, sloppy details on my original post. The shoes are 4-eyelet Johnston & Murphy Lambs Skin (light brown) with rubber sole rather than traditional leather. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. See photo



    The jacket is "Chaps" brand and is cream color / off-white. There is a slight cross-stitch? pattern on the weave of the material but it looks homogeneous unless up very close. I appreciate the training in classifying clothing as I know that this makes very substantial difference to experts like yourself. I have to run but can send you a photo of it later for perhaps some more combinations with it (jeans maybe??)
    Thanks for you help also, very nice of you to help.

    Regards, Eng Needs Help
     


  7. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    Khakis will be a much safer choice than jeans.

    But you have a larger philosophical choice to make here. Do you really want one-off advice for a one-off event or are you ready to use this as the first step in a magical journey of sartorial discovery?

    OK. maybe I should rephrase that . . .

    Anyway, are you interested in starting to dress better in general? If so, this event will make an excellent catalyst. If you are, there is a lot that can be done that will be relatively inexpensive and will put you easily into the top 10% dressing-wise. If not, what you are contemplating is probably passable. I'm sure there will be people there dressed much worse. At least you will be wearing some sort of jacket.

    But I think, in your secret heart, you already know the answer. Your shoes are pretty bad by SF standards but you put shoe trees in them.

    Welcome home.
     


  8. Rompson

    Rompson Senior member

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    As a classical musician, it doesn't matter what you wear. just please show up.
     


  9. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    +1

    Agreed, wear what you like and feel comfortable in, you're there to enjoy the music, it's NOT a fashion show.. Classical music is for everyone, not just for the elite.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012


  10. CDHagg

    CDHagg Senior member

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    Oh my goodness, this made me laugh! Story of my life!

    Yes, mr. Engineer, the musicians will be quite happy to play for you, no matter what you're wearing. :)

    P.S. a very easy way to look better is to wear top-grade shoes. A pair of high quality bluchers/derbies would make you look instantly more stylish with the outfit you're planning. Good "dress" shoes are one of the best investments you can make with regards to clothing.
     


  11. Clovis Sangrail

    Clovis Sangrail Well-Known Member

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    Altogether elsewhere, vast
    Herds of reindeer move across
    Miles and miles of golden moss,
    Silently and very fast.

    Sadly, the answer is probably correct that you can wear anything.

    As a mark of respect to the musicians, and to yourself, you should wear a "California Tuxedo" as described above.

    If you are here and asking for advice I suggest it is because you feel a deep, and entirely justified, unease about what you have proposed. In the interests of administering a necessary, but bitter pill, please accept the following advice. Also, it would be helpful, though hopefully by now unnecessary (since you are not going to wear it) if you could post a photo of you wearing your proposed outfit because it is hard to give advice otherwise about proper fit etc.

    1. A polo shirt is not a formal garment. It is basically the 1920s version of the t-shirt, developed by Rene Lacoste because wearing a proper shirt (and tie!!!) when playing professional tennis was too cumbersome. Abandon now the idea that wearing a polo will ever be an acceptable choice in any type of formal environment. When I was living in the US a few years ago, I noticed that in some offices, polo shirts had become acceptable office wear. I have no doubt that future historians picking over the decline of American power will regard this as an important symptom of a state in crisis.

    Buy a white button down Oxford. It is casual enough to wear in an environment in which everyone else is wearing polos, distinctly American, but also able to be worn with a jacket and tie. There are those who regard it as being too informal for situations such as you are attending, but these people are like the sartorial 300 Spartans, a rare breed who are adhere to clothing standards and ideas which 99% of society have forgotten exist, even if they ever knew, or more likely cared.

    2. I am sorry, but your jacket sounds rather horrible. Judging from your shoes I can also infer without seeing it that it is not properly fitted (please post a photo of you wearing it). The colour you describe is very, very hard (probably impossible) to pull off, and if one were to be able to do so, it would be in a jacket made by a brand other than Chaps, which is a low quality entry level brand, and would need different shoes, pants etc. (I can possibly imagine Cary Grant on a good day making this type of garment look good, and he would need to be strolling down the French Riviera to do so). You need to invest (not buy, invest) in a decent blazer. It is an indispensable garment. This is your excuse to go and buy one. I am not sure what your budget is, but Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald with a bit of tweaking from a decent tailor sounds about right for you. If you can give an indication of how much you are able to afford, then I am sure people will jump in to provide advice. If you are really hard up, perhaps you need to spend a day thrift shopping for an old Ralph Lauren Polo / Blue Label blazer.

    3. Khaki trousers. You need to provide a bit more of description. Rather like the word "woman" this covers everything from the hideous to the sublime. Nevertheless, this is the genus of pants you should be wearing.

    4. Your shoes are hideous, truly. Burn them immediately. Invest in a decent pair of brown shoes. If you are really hard up, Clarks desert boots might scrape over the line. However, if you can afford something, buy a decent pair of brown cap-toes, or AE slip-ons, or something, polish them every week, don't wear them two days in a row, and in ten years time you will have saved money and dignity on dozens of pairs of horrible rubbish.

    5. Wear a tie. This is a formal event still. If you have any idea how long it takes to train as a classical musician you are about to see years of lonely hours of hard work, frustration, self-denial and frequently self-doubt and misery titrated into a single hour of effortless beauty. Wear a tie. A knitted tie, with a square end would be good.

    The result should look something like this:

    http://theamericanlegacy.tumblr.com/post/9304748226

    And as this fellow has done, if you are skint, a day spent at thrift stores (after a bit of online research), can get you over the line:

    http://anaffordablewardrobe.blogspot.fr/2010/08/sibling-rivalry.html

    Bon courage.
     


  12. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    Good Lord, not this canard again.

    Dressing decently does not mean you are either elite or elitist. There are still some vestiges of social norms. If there were not, people who ignore them would not be so annoyed and uncomfortable when someone makes a thoughtful effort to honor them.

    And I suspect that he is not just there to "enjoy the music." I'm guessing that, as he is in LA and the concert in Santa Barbara, he is attending as a guest of someone. As it is being followed by a reception, this is more than just a concert; it's a social event and he should be commended for making the effort to be socially correct.

    [HIJACK]On another note, entirely, I disagree that "classical music is for everyone." I think pushing this idea has been a huge mistake from a marketing perspective. Classical music isn't "easy listening" and it isn't meant to be hummable. A little bit of knowledge about classical forms and what you are supposed to be listening for increase your appreciation and enjoyment enormously. This doesn't mean that classical music is "elite," just that it can only be really enjoyed by people who are willing to make a little effort. If people can understand the rules of hockey, they are perfectly capable of understanding how a sonata is put together. [/HIJACK]

    BTW, OP, I think Clovis Sangrail goes a bit too far.
     


  13. black_umbrella

    black_umbrella Senior member

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    WTF?

    What classical music are you listening to?

    Schoenberg, yes, not hummable, well not easily. Beethoven, Mozart, hummable.

    Also, that whole post was a ton of elitist tripe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012


  14. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    ^^^^^^^

    This.

    Some of Beethoven's music is very hummable indeed, as is Mozart and Haydn...sure just about everyone knows, Da-da-da-DAH!

    People are frequently hearing classical music even without going to a concert, when it's used for commercials, movies,TV shows and sports events. They might hear a piece they like, they want to hear more, probably buying CDs and/or going to concerts.

    Wonder how many people got into opera because of the World Cup? ....The Three Tenors.

    Myself, I listen to a lot of classical music, Wagner, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Holst, etc. I always have, even when I was in school. Usually have it on when I'm doing work and making lessons, helps me to focus. Everyone in my school is extremely familiar with Chopin, because they use a few of his pieces for the school bell, for start end end of lessons.etc.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012


  15. sochumpy

    sochumpy Well-Known Member

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    on a side note, what should someone start on if they would like to get an appreciation of classical music? I like what a i hear but i know nothing about it.
     


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