Thursday, February 16, 2012

Put On Your Sunday Clothes! Dressing For Success Both On And Off Stage

Yvonne De Carlo and Don De Leo in Hello, Dolly!
Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out
Strut down the street and have your picture took
Dressed like a dream your spirits seem to turn about
That Sunday shine is a certain sign
That you feel as fine as you look!

-Jerry Herman, Hello, Dolly!

Happy Thursday!

I hope this finds you having a creative day wherever you are. I love it when great blog ideas are suggested to me and today is no exception.
Yesterday, Leslie Orofino and I were talking and she suggested the idea of today's blog. I will say that I've NEVER seen Leslie less than elegant on OR off stage. It takes a lot to be a great artist. It's NOT just about the material or the voice. It;s the entire package.
It's also about how you present that material AND your self.
IF you are wearing something that is less than flattering, that is where the audience's focus will go. The idea for this blog came as a result of a show we both attended last week.
My horoscope says today, "  Sometimes in life you have to bend the truth a little and that seems to be the case today. If no one finds out then no one will get hurt - and if they do find out, well, you really don't care!"

Chances are that if you think this is about you, it probably is! I asked for comments on Facebook. The following is ALL the response I got. Amazing how many people aren't even aware! Please let me it abundantly clear that ELEGANCE, style,  and a good fashion sense are not old fashioned concepts. They will truly enhance your career.

Leslie sent me the following this AM: 

Here's some Thoughts........

Do you want to be taken seriously as an entertainer? Audiences want to see the COMPLETE PACKAGE ! Not only do they want you to entertain them .....they want to see you looking the part. 

What I am talking about is elegance in your presentation on stage. 
Too many of us are forgetting we are a total package
 Night after night, I go to shows and hear people remark ....they had a good show but did you see that outfit? Does he or she own a mirror? 

Just the other night,  I saw a wonderful singer who had the most ill fitting dress I could possibly imagine. 
She had no idea of the effect it had on people. Turned them off. Every body type  can look fabulous on stage.... it just takes a little effort and will definitely be rewarded.

Here's some thoughts to get there....

1- What type of event or venue is this? Casual or dress? 

2- After deciding on what type of clothing , take a stylist or friend with great taste to your closet or store and try things on in front of a FULL LENGTH mirror. 

3- Look at the front of the outfit. Is it too tight or pull in the hips ?  What about the it too low and does it compliment your face? Turn around and look at the back. Is it too tight? 

4- Make sure the color of the outfit compliments your skin type. Most people look great in black on stage with a hint of color in the jewelry or scarf or boutineer. 

5- As far as jewelry etc. Less is best. Too many people have five thousand pieces when what you want the audience to do is not look at all the jewelry etc. but your face .

6- Make sure you are comfortable in your outfit. 
Do you feel handsome or beautiful? 

Very important to feel great so you can go on stage and not worry about how you look.
Hope this helps you Richard. I would be happy to work with people. xox Leslie

Thank you, Leslie!

Also, earlier this week, I saw a show in which a Tony Award winning Broadway actress wore beautiful dresses, but dresses that were not right for her body type. Unfortunately, those around me were discussing what she was wearing rather than what she sang. I also know a singer in the cabaret community who wears the same dress every time she appears. It is a dress that MIGHT have worked for her 25 years earlier but not at her current age.

I wish more people would take a page out of Andrea Marcovicci's performing handbook. She is ALWAYS a STAR both on and off stage. She is committed to the work, the lyrics, AND her appearance. THAT is why she has had the long sustained career that she has had.

She sent me the following, "
In 25 years of singing, you can imagine I've made every good and, with hind-sight, the occasional bad decision about what to wear on stage. But so much thought goes into my costuming that I like to think I don't make too many mistakes! I did however buy one of those extremely expensive "glitz" dresses once . . . completely studded with jewels . . a once in a lifetime,Oscar night red-carpet kind of gown . . . find and dandy . . I wore it to the Cabaret Convention one year   . . . . I was already rather uncomfortable with my choice, because it had a rather prominent built in bosom which was clearly NOT me! When I went out on stage, I happened to be wearing some borrowed Bulgari jewels at the time, worth quite a pretty penny, and being the performer that I am who can't help being honest "in the moment" I pointed to the necklace and said: "These are real, I can't say the same for THESE", pointing a little lower down . . . oh good lord . . and then to make things even sillier, because the bolero jacket of this fancy gown was also studded with stones, I soon found that if I allowed my arms to rest at my sides for even a second they would get stuck to my hips as the prongs would intertwine!!!!!!!!! Needless to say I haven't worn this gown but once in my life . . . but there are some swell pictures from the event . . !
yours, Andrea"

See for yourself ! Andrea stars in "Smile" at the Gardenia March 15th to the 17th and March 22nd to the 24th with special guest star Helen Marcovicci . . . . Her remarkable torch singing MOTHER!!!!

Carol Channing says that no matter where she was appearing, when the Lunts arrived to see her...even in a county fair ground, they were always "dressed to the nines". Carol said they told her they dressed this way out of respect for HER.I feel the same way every time I go to see a show. I dress out of respect for the artists I go to see. If you are wearing a t-shirt and jeans, that is saying you don't care enough to make the extra effort. I feel the same way as an entertainer, I want you to dress out of respect for me. However, I desire, if I'm going to be on stage, to be dressed even better than my, hopefully dressed to the nines, audience!

I saw the impeccably dressed and dashing Tommy Tune last week at a screening of Carol Channing: Larger Than Life. He said Carol taught him to ALWAYS dress to impress the audience. Do today's artists and many I've seen in recent months in cabaret really have a disdain for their audience? I'm beginning to think so.

I remember seeing an interview once with Joan Crawford in which she said that when the day arrived that she would not be able to present herself as the star that we came to know and love, we would no longer see Joan Crawford...AND she stuck to that. Joan and Rosalind Russell appeared together at an event at The Rainbow Room here in New York.

 After seeing unflattering press photos of herself published the next day, she was horrified, saying "If that's how I look, they won't see me again." And the public didn't.

I'm not saying that anyone has to go to that extreme. What I am saying is that this was a woman who obviously cared about how she was seen or perceived in public. I've heard many of my older Hollywood friends talk about the studio system in Hollywood. For some, it was heaven, for others, it was hell. But if there was a public function in which they were to be seen, the studios would have their hair done, their make-up, jewelry, wardrobe...and in some instances, whose arm they would be on! 
Not such a bad thing if you ask me!

Think back to Dolly Levi making her entrance at the top of the stairs at The Harmonia Gardens in Hello, Dolly! Although the gown and headdress was so over the top that no "real" person would ever wear that, Freddy Wittop, who designed the gown, KNEW what he was doing as far as what it would take to make the right impact. 

The following is from Bobbie Horowitz 

Dress To Get YES – To Win Your Audience!

I’ve learned that in the first 30 seconds you enter a room people, especially those who don’t know you well make up there mind as to whether they’re going to want to buy your goods – that includes listen to your song! Then, of course, you need to sell them the goods or sing the song well – but – they already want you to be the one who wins the sale. 
This works on stage and in business and in dating - AND – YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER THAT FIRST 30-SECOND IMPRESSION YOU MAKE! Why do I say that?  Because, for the audience, what’s going on in their brain during thast 30 seconds is subliminal. They have no idea it’s happening.  Only about 7% of the impression you make as you’re walking to the stage (unless there are only relatives in the audience and it even pertains, to a great degree, for your relatives) is what you say (or sing)! 

Good advertising agencies and product packaging design companies know how to package products so you will be more likely to want to buy them. Good packaging designers know that it’s a science. It’s not “Rocket Science” – but it is about energy and vibrations. Colors are vibrations Different light rays have different vibrations. Don’t you deliver a valuable product?  Don’t you deserve to know what the good ad agencies know?!

I get the greatest sense of satisfaction when a client of mine calls or emails to report a success in their lives after having an individual color/style consultation with me or after having taken my workshop. I have to watch myself because, like writing songs, this is something I would want to do for people whether or not money was involved.
You can read a few testimonies on my site:  Click on Testimonials.

Why do I get such satisfaction from teaching this to you? Because I see how having my own  “color and style” analyzed by a certified image consultant clearly changed my life for the better.

I always loved clothing. My dad was a male version of a  fashionista (is that a feminine term?) and I had a fairly good sense of what worked for me. However, when I could clearly knew what made different apparel items and accessories work for me, my life became soooooo much easier! I saved a ton of money on clothes and time spent shopping for them. I hardly shop anymore and I’d been somewhat of a “shop-a-holic”. Any piece in my wardrobe will, pretty much work with any other piece. Perhaps a formal gown won’t that well work with  my “day shoes”, but, for the most part everything goes with everything – and – people think I have a lot of clothes.   It’s also takes me very little time to get dressed.

When I was auditioning for theater I had what I called “my lucky outfit”. I later learned that it wasn’t about luck. It worked for me in terms of its hues and shape.  In the late 70s someone said they were “doing colors”. The draping technique hadn’t yet been devised and the woman who looked at my shape and personality, which are fairly “Dramatic”, put me into “Dramatic” (Winter) colors.  These are sharply contrasting jewel tones and black and white. Within two months I changed careers and found myself producing major events in the well-known discos in NYC. Sure, it was interesting to be out till 3AM each night at Magique and Studio and The Red Parrot and The Underground, etc. etc. The doormen became my friends and I even got that job for a couple of them – would put bags o cocaine or white harmless looking pills into my palm. I would give them a hug and then run to the lady’s room and flush them down the toilet.  Thankfully, I was 40 years old and knew better than to use them. After two years I knew that I wasn’t born to be in this scene. I instinctively felt that something was wrong and that I was giving out the wrong image. I’d heard about a color draping technique and went to an image consultant to have my colors redone.
Voila! Within three months of discovering that, yes, my style is Dramatic but that my main color palette is Rich or Autumnal a seeming stroke of luck got me a job booking and managing a cabaret.  This was a warmer atmosphere and I felt at home. Within a short time I re-united with my Jr. High and High School songwriting buddy Sharon Schapow (nee Spector) and we began writing songs again.  We both knew our colors and our style AND we chose a “team style” that combined us and added a touch of cabaret glitz. It was our costume and stamp. People thought we’d been around for a much longer time than we were and we won a MAC Award for Comedy Duo soon after we began.  We “looked” like cabaret AND we each looked authentically ourselves.

I was so excited with the change in my life that I enrolled in the training given by Image Consultants International.  They made me see that I am beautiful! They taught me how to prove to you that you’re beautiful!!! I’m still “family” with many of the caring people who trained with us. I became a regional VP of The Association of Image Consultants.  Now I can prove to you that you’re gorgeous (in your unique way)

I produced a musical in London and Florida and I could see the (well known) casting director kind of lean forward when someone walked into the audition looking authentically like his/herself.
They didn’t even have to look like the part. The casting director wrote their name down and, I’m quite sure, if they weren’t right for our show, they’d be kept in mind for another.

I do notice that the people who attend my “Dress To Get YES!” color/style workshop, or come for a private consultation, usually walk in the door already almost there! A few tweaks and explanations and they’re off and running.  The people who desperately need this information either don’t see the value that’s in it or are afraid to look at themselves. I haven’t had anyone yet walk out not knowing they’re FABULOUS LOOKING! Many get his for the first time in their lives.

Remember your clothing, hairstyle, accessories, etc make up the frame for YOU,  The Star You Truly Are!  You want the frame to be authentically you -  and be able to hang on the cabaret’s wall.

·         I’ll be giving a color and style workshop, limited to10 people for a special Leap Year discount. It’s presently scheduled to be held at Manhattan Place 630 First Avenue (36th St. between 1st Ave and the FDR).  If  you are interested, you can check out the Schedule tab on I should make one more important point:  you don’t want your clothing to distract the audience from your performance! You want it to draw the attention to your performance.

·     I’ll be giving a color and style workshop on March 12th from 7-9PM.  limited to10 people for a special Leap Year discount. It’s presently scheduled to be held at Manhattan Place 630 First Avenue (36th St. between 1st Ave and the FDR).  I’ll be sending you an email in the near future and you can check out the 

Please remember that STYLE and FASHION are not the same thing. I’ll be talking about that in the workshop!

John Kenrick wrote: "I am amazed that performers have yet to learn the old trick of always checking their fly before hitting a stage or podium. In the past year, I have seen two men suffer the consequences of not making this simple gesture -- not the kind of laugh I'd like to start out with!"

And from Lynn DiMenna
Since my first serious cabaret experience up at The Eugene O'Neill theater in 1992 to the present, I am often "shocked and dismayed" by some of the choices performers make when they take to the stage in a cabaret or concert setting. 
Lynn DiMenna
 It has nothing to do with size and "everything" to do with style and knowing what works on a given body type and for a given persona on stage. It's also about not getting in the way of your musical presentation or wearing anything that's distracting or offensive.

Rather than mention the "nightmares" I've witnessed, concerned performers today should take a look at the marvelous Marilyn Maye, the lovely Lucie Arnaz, the "dapper," Richard Skipper, the glamorous Sigali Hamberger and the "dynamo" Nicholas King to see what does work and how dressing appropriately can enhance a vocal performance!

With each of these performers, they know who they are, what they're selling and communicating and, even more importantly, they have the utmost respect for themselves and their audience.

"Here's looking at you kid" and hoping YOUR audience likes what they see!

Lynn DiMenna 
Time Magazine called Anna Wintour's dress the "worst fashion… (DAILY NEWS STAFF)

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Tomorrow's's blog will be... My Exclusive Interview with Susan Hodgdon

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

  Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Anna Wintour may be all-powerful in the world of fashion as editor of Vogue magazine but it seems even the almighty can get it wrong when it comes to frocks. Wintour topped a list in Time magazine of the fashion faux pas of 2008, wearning a silver dress to the Met Costume Gala that “makes her look like she’s encrusted with ammonoid fossils.”

Now, GO OUT AND see Carol Channing: Larger Than Life  now in theatres.


Richard Skipper,

This Blog is dedicated to Whitney Houston and the gifts she gave to the world

1 comment:

  1. Looking goos starts with the fit - don't worry about number on the tag - worry about if you can stand, sit, walk & breathe without popping a seam. Do you bunch up when you are seated? Not a great look... try on the outfit with the shoes... is the hem in the right place? Can you walk in the shoes comfortably without wobbling? most of all fit starts with the right undergarments... a good bra... a pair of spanx can make all the difference in how you look in your clothes.