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“I need a dress for my recital!”

6 tips so you don’t worry about looking beautiful while playing beautifully



BM ’13, Violin Performance

(with a passion for fashion)



Boston may have kicked off the Spring season with unpredictable (and not very glamorous) weather, but this time of the academic year always comes with a lot of NEC student recitals — and so many female performers ask themselves:

“What should I wear?” Ladies, here are a few tips for your recital dress hunt:

• Go full-length — It is most appropriate for the occasion. Dresses ending below the knee will make you appear shorter, and anything hitting above the knee should be saved for the after-party. Respect your

• No matter the cut, limit yourself to one or two additional attention-drawing features: a vibrant color, subtle print, structured material (e.g. lace), or playful detail (ruffles, a brooch, a bow… no, not your violin bow). Don’t look costume-y — your Paganini left-hand pizzicatos are just as sparkly as any sequins!

• Get it altered — Why wear your dress with your tallest but most uncomfortable heels, or risk stepping on your dress? Department stores often provide alterations at a discounted rate for dresses purchased in-store.

• Don’t forget what goes underneath — especially if you choose a strapless dress or thinner fabric. Bring different options with you when shopping so you can check what fits best and won’t show/peek out.

• Go budget-friendly — You might wear this dress only once. Stores with affordable clothing often have a small selection of maxi dresses that can be glammed up with an elegant waist belt or headband. (If you would pair the same dress with beach sandals and sunglasses, then of course skip it.) Also, get extra discounts by checking stores’ websites for coupons — many can be sent directly to your smartphone!

• Most importantly: be free. No matter what instrument you play or if you sing, being able to breathe freely is absolutely crucial to a successful performance. Make sure that any movement (arm, leg, shoulder, neck, anything!) remains unrestricted while the dress stays in place. This doesn’t apply to walking on and off stage only — most of us move way more during performances than we think. Last but not least, string bows have gotten caught on dress embellishments before, so keep that in mind while shopping!

To sum it up: your recital dress shouldn’t distract you or anybody else from your performance. The dress is simply a “gift wrap” — your recital being the gift you’re giving to the audience. Good luck with both shopping and your performance!

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