Professionalism is one of those things that isn’t explicitly taught in the music industry but is expected for you to exercise! I remember one day realizing that there is no H.R. handbook, professional development or orientation for working as a music creative. You’re just kind of expected to “be professional.” This tip, in particular, is one that you can be penalized for without even knowing it. That being said, here is my third actionable and practical tip to exercising professionalism and stay booked and working: Look the Part!
Look the Part: Appropriate Gig Attire
If no one specifies what the attire for your gig is, ask! This is one of those things that is important whether said or unsaid. The operative word for attire is: appropriate! This is appropriate for the setting and the atmosphere! When thinking about what's appropriate for setting, think about what you would see and where. Would you see someone in a dive bar in a tuxedo or floor-length gown? Would you attend a black tie affair and see the host in sweatpants?
For example, I formerly sang with a wedding gig band that did a monthly showcase gig at a dive bar in The Village. We were showcasing the music and the experience, not the aesthetic, so it was appropriate to dress differently for that gig than I do for the actual wedding gigs.
Fun fact: I have been a bridesmaid 6 times!! I have been able to repurpose some of my owl gowns for other formal events and gigs. The gown below (plum color) was a gown I wore for my friend's wedding in 2016 and have since worn 2-3 times to black tie wedding gigs!
Another extra tip is to ask if there is a theme or color scheme. This is something that often wows people and keeps you in their memory when they think about the event as a whole!
Never too much black
You can NEVER have too much black! You need black formal wear, semi-formal, casual, semi-casual, streetwear, athleisure and everything in between...in black of course! Often times, you are either blending in to a band or into the background. Unless otherwise specified, wearing black in the appropriate style can never go wrong!
I do a lot of budget-friendly shopping for gigs and I also am intentional about buying clothes I can wear multiple times! Some of my fave places to buy my gig clothes are:
K&G Men (Sign up for email lists for sale alerts)
Unisex & Footwear
Amazon (gowns & formal wear)