Dawgs with Style: Performance attire edition

Butler musicians talk about how they express themselves through concert attire. Photo by Ben Caylor.

MAE-MAE HAN | STAFF REPORTER | mhan@butler.edu

For some musicians, confidence while wearing concert black means prioritizing practicality and staying within their tried-and-true comfort zone. For others, it means exploring the whole realm of possibilities and taking risks. Though Butler musicians are limited to all-black outfits for performances, expressing oneself through concert attire regardless of personal style is still achievable for anyone. Two JCA students describe their unique styles and philosophies toward concert attire.

Katie Stitsworth: Confidence in comfort

Katie Stitsworth is a junior music education major and cellist in the Butler Symphony Orchestra. Her personal fashion preference prioritizes comfort and practicality, which is translated into her concert attire.

The Butler Collegian: How would you describe your everyday style outside of concert wear, and what or who is it influenced by?

Katie Stitsworth: For the most part, I dress for comfort, but I also like to branch out with different colors.

TBC: For concert black specifically, how does your style deviate, or [do] you think it stays true to your day-to-day style?

KS: I would say it’s true to my daily style because I dress for comfort. Playing the cello, you have to be sitting down all the time, and the way I play, you have to just be comfortable and loose. 

TBC: Do you have any pieces that you wear both for concerts and just in your regular life?

KS: Yeah, for some concerts I know when we did the ballet for Nutcracker last year, we did multiple shows per night. It was really cold in the pit, so I’d wear lots of sweaters, and I wear lots of sweaters in the fall and the winter.

TBC: Do you have any pieces that are reserved for concerts only? 

KS: Yeah, I would say probably the jumpsuit I’m wearing is mostly for just concerts, only just because it’s a little more professional-looking.

TBC: Since you do play cello, are there any other things that you have to keep in mind with what you wear? 

KS: Yeah, buttons are a hard thing because buttons will make noise if they’re against my cello. I have to make sure not to wear any buttons that much, or any jewelry on my wrist ‘cause I know [it’ll] clang with my cello.

TBC: Do you like to switch up what you wear for different concerts, different ensembles and different situations, or do you like to stick with a signature look?

KS: For the most part, I will stick with my signature look. Then, like I said for Nutcracker, I would change because we do multiple shows during the week, and so I have to dress for comfort and the different temperature levels in the pit.

TBC: Other than clothing, do you like to do anything with accessories, hair, masks, et cetera? 

KS: Well, for masks actually, I like to just wear my music mask, but sometimes I will do other different kinds of masks; I know I have a Charlie Brown mask that I wear sometimes just ‘cause it’s fun. Then for my hair, I usually do the same thing. I have it pulled back so it’s out of my face, so I can see the music well.

TBC: So do you have any advice for people who want to be able to express themselves through their concert attire?

KS: Yeah, I would just say looking at your everyday life, everyday style to dress with what you’re comfortable with and what makes you feel confident when you play.

Antony Winfrey: Jazzing it up

Antony Winfrey is a senior vocal performance and music education double major and vocalist. At Butler, he has sung in Butler University Chorale, University Choir, Butler Opera Theatre, Jordan Jazz and the Out Of The Dawg House acapella group. Juxtaposing Stitsworth, he prioritizes risk-taking in his concert black style.

The Butler Collegian: How would you describe your everyday style just your regular clothing and what or who that’s influenced by?

Anthony Winfrey: I’d probably say my normal style … I’m a big sweater guy, so this is [the] perfect season for this… So, I’d say, who influenced that? Probably a while ago, David Beckham, talking about like seventh grade … and Bruno Mars, of course.

TBC: For concert black specifically, how does your style deviate or stay true to your day-to-day fashion?

AW: So, the concert black, it dulls [my style] down a little bit ‘cause I’m used to wearing a little bit more colors. But, we’re able to still look classy ‘cause all black’s kind of smooth and slick, and they don’t lock us down to a certain kind of black… we can mix it up. I have little white pinstripes on my pants. We can have little sparks here and there.

TBC: Do you have any pieces that you wear both for concerts and in the rest of your life? 

AW: Oh, yes. I have a crushed velvet black button-up shirt.

TBC: On the flip side, do you have any pieces that are reserved for concerts only?

AW: Yes, my tuxedo would be for concerts only.

TBC: Are there any special considerations you have to make to what you’re wearing since you are a vocalist?

AW: Yeah, so, shoes are a big thing. The way you stand in your shoes or how they support your feet can alter the way you sing. So it’s always good to practice in the shoes that you don’t wear [unless you’re] singing.

TBC: Do you like to switch up what you wear for different concerts, different ensembles and different situations, or do you like to stick with a signature look?

AW: Aw yeah, I like to switch it up for sure. I just like to switch it up in general, whether that be from jewelry, earrings, whatever.

TBC: Other than clothing, do you like to do anything with accessories or hair or masks?

AW: Yeah, well, I don’t have any more hair anymore. I used to do [my hair]! I used to pull my hair up maybe or let it hang down. But yeah, I’ll switch out my earrings. I got in trouble freshman year because I was wearing some big earring, and it distracted somebody in the audience. Somebody in the audience emailed the directors like, ‘Yeah, somebody’s earring was flashing the whole concert!’ So I was like, okay, I won’t do that [any]more. But yeah, I switch it up.

TBC: Do you have any advice for people who want to be able to express themselves through their concert attire?

AW: I mean, it might sound cliche, but take risks ‘cause the worst thing that’ll happen is that they’ll tell you that you have to change, which [directors have] told me a lot of times! So, you know, just take risks. Sometimes it’s cool, sometimes it’s not.

Whether it’s comfy black sweaters or crushed velvet button-downs, Stitsworth and Winfrey show just a few of the ways that seemingly-boring all-black can be made into something uniquely and fashionably one’s own.

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