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What can conductors wear for hot weather performances?

For many years I've worn the traditional tuxedo for performances no matter what season it is. My only venture into summer conducting wear was to buy a white tux jacket. It wasn't any more comfortable than my black one. And when I perspired the color of my suspenders bled into the back of the white tux jacket. This was during a choral concert in Thessaloniki, Greece, when the temperature was 100 F.
Here's my question: Are there tasteful alternatives to traditional tux or tails for conductors who have to perform during the hot weather months?
Thanks,
Anthony Antolini
Senior Lecturer
Bowdoin College Department of Music
Brunswick, Maine
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on May 29, 2014 5:53am
I traditionally wear the same "costume" as my singers.  If they are sans jacket, so am I. :-)
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on May 30, 2014 4:09am
Anthony,
I like the light-colored, short-sleeved shirts that Mexican men often wear for dressy occasions, such as weddings.  (I think they come in burgundy, navy, as well. )  They have tucks (tiny straight pleats sewn in, ) , and small, subtle decorative buttons.  They look businesslike, subtly artistic, and I imagine they are much cooler than most of the outfits [tux, coat/tie, etc.] men wear.  Also, since they are designed to wear over pants, (no need to tuck in) they are flattering, and will move with you when you conduct, but fall back into place.  (I have always wondered why American men do not wear them in the summer. )  If you carry them in a hanging bag, they should arrive looking good.  You could put a t-shirt on the same hanger underneath; this should minimize crumpling.
I just googled "Mexican shirts for men".  If you scroll around, you'll see that colors, prices, and sizes vary.
 
 
If you arrive at a destination soon enough [such as Greece] (or you could communicate ahead with a retailer after shopping online), you could buy locally.  I would think that your audiences would appreciate that affirmation of their culture.
Stay cool!
-Lucy
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on May 31, 2014 8:53am
Not that I need this, being female, but out of curiosity, I looked up one of the links given. Then I copied the name of the shirt and did an actual search. These "wedding shirts" are available brand new for $30.00 at JC Penney's. Depending on the concert situation, I think this might be an excellent idea.
 
Debbie
on May 31, 2014 9:53am
I bought something similar for my son who is a concert pianist for a recital he gave several weeks ago.....two different styles, both in black......from Amazon.  I think his were Filipino wedding shirts....but it's the same idea.  The weave is loose and air is able to circulate and he said he was relatively cool...he usually wears a tux or a suit and is miserable toward the end of a program in warm weather. With a pair of black dress slacks, these fit the bill...one was cut looser and he decided to try the trim fit one this time. He was complaining about always being hot when I started to look around.
 
You can get them in many colors....white and black and whatever your fancy might be....and they look sharp. Trust the ladies to figure this out for you--Lucy and Debbie and I are on the same page!
 
Marie
on May 30, 2014 10:28am
Hi Anthony, 
 
A few years ago, a friend and I were singing in a very large choral concert (140 singers + Full Orchestra) and the concert hall was extremely warm. Anyways, back then my friend and I came up with an idea. The idea, since we are both athletes (I run 10ks and Marathons from time to time) was that we should wear Underarmour "Heat Gear" as these shirts are made out of material that breathes very well in high heat. So we both bought white and black shirts and wore them under our Tuxedos and Concert "Black" attire. The material breathes very well and keeps one cool throughout long concerts indoors and outdoors. 
 
Hope this is helpful!
 
All the best, 
Alan Davis
 
atdchoral.com
gradmusic.org
 
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