Monday, 24 April 2017

Summer Strum Monday Missive #5 - 24th April 2017 - Does my bum look big in this?

Ukulele Dress Code - "Too Much?"

Just a ramble about image - *may lose its thread along the way and unravel - *puns intended :-) and apologies that the layout isn't better. Can't figure it out man ...

Despite doing it for 6 years it never gets any easier deciding what to wear to a gig ... every single time I twirl in front of my husband asking "Too much?" he always replies "you are going to play the ukulele, nothing is too much". Actually I am citing him to the fashion police as an accessory to my tragic outfit decisions for over half a decade!

I cannot believe the amount of awful clothes I have accumulated since starting to play the ukulele! I have a drawer dedicated to 'clothes I wear for ukulele gigs' - skirts, leggings, tops, dresses -  covered in flowers, Hawaiian prints, pineapples, chilli peppers, squirrels playing banjos (oh yes!); all colours of the rainbow. None of them would I wear on a day to day basis. But when it comes to playing a ukulele on a stage in front of lots of people anything goes - yes siree!

And don't forget the accessories to match! Flowers hair clips, hair bands, leis, wacky sunglasses, hats, bags shaped like pineapples ... cupboards rammed with the stuff!

I have only been adhering to the band dress-code though, which up until this year specified wacky/colourful/FUN/hawaiian!

Recently though enough has become enough! There is dissent in the ranks and we are trying for a new look that doesn't make us feel like we are dressing up for a pantomime every fortnight. The discussions we have had ...

So how do you settle on a look guys? Take a group of fairly disparate people, different tastes, different sizes, different ages. Do you go down the 'uniform' route with everyone wearing the same thing? It'd be easy wouldn't it? There it hangs in the cupboard gig ready; no need to try on countless outfits until finally declarng "sod it, that'll have to do" before rushing out the door. 

Will the same outfit suit everybody? I mean, when it's right it's right: 

But when it's wrong... (Man on right: "well, I don't see what your problem is - I think these white slacks are rather slimming. Just stand up straight man")

How about a colour scheme then? Colours are a very personal thing - "what is your favourite colour?" is one of the earliest questions children learn to answer; its one of the most common questions you learn how to answer in a foreign language too. Your favourite colour can say a lot about you according to pop psychology! How do you choose a colour to suit all tastes and complexions?

For instance would you have chosen these outfits if you were these boys?

Green and cerise combo - daring at the best of times - and pastels tend to make one look washed out don't you think? 

It's like dresses for bridesmaids ... Do you choose the same dress regardless of whether it suits everyone? After all its your big day and all eyes will be upon you anyway! You would think ...


But it can be done well - striking and fun with mix and match accessories:

Or different dress styles to suit each person:

I feel I am gradually getting to the bottom of it though as I write! A little bit of uniformity but with scope for each individual member to project a bit of personality? Not sure how the fellas would look in the dresses though ...

Should we try a theme? We've all tried the Hawaiian look - admit it! Yes the ukulele has Hawaiian links; yes it's bright and colourful and makes people smile. And hey there is nothing wrong with that. I'm not a Hawaiian-hater. But, unless you embrace the floral and brightly coloured in your everyday life, you end up with a bunch of clothes taking up room in your chest of drawers that you would not normally be seen dead in - back to the beginning of this missive! This is a girl who wore only black for most of her formative years.

80's? Yes - great if you play 80's  music. Punk? Yes if you play punk songs. Cowboy? Yes if you play country and western. But we mostly play covers from many different eras. 

Perhaps we could dress according to venue: church - black and white; summer strum - festival gear; Floral Pavilion - full on colourful; Farm - rustic.

Or just have a 'throw on anything, devil may care' attitude? After all - isn't the music the most important thing? "Who cares what we wear", I hear you cry? I think that works well for a smaller group, but when a large number of you are doing it there is the tendency to look like a load of teachers on an inset day. And there will always be one or two of you that just go a little too devil may care!


How about checking out the bands that you think do it right and copying them. Here are a few of my faves:

(I realise that video probably won't work - it's Human Error - my fave band of SS 2015 :-))

Copying is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery after all ... but even that can get a bit annoying:

Or just downright creepy:

My conclusion? Uniform, theme, colour ... it all works with different bands. 

You know what the most important thing to wear when you are up there on stage is?


Because at the end of the day it's just a bit of fun. Nothing is "too much"! Go for it! And if all else fails get some great looking people on your front row!

I'm off to spring clean my drawers! Anyone want some floral clothes?

Keep Strumming. Love you all! xx

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