Thursday, May 1, 2008

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

Today's post was going to continue my series on how the "Paradox of Choice" leads to wardrobe planning woes. However, I am going to take a small detour this evening.

For those who don't know, I am fairly heavily involved in theatre. I've been doing shows since I was but a wee little thing...acting, directing, producing, and even writing. It's always been a love of mine. Currently I am choreographing a local production of Peter Pan which opens tomorrow evening.

Now, why am I choosing to write about this on a blog devoted to wardrobe planning and style development? The reason is that last night I had a chance to watch the dress rehearsal, with the cast in full costume. I have to say that the costumes are exquisite...our costumer Beth Signoretti has done the most amazing job outfitting all the characters. I can't say enough about it...I'm really blown away!

The art of costuming a play is really about finding an outfit that telegraphs the essence of the character to the audience...instantaneously. Everything works together in a costume to clearly communicate personality, station in life, importance in the story (lead, supporting, chorus), and even relationship to other characters. This is a tall order for but one costume!

Oftentimes in plays, and most always in musicals, the characters have only ONE costume ... and it defines them. It visually represents their character onstage. It is their BRAND. Think for a moment about Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Peter from Peter Pan, Nancy from Oliver, Annie from Annie...see what I mean? The costume is so strongly associated with the character that if we were to see a production where the costume were different, the character (in our minds) would not be nearly as believable.

Ooooooh! Here's the point of this evening's sidetrack: Your clothing is your brand. It is the "costume" by which your audience identifies your "character". If you have ever gone to see a show, you know how quickly you make inferences about the characters onstage by costume alone. The actors don't even have to speak, and you've made some judgements. And have you ever felt decieved or let down when your first impression of the character didn't match up with the actual personality of the character?

Think about this! People expect (consciously or unconsciously) for a person' s "costume" to indicate a person's "character". This is such a powerful truth!

Beth's costumes for Peter Pan are brilliant not only because they are so visually appealing, but because she masterfully BRANDS the characters onstage. Way to go, Beth!

This weekend I will be away in Philadelphia for an Image Weekend, so I am not sure I will be able to post each night. However, we will definitely return to our "regularly scheduled programming" and the promised post on keeping up with the Joneses on Monday. See you then...same blog time...same blog channel....

(If you would like more information on wardrobe planning and style development, please visit my website.)


Susan said...

I happy to hear how thrilled you are with the costumes Beth has produced. This 'detour' on your blog is PERFECT. It makes absolute sense. This may be one reason why we don't, as an example, recognize our dentist in the grocery store at first glance ... he is in the wrong outfit.
I wish I had a brand...hmmmmm

Lisa M. McLellan said...

I once wanted to design costumes for a living! Love them. Peter pan huh? I think you should be him just like Mary Margaret (sp) in that version from years ago. Oooo I'm dating myself. Then again, Tinker Bell is cute but very fiesty. I think you'd look great in her costume.

S Chambers said...


Now that was a great post. I try to convey that message to my kids and to people I work with. How you dress and present yourself to the world is your brand and it determines how you are judged and viewed.

See you in Philadelphia!

Steve Chambers

Matthew Shields said...

great post on how "our brands" are recieved by people. I love the anology it is one that really ties it all together.
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Matthew Shields

Brent Skinner said...

Hi...I'm Jenn's husband. For those who don't know -- which is all of you -- I play a supporting pirate role in the production of Peter Pan she's talking about. It's been fun! After reading her post, I can say I agree: There's certainly a subtle method to Beth's madness!

Brent Skinner's Blog: Public Relations and Marketing for Web 2.0

drpeter said...

That is interesting, I wear suits to work each day, If I ever see a client on my off day in plain clothes, they often do not recognize me.

Dr Helton, making your skin beautiful without surgery, nationally renowned Cosmetic Dermatologist

Aaron said...

Wow, that's a lot of pressure on my wardrobe! It's a very good point, though; people really do seem to remember some folks for their clothing.

On the Peter Pan note, have you heard This American Life's Peter Pan story? You really should look it up, it's hysterical!


April Braswell said...

Oh Jennifer, I COMPLETELY agree. Indeed, well, as you well-know, I leverage that. I can always improve further, but yes, yes YES!

All the best,

Romance Coach, Online Personals Coach, Online Dating Coach, Romantic Relationship Coach