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CorporateJacketSuitDear Leodini, I have this question that has bothered me for a while. I thought about it when I was planning to get a suit for a costume but decided to just settle with a cheap vest, cheap dress shirt, slacks and leather shoes. My question is where do magicians get their suits/costumes? Is there a special dealer who makes them for less or are they really expensive custom suits? Again I hope to hear from you soon! Thanks a bunch, Sir Leodini! – Gerard


Hi Gerard, for close-up magicians, the conventional wisdom of outfit selection is to dress up one level higher than the audience.

That’s such a broad statement that I’m not sure if I have not broadened it further with the way I stated it. So let me amplify what I just said.

Suit1If you are performing for people who are wearing casual clothes, then you may want to wear a long-sleeved polo shirt under a vest.

If people are wearing party attire, you may choose to wear a suit jacket or blazer.

If the audience is wearing formal clothes—as in women in gowns and men in black suits—then wearing a tuxedo is a good outfit choice for you.

Suit2The idea is for you to separate yourself from the masses. Dress up one level above everybody, so people know you are the entertainer and not one of the guests.

Of course, some close-up performers who fancy themselves as street magicians ignore this general dress guideline. They thought because David Blaine wears street clothes in his street magic TV series, they ought to go to a black-tie event  in unkempt street clothes and perform close-up magic for company CEOs, politicians and business people while wearing tattered denim pants ala Criss Angel.

Well, they could, but doing so will just cement the general public’s low regard on magicians.

Good thing black-tie affairs and corporate shows have event organizers who will impose a dress code for these occasions. That somehow puts sense into the senseless heads of David Blaine wannabes.

PhotobucketBuying cheap outfits is okay as long as they don’t look cheap and they fit your body reasonably well and not give you a scarecrow look.

If you have the time to browse the ukay-ukay stores across Metro Manila, you will sometimes get lucky and find rock-bottom cheap vests, stage clothes (some of them sequined), suit jackets and tuxedos.  Once, during a trip to Baguio, I was able to buy a brand-new looking tuxedo for P300. I had somebody attached a topit on it, and the suit went straight into my performances—with no one the wiser as to its cost.

Having said that, I still recommend that for most of your costumes and performance outfits, you go to a good tailor to have them made. A perfect fit and an excellent tailoring job is worth the investment you put on your clothes.

A good tailor can always be found in your neighborhood. You need not go to a specialist in the other side of Metro Manila, as that would cost you more. Unless of course money is not your object.

Let me talk about the stage magician‘s costumes in another post.

Stay magical,