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I have been wondering where one might buy a suit for classical piano performances? I'm looking specifically for the kind with long coat tails, something like the one Zimmerman wears in the video below:
These days, very few male performers wear formal wear of the type that Zimerman is wearing in the video, even for professional recitals. More and more, it's a relatively plain black suit with either a black or white shirt, sometimes even a black turtle-neck sweater is the garment under the jacket. Some professionals dispense with a jacket altogether and go with a straight-cut, loose, black overshirt or just a black shirt.
More and more it's about comfort for the performer and tuxedos are traditionally very uncomfortable and confining. Unless this is for a particular occasion where you want to "go retro" for special effect, I wouldn't know why you would be looking for such an outfit. How often would you wear such a suit? Do you care to elaborate?
I don't know where you are located, but a firm such as Overstock.com sells tailed tuxedos for as little as $200.00CDN. However, buying online won't get you a tailored outfit and a tuxedo should be tailor-fitted and perhaps even specially fitted for your comfort while going through the motions playing, which may mean making adjustments in an off-the-rack garment.
Years ago, "full dress" (white tie and tails) was de rigueur, and I rented for a couple of college recitals as a student. A tailcoat is comfortable, and the weight of the tails and the "cutouts" on each side keep the jacket well behaved while moving arms. But, a winged collar shirt was terrible, as it jabbed and rubbed my neck raw while looking down to play. Orchestra people (who still predominately wear white tie and tails for concerts) will usually choose a shirt having a (not strictly correct) turned-down collar, for that reason (and I'm pretty sure Zimerman does, too, in that vid).
Sometimes, I think Misha Maisky has the right idea, playing cello recitals in loud silk shirts for comfort.
I saw something like that in Barcelino once, but their selection is kind of hodgepodge. Gentleman's Emporium sells them, but frankly if you wear that you'll look like you got a suit at Gentleman's emporium. Which might be ok.
The best thing to do is to find a good tailor that makes suits. Talk to them and they will know what to do. If you're in the center of the universe, California, then you can check out Gene Hiller.
This pianist looks reasonably presentable without a jacket.
Perhaps if he took an iron to it.
I prefer the orchestra to dress uniformly, including the conductor. Not necessarily formally, but uniformly. I find it irritating when the orchestra has gone to the trouble to dress in white tie and tails and the guest conductor is wearing a turtleneck. It almost feels like the conductor is disrespecting the orchestra. I also find it irritating when the men in the orchestra are in tie and tails and some of the women are sloppily dressed in cheap pants and ill fitting, casual shirts. Wear an elegant top, nice slacks, skirt or dress for goodness sake!
On the other hand, I like when the solo artist is wearing something bright and out of the ordinary. The women get to wear colorful gowns so why shouldn't the men preen a little? I'm not a big fan of Lang Lang but I do find his silk shirts quite lovely.
In any case, it's the quality of the music that counts.
Back to the OP, if you are in the U.S., Men's Wearhouse will rent what you need. Just be sure they fit you properly and inspect the garment before you leave the store. (For my son's wedding, they provided tuxes with torn crotches, too-small jackets, and wrongly sized (ouch) shoes.) We discovered it too late and had to make do.)
I give about 15 concerts before the public in recital every season and in every capacity including many song recitals, chamber music, and an increasing number of solo recitals, with a solo concerto appearance about every two seasons now.
And I have found three things:
1- An expensive, Italian black suit by a name designer gives you the most bang for the buck, and the most latitude. You can dress it up with a silk bow-tie, pocket square and cummerbund, dress down with a long tie with a Windsor knot, and dress it down even further with a pearl grey or black shirt open at the throat with no tie at all and no accessories at all, all with only a diamond stick pin in the lapel (which I commissioned from a jeweler friend) and even just the right color tee-shirt, for the more gritty, urban look video labels are all about these days.
A sport coat with black pants has its uses but will still not serve as well.
2- I own two other tuxedo/dinner jackets and matching pants, one a Calvin Klein shawl collar job that cost me a pretty penny even on sale but looks unbelievable on me, and both black and white tie with matching accessories. My black suit gets much more wear.
If you have a choice, get a really fine, tailored black suit. The last really good black suit I bought was Italian, a Cerutti, and it cost around $3.5k with the good tailoring. I look like Davie Bowie in it even on camera, and I'm not sorry for that at all! I bought it on sale in Beverly Hills from a top of the line shop, now about 5 years ago, getting ready to start shopping again.
3- The tail coat, vest and white tie, the "queue de pie" as they call it in France, is indispensable if you do more than the occasional recital. I bought mine at a second-hand store and had it altered quite a bit. You won't wear it often, but you have to have it so go shopping now. Renting is not always the best alternative, especially if it's a highly public gig or you have to appear on camera. Why look like a you're wearing a burlap sack if you don't have to? Especially if this is going to be your profession of choice?
Right now, my performing wardrobe consists of:
1- The notorious Italian black suit, 2- A navy pinstripe job for strictly informal, afternoon things, 2- Two tuxedo/dinner jacket ensembles, and 3- The infamous white tie and tail coat ensemble, with 4- all the accessories that get updated every season and according to whatever my partner(s), if any, might be wearing.
I spend about $1,500.00 a year updating my performing wardrobe, plus alterations from the best tailors. these last 10 years, I'm expected to show up in a more gritty, hip-hop ensemble that doesn't cost anything to maintain, and is more comfortable in every circumstance. But you nevertheless must maintain the other wardrobe when it becomes necessary, which it will.