Why Do Magicians Wear Suits?

First off, a big thank you to everyone who showed us wild things at Magic Live. We had a blast meeting all of you and hope to stay in touch.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Every magician who wears a suit while performing needs to think extremely carefully about why they do so. Suits are the default attire for magicians, regardless of the setting they perform in and regardless of the material they use. Why? The two obvious answers are a) suits are formal, and magicians think this lends their performance an air of, if nothing else, professionality, and b) because most magicians blindly follow the magicians of yester-year. To be frank, neither of these are particularly good reasons. If your performance presence, skill, and material don't prove you to be a professional then no suit ever will. As for the imitation, that just passes the buck, forcing us to ask why those old magicians wore suits, to which the answer is relatively straightforward: back then suits were pretty much normal everyday attire (well, for men men at least, we'll have to do another post later on female magicians' attire).

 Is he a mentalist making a prediction, a lawyer taking notes in an interview, a car salesman giving you his phone number in case you change your mind about that used BMW in the lot because their warranty really is the best and you can't beat the price and to be honest sir, you'd look excellent in a convertible?

Is he a mentalist making a prediction, a lawyer taking notes in an interview, a car salesman giving you his phone number in case you change your mind about that used BMW in the lot because their warranty really is the best and you can't beat the price and to be honest sir, you'd look excellent in a convertible?

To be clear, we do still think suits are acceptable for some (even many) magicians to wear, but they need to know why they are wearing it. Magicians are performers, and like any other performers they wear a costume. This costume should speak to their character, their story, the kinds of emotions they want to evoke, and the kind of material they perform. So when determining what to wear you need to know who you (or at least your character) is. Once you do, if it is obvious they would wear a suit, then excellent. If not, then determine what they would wear. If you perform in settings that require specific or conservative attire (corporate parties, etc), then think about how to make the character show through regardless. Dress as your performance persona, take a picture, and show it to people. How much can they tell about this character just from the photo? If the man in the picture could just as likely be a lawyer or a car salesman then chances are you have a problem.

-- H.A. and Z.Y.

Four Suits