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Magicians Clothes: why they're as important as the tricks

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The most common image in most people's minds of a magician must still be the classic get up of black tuxedo and bow-tie. At the same time most of us must be familiar by now with the polar opposite of that formal attire with the likes of the goth-punk look of Criss Angel and the denims and hoodie street style of David Blaine. But did you know, that all of these pros have chosen their clothes very carefully and actually rely on them for a lot of their magic effects?


If you thought it was just about differences in personality, you need to think again.

Of course it is partly about personality: every magician should try and build up his own distinct stage persona and clothing will certainly be a part of that.

Clothing is one of the imortant non-verbal messages that you give out to your audience and it should be congruous with the kind of personality you're trying to project, which in turn should fit with the kind of magic you do.

But the magician's clothes are much more than an indication of his or her personality!

For example, if you do classic dove magic in cabaret, the old tuxedo might still be just the thing. If you do mainly comic magic for children's parties then you might want to be looking at something more relaxed and colourful. If you do walk-about in bars and restaurants then something smart but casual that mirrors your clients' style will help you fit in and build rapport. Your performance persona should be reflected in your clothing and fit with your magic. That way your clothes actually become part of your arsenal of mis-direction techniques, part of the way that you control the way your audience thinks and feels, which is the main technique of any magic effect. But the clothing itself can hide many secrets.

If you do coin magic, you might well want to think about your sleeves. Because there's no point going into a routine that relies on sleeving if your cuffs are too tight or you're in a T-shirt! Many magicians also prepare their clothes very carefully, sewing in secret pockets for example, or concealed openings along seams (known as savants) which can be astonishingly effective in vanishes and productions of various kinds. Criss Angel does a routine in which he swallows a coin and makes it slide visibly down his arm under the skin, and he cuts it out just before the wrist. I won't tell you how that is done but I will tell you that he couldn't do it if he didn't wear those thick leather bands on his wrists - and he couldn't wear those if they didn't fit in with his persona as a goth-punk guy. Do you see how important this can be? I hope you are beginning to realise the opportunities that can open up for you when you think about your clothes!

So, think about what you wear. Ask yourself:

1. Persona - what persona do I want to convey? And make sure that it fits your magic style and your outfit supports that.

2. Misdirection - how can I use my clothes to misdirect and guide my audience?

3. The gimmick you wear - how can I maximise my clothes as a portable stage (think of pockets, cuffs, turn-ups, sevantes, buttons etc)

Once you start thinking about this you'll find endless ways to use your clothing to aid you in your magic. It really can be powerful stuff. Think about all the famous magicians you know and admire, the personality they project and clothing they wear and next time watch how they use their attire to make their magic work.

Learn from that and use these secrets to add more power to your own performance.

Want to check out some classic magician outfits? Look here: Classic Magician Clothes

I wish you every success!

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