Why Do Magicians Wear Tuxedos?

Why does a man wear a tuxedo? Some probable answers might include:

  1. He's going to the prom
  2. He is getting married now.
  3. He's a waiter who juts started his shift 

Hold the phone! The guy is going to perform magic. Surely anyone doing magic wears a tux. It logically follows that someone dressed in apparel not worn generally by the public in almost sixty years have to be a well trained and entertaining artist.

I encounter responses like:

"People will not know we are magicians if we don't wear our magician uniform," bemoan penguin-like illusionists.

"Actual magicians must wear tuxedos," yells the part time practitioner in his ill-fitting vintage apparel.

The question of what magicians should wear has existed for more than a century. The right answer has existed just as long. Unfortunately, many magicians just do not get it.

The common uniform for a "genuine magician" was to dress up like a magician complete using a conical hat and a long robe with stars and crescent moon symbols on it. Robert-Houdin (Harry Houdini took his stage name from Robert Houdin) chose to see magic as an artwork. He invented many wonderful effects.

He would head out on a bare stage to present his magic dressed in formal evening gown. The attire was suitable and commonly worn for evening theatrical productions. Instead of dressing in way entirely different from his crowd, Robert-Houdin dressed like his crowd--in a tuxedo.

In Robert-Houdin's advice to magicians, Robert said that a magician should wear a tuxedo to appear as a gentleman and fit in with society. In those days men wore tuxedos. Most modern magicians who wear a tuxedo don't really understand the spirit of Houdin's advice. David Blaine, however, in his first TV show, walked around dressed as an American man--in a tee shirt and jeans. This is following the spirit of Houdin's wisdom.

If you want magic to be regarded as a fine art, take your performance and dress critically. Let the level of your magical performance speak to the degree of your magic artistry.

What about Lance Burton? Good question, thanks for asking. Lance's performing character makes wearing a tuxedo suitable for his performance. Mr. Burton consciously links back into magic historical roots. Figuratively speaking, he traces the mantel of magical passed down throughout the ages. He portrays the great magician out of yesteryear. Lance performs classical magic effects while donning the classical magical attire.

This is very different in strategy from most of the other magicians wearing tuxes. Most part-time professional magicians put on a tux with no respect to their acting personality. The secret to what to wear is your performing persona. Start with the premise that a tux isn't an alternative. Inspect the important elements of your performing character you wish to convey with your audience. Tailor your dress to consciously communicate those key components.

One more factor to consider is whether you want to stand out or blend with your audience. Let's say you would like to blend with your own audience. This is common approach for your own corporate or restaurant magician. What's your audience be sporting? Try to dress just a bit above your audience. That doesn't mean wear a tuxedo to a block party or pool party.

Let's say you wish not to blend in with the audience, but use your uniform to stand out. Figure out strategies to contrast with your audience and even the venue which communicates positively to your performing personality.

By way of example, suppose your acting personality is that strange middle-aged uncle that all of the kids love but also make parents roll their eyes. You know the type, each family has one.

His style sense will be decades out of fashion but he is going to be clueless that he is not the handsome man around. If that's your chosen performing character, then the performer's style will match the outfit. The purpose again is the outfit selected by the magician must relate to performing personality.

Let's return to the initial query. Why do magicians wear tuxes? All magic tricks fall into 8 categories learn more, but that doesn't mean all magicians must wear a tuxedo.

Nobody understands such as the magicians. Know your performing personality. You won't become a great pianist and showman by just copying Liberace's glittery wardrobe. 

Select your apparel to match your venue and performing character. Treat your magic functionality like the artistic performance you would like it to be Learn more.