E ver found your mind wandering during a concert, checking out the sartorial standards of the musicians? Ever wondered why orchestral musicians are still dressing so formally, so conventionally in hot, constricting, formal concert blacks?

This is the 21st century after all when the buzzword around orchestral and classical concerts is accessibility! As a result, we’ve become increasingly used to seeing concerts jazzed up with lighting and projections presumably to sate our perceived insatiable appetite for visual stimulation and our ever-shortening attention spans. Oh, and to attract younger audiences – who listen with their eyes!

Speaking of audiences, you’ve probably noticed many of us are dressing more casually and bring beverages into the concert hall (good grief, my great Aunty Bel would not approve!). So why haven’t the musicians kept pace with us and updated their dress to the 21st century?

Classical Music, Fashion, Dress, Orchestra Satu Vänskä and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Photo © Nic Walker

Traditional symphonic dress grew out of an era when orchestras were the playthings of the very rich. In the days of Haydn and Mozart, musicians were expected to dress...