I just read Leandra Medine’s (a.k.a. The Man Repeller) post, “The Thought Process of Getting Dressed,” and it got me thinking about the challenges women cellists face in that department.
To begin – no front buttons. If you must wear a button-down shirt, it better have covered buttons as well as roomy sleeves for easy movement. Roomy, but not billowing, since the material can get caught between one’s bow arm and the strings. Then you have to think of the material – soft enough so as not to scratch the cello. I have a sparkly top that I adore but I must wear a cello-bib with it.
In regards to the coverings of the lower part of the body – pants are the go-to. Low risers pose their challenges if you have a pianist or an orchestra behind you … enough said. Mini skirts are impossible if there is an audience in front of you … again, enough said. Knee length skirts and dresses are for the adventurous. I usually go with floor length. The fabric is an issue here and cannot be too flimsy because the left bottom corner of the cello can poke one’s knee.
The question of heels or flats has also been a classic one for us women cellists. The whole ratio of leg length to chair height and angle can easily be disturbed with the wrong heel. No one in their right mind practices at home in high heels, so when you get to the concert hall with a 4-inch stiletto and (if you are unlucky) a low chair, you might find that you are grabbing onto the cello for dear life, trying not to fall backwards.
Accessories are another issue – no dangly earrings that will get caught up in the tuners and absolutely no bracelets. I wear my wedding ring on my right hand since it gets in the way if I wear it on the left and I wonder if I am taken for a feminist or a single mom. Most likely, no one notices.
To all these restrictions add three young children and you have also eliminated the color white from your choices (hello spaghetti sauce…). On days with no rehearsals, I cannot wear my very comfortable (i.e. frumpy outfits) to practice at home as I want/need to keep up appearances at school drop off and pick up times. On days when I do have rehearsals, I wear flat shoes while carrying my cello, as carrying it in high heels is kind of like wearing high heels in your third trimester.
Yes, sometimes I do wish I played the flute, but at least we women cellists can wear lipstick on stage.
– Inbal Segev