Concert Dress

You are probably already aware that I do orchestras. Last night was my second concert with the Royal Holloway Chamber Orchestra, this time in second violins. This means that last weekend was an intensive rehearsal weekend with just over 13 hours of rehearsals. Add to that the two and a half hour sectional on Monday and a 3 hour rehearsal prior to yesterday’s concert and you may notice the potential for a fair amount of back pain. Almost 6 hours in a day definitely was taxing on my back but I did thoroughly enjoy it.

The day of the concert itself brought a couple of problems – namely stress and pain. Stress because of the nervousness that comes from performing and arranging eating around the rehearsals and concert itself (the latter failed in some respects because my stomach started rumbling in the second half). Pain also occurred because of the postural stress I placed on myself in trying to sit and stand up straight. The first piece we played was the third Brandenburg Concerto, which was performed standing, and by the end of it I was desperate to sit down!

The standing for Brandenburg also flagged up to me another point, which is actually the title of this post. My flatmate was sat in the audience (with his mum so it was especially lovely of them to come) and had a view of my back. Now I spoke to him later in the day about how it was the first time I had worn a dress that revealed my scar and he said that he saw me and thought ‘Oh she’s wearing something backless, can you see a scar?’. Now, first things first, not actually a backless dress. You can see from the image below: (taken from

Red version of my concert dress

Red version of my concert dress

Now, the dress does technically cover my whole back, but the upper area is covered by black mesh rather than thick fabric. There is a degree of transparency and my scar is visible if you know to look. My flatmate did not notice it, which was reassuring. It may have actually been covered by my hair though. But from my perspective I was OK with wearing this dress because I could satisfy myself that my back was covered with clothing rather than wearing something with an open back. Although I can’t touch my own scar I’m not that fussed about others seeing it really, apart from the fact that it’s not in a place where it would be seen in everyday life.

So why did I end up wearing this particular dress (in black of course)? Well it is a lovely dress for starters. But it was an intense search to find a dress that fitted requirements – it not only had to be long but also have sleeves of some description. It seems like these two aspects are incompatible – the other potential dresses already in my wardrobe were either too short or without sleeves. So I trawled through New Look (where my other dresses were from), BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, other clothing brands that stock women’s clothes, and eventually came to This has been a recent discovery since starting university and in the end it came up trumps with this dress. I actually bought this three separate times – in one size then in another, and then the exact same but £10 cheaper (sending the previous one back). BUT I FINALLY FOUND THE PERFECT CONCERT DRESS!

A quick extra word on concert dresses. Last year I was in the band for the school production of Oliver, which required me to wear the same black dress three nights (and a day) in a row. That’s never a good idea, invest in a second black dress for occasions like these! Finding dresses personally, with my back as I’ve touched upon, I also have to consider how the back of the dress falls and how it sits with my hips, although the latter is less of a problem now my hips have evened out.

Anyway, I should stop typing now! Thanks for ploughing through and do comment – especially if you have found a secret treasure trove of concert dresses!


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