There's been plenty of discussion in the blogosphere about the sometimes-stulifying atmosphere of classical concerts. I myself am on the fence about this; I get a special thrill from formality and love the infrequent occasions for which I put on a gown. But there's a lot to be said for comfort and a lot to be said for informality.
The audience for Music@Menlo is varied in age and personal style; I saw blue jeans and suits and everything in between at the concerts I've been to.
The women performers get to wear whatever more-or-less formal wear they'd like. Last night, violinist Jorja Fleezanis wore blue pants and a very beautiful flowing top in shades of blue, purple, red, turqoise, and other colors. (I should have asked her where I could get one like it!) Violist Cynthia Phelps was in a floor-length lavender gown with spaghetti straps. Pianist Wu Han wore black pants and some kind of black top with a spectacular red and black number on top of it, and red high heels of the kind that are nice if you can handle them. They'd break my ankles in a second, but whatever! They looked great on her, and, yes, she could pedal JUST FINE in them.
Given this, I feel sorry for the male performers, who are mostly stuck in white tuxes, white shirts, white bow ties, and black dress pants. (Jeffrey Kahane wore black pants and a black button-down shirt for last week's variations marathon.)
Free the men of Music@Menlo! Let them wear whatever they'd like!