The soprano-turned-conductor Barbara Hannigan, has been giving dress tips in the Guardian:
When I’d made my debut at the Châtelet, I’d worn a suit: many women conductors wear either gender-neutral outfits or something resembling a man’s suit. I thought trousers and jacket were the “costume” I had to put on. However, to cover my arms in a jacket might serve convention, but not the music – and I never wear suits in real life! Ever since, I’ve worn a sleeveless dress to conduct. It’s something I can move in that doesn’t distract me or the orchestra – and it fits the music on the programme. I don’t tie my hair back, either, because I never do unless I’m having a bad hair day. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback about this from orchestras and audiences. None find it a problem that I’m not soberly clad in a dark suit. Critics do invariably always remark on my attire, though, which isn’t something they regularly do with male conductors.
Any male conductors want to follow suit?