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What to wear on TV

green screen

We’re often asked for advice on what to wear on TV or in a video.  Whilst you might spend hours agonising over your look, it’s really best for you to keep it simple.  If you’re wearing something distracting, then that’s all your viewers will remember.  After all, you want your viewers focussing on what you say, not on your clothes.   The other thing to remember is that you should wear something that makes you feel comfortable. It’s probably not a great idea to rush out and buy a whole new outfit especially for your camera appearance! You’ll feel more relaxed if you know that everything fits and sits properly.  If your shoes hurt or if your jacket is too tight – then your body language on camera will be all wrong!

So how do you avoid ending up on the cutting room floor? Here are some clothes that you should definitely avoid when appearing on camera:

moire pattern

1. Small, complex patterns can strobe on camera.  Avoid thin stripes, herringbones and polka dots.   For men, avoid shirts with a thin stripe or ties with a small pattern.

2. Avoid shiny fabrics that reflect light back into the camera.

3. For the ladies – jewellery that rattles and clinks can be distracting for the viewer  as your clip-on microphone will pick up those sounds.

4. For a media interview avoid emblems, logos and badges on your clothing, unless it’s your company uniform. Your interviewer may ask you to remove them or cover them up.

5. If you’re appearing against a green screen, then green clothing will blend into the background. If you’re headed for the TV studio and you’re not sure of the setup, avoid green jackets, shorts and blouses.

 

Here are some suggestions to keep you looking cool in the hot seat:

1. Wear natural fabrics like cotton in studio.  Studio lights can be hot, and you’ll be more relaxed if you’re not feeling overheated.

2. If you’re wearing trousers, wear socks that reach over your calf, so that your skin doesn’t show when you cross your legs when seated.

3. Solid colours are always a safe bet – pastels, blue and dark blue work well.

4. If you have long hair, tying it back will keep it off your face and avoid shadows.

5. Last of all – make-up keeps off glare, even for men :-).  Even if you’re not accustomed to make-up, it’s a good idea to bring some powder with you.  You can’t assume that  a make-up artist will be available if you’re making a studio visit, so bring your own.

And if you’re not headed for the TV studio, very often your interviewer will want to speak with you on location.  Maybe they’ll want to see you on the factory floor, or outside your place of work. Well, please don’t forget to dress for the weather.  You’ll often spend a lot longer standing around waiting that you anticipated, and your interview will be a lot more natural if you’re not soaked through or frozen with the cold!

And when you’ve done all that, remember to relax and smile! Not only will it help you to build rapport with your viewers, but research shows that smiling during brief periods of stress can help you to feel less stressed out (1). That’s got to be a win-win for your next appearance on camera!

 

(1) Kraft & Pressman (2012) Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Journal of Psychological Science