Clothes have a huge influence on how people perceive you. So, you want to make sure that your clothes portray the right image on camera. If you ever doubt the power of clothes (along with makeup and hair) to affect the way people see you, just remember Charlize Theron in Monster.
You should always fit your clothes to your image that you want to convey, whether you want to come across as a Regular Joe or a high-powered exec. However, no matter what your role, you most likely want to look attractive and put-together on camera. Here are some basic tips (with more celebrity photos for warning and inspiration) to keep you looking good:
1. Don’t wear something that you’ve never worn before. Your clothes should be broken in and you should know that they fit well and feel good whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving. Then, there’s less of a chance of your clothes distracting you or of a wardrobe malfunction.
2. Go for something simple. Clothing that is too complicated (e.g. lots of layers, lots of buttons and zippers, or many different fabrics) will draw attention away from your face and make you look less well put-together.
The color and pattern
3. Choose solid colored clothes. Clothes with checkers, herringbone patterns, small stripes, and other intricate patterns may have a moiré effect, in which they strobe or flutter on film.
4. Avoid very dark or very bright colors. Dark colors lose detail on camera and wash out your skin tone. Bright white or yellow clothes reflect light and can cause exposure issues. Instead, try out pastels or earth tones. To see how to rock earth tones, check out Blake Lively’s daytime wardrobe.
5. Wear something that won't blend in with the background.
6. Choose natural fabrics. They look better on camera, and synthetics won’t breathe well under hot camera lights.
7. Don’t wear shiny or metallic fabrics because they reflect light. Double check that your tie isn’t shiny and that you aren’t wearing a metallic bodysuit like Victoria Beckham.
8. Don’t wear jangly or shiny jewelry. The sound of clanking jewelry will be obnoxious on camera, and shiny jewelry can distract the audience from what you’re saying.
9. Make sure your cell phone is turned off and your watch won’t beep. Even if you’re not on live TV, this kind of nuisance will waste everybody’s time.
10. Tilt your glasses down slightly so they don’t reflect light. Otherwise, your glasses can glint distractingly and people won’t be able to see your eyes.
The golden rule
Here’s a bonus rule: When in doubt, ask the producer. Bring several options for each accessory and article of clothing (especially more prominent items like shirts and ties) so the producer can choose an outfit that will look good, and make you look good, on camera.
If you missed the first installment of How to Look Great on Camera, check it out here.
Coming up next on How to Look Great on Camera: How to do hair and makeup.