As we produce the online video series, “Conversations in Public Relations,” we understand that for some of our guests, this is their first online video appearance. The question we hear most frequently these days is: what should I wear for the video?
According to professional stylists, what you wear in a video or television appearance can not only make what you say more believable to your audience, but can also help the camera do its job to create a well-focused result. For this reason, it’s quite important to give serious consideration to what you wear.
Overall, just remember to dress simply in well-fitting, attractive clothing and avoid red, black, and white. But if you want to look your very best on video — and who does not? — then pay close attention to these tips.
Tip #1: Invest in Two-Three Video Outfits
There are some great shopping bargains around right now, so take advantage of this cost-saving opportunity to find two new, flattering outfits to keep in your closet for your next online video appearance. From now on, whenever you shop, it would be a great idea for you to keep your eye open for clothing on sale that would look good in photographs or video, keeping these considerations in mind.
Wear new clothes to look your best. On video or television, you will look best in clothes that are new or almost new. This is because clothes that have been frequently washed or dry cleaned do not look as well as new clothes. Resist the urge to wear your video clothes on other occasions. If you don’t have the budget or inclination to reserve an entire outfit, or even a blouse or two, for your video appearances, then just wear the clothes you have that are in best condition.
The confidence that you project when you look great will also have an impact!
Tip #2: Wear New Shoes (or Shoes in Excellent Condition)
While today’s video does focus on tight shots, you never know if your full body, including your a view of your shoes, will make it in the final version, or in promotional photographs. To be on the safe side, wear shoes in new or excellent condition. They don’t have to be expensive, just not worn-looking. Don’t wear your video shoes on the street; keep your video shoes in a shoe bag, and bring them with you to video shoots. The bottom of your shoe may show in a video.
Ladies, closed-toe shoes will look best, as will a shoe with some heel. Well-worn women’s shoes have a tendency to curl at the toes. If you can, resist wearing your video-reserved pair except on camera.
Men, if you wear a worn pair of shoes, have your shoes shined, and check the soles (and don’t cross your legs and show the bottom of your sole if the soles look worn). Be sure to wear socks that cover your entire calf; knee-length socks are safest.
Tip #3: Wear Clothes That Fit Well
Wear clothes that fit your body. A little too snug is better than baggy, because the camera adds ten pounds and shapeless apparel will make you look heavier and also less polished on camera.
Tip #4: Wear All-Season Clothing
Online video is aired and viewed year-round. Even if you appear on television, it is likely a clip will be placed online for viewing. So, wear something that would look well in all seasons. It would look odd to your audience to see you in a light, sleeveless top if they happen to view your video in December, and viewers will stop watching your video if you wear a heavy cabled sweater and they view your video in the summer.
Tip 5: Adapt a Simple Style for Video
Your best bet is to wear tailored, classic clothes. If that look is not your style, and you prefer a high-fashion or casual look, select clothing that is simple and devoid of pattern to help the camera do its best focusing job.
Men look best in a suit or jacket. But if it’s not your style, or you prefer a more casual look, you can also wear a solid colored polo top, or shirt without a tie.
Women, consider wearing pants with a longish hem. In general, they look better on camera than skirts and dresses, especially if you are sitting for an interview. For a more casual or high-fashion look, including our shoots for “Conversations,” dark wash jeans are fine, for a business casual look. Just be sure your jeans are new and pressed, and consider dressing them up with heels. Do not wear capris or gauchos, and, of course, shorts are out of the question.
If you prefer to wear a skirt or dress, there are special considerations. First, make sure the hemline is well-below the knee. Secondly, about hosiery on film: sometimes it does not look well. You may want to wear flesh colored fishnets instead of hose. Some people can even go bare if they have nice, well-moisturized legs that with sunless tanning or a non-sparkling bronzer. Another option is to wear nice boots that reach the knee.
Tip 6: Wear Microphone-Friendly Clothing
If you are being interviewed, you may be asked to wear a lavaliere microphone on your lapel. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would wear a shirt or blouse with a collar or lapel, instead of a turtleneck, for example.. If you prefer to wear another style top, you could also wear a jacket or cardigan onto which you could clip the mic.
Tip 7: Wear Simple Accessories
Avoid wearing dangling earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that may rustle or make a jangly noise that could be picked up by sensitive microphones. In general, men and women should remove watches (because the crystal can reflect off of the lights) and wear only one ring per hand. Women may wear one small necklace, and small earrings that are not too shiny. Think matte finishes. Avoid diamond studs or rhinestones. A small pin is fine. Avoid wearing scarves or ties with large scale or intricate patterns.
For tips about makeup, please see our blog post on this subject.
Tip 8: Avoid Wearing Certain Colors
To help the camera focus properly, avoid sharp contrasts, and opt for solid colored tops and jackets in light to medium shades. If you have a dark complexion, don’t wear a light colored top. If you have a light complexion, don’t wear a dark colored top. It makes it difficult for the camera to operate properly if you do. Also, pay attention to your background. If your background is deeply colored and you are wearing a light colored shirt, the camera may focus on the background instead of you.
* Do not wear red, magenta, or fuschia, which may cause the camera film to flare.
* Avoid wearing black, dark brown, and dark blue tops, which can interfere with how the camera focuses on nearby shades (generally, you can wear black pants or a skirt, however). Men, do not wear black suits or jackets. Ladies, no black blazers.
* Men (and ladies), do not wear white shirts (pick blue or pastel instead); it flares. The same applies to any props you may have. Do not use white flip charts, for example.
* You may need to avoid green (if they are using a green screen; you can check). Light green may be okay.
Tip 9: Select the Right Colors
These colors look well for television and video appearances.
* Pastels and Medium Tones
* Blue, including royal blue
* Purple, Lavender
* Wine or Burgundy (works well for ties)
* Navy (men’s suit or jacket — not too dark)
Tip #10: Avoid These Patterns and Fabrics in Clothing for Online Video
The reason why solid colors look best is because certain patterns may cause the camera to blur or produce a moire effect. Reflective fabrics also do not look well in video. Also, do not wear anything with a logo or brand name on it.
* Houndstooth or checks
* Fine or intricate patterns, e.g. paisley
* Polka Dots
* Stripes (even thin striped dress shirts or pinstripes)
* Metallics or sparkly fabrics
* Sequins and rhinestones
* Any shiny fabric, such as satin or charmeuse
* Linen (it wrinkles)
Tip #11: Bring An Outfit or Two To Your Video Shoot
Ask in advance if you can change at the location, or if you should wear your outfit to the video location or television station. Have at least one change of clothing, even if it is just a different top. If you are appearing on camera with another woman, such as a reporter or host, make sure you find out what she is going to wear, and bring another outfit just in case you are wearing the same color. If you both wear lavender jackets, you both will look ridiculous on television or on a video!
Most of all, relax, and be yourself. Remember, we focus on the face, and we can probably compensate for any wardrobe challenges that may present. Whatever you wear will probably be just fine!