Have you been asked to make your first TV appearance? Congratulations! After you overcome the initial wave of combined fear and excitement, your next thought will be “What should I wear?” Dressing for a TV appearance isn’t that hard. It basically comes down to a list of what not to wear. The following tips on what to wear on TV that will help you get ready, feel confident and focus on what you’re going to say. Here are some great tips on how to dress for a TV appearance or interview that answer the following questions:
- What are the best colors to wear on camera?
- What to wear on TV to look thinner?
Don’t Wear White
Although you might look great in a white dress or suit, white is a bad TV color. TV studios are filled with studio lights. The entire ceiling is often a giant lighting grid. Once all of those lights get turned on, your white outfit will make you glow, look pale, and be distracting to viewers.
Sometimes you’ll see TV hosts wearing a white dress or white suit jacket. The lighting director will make special adjustments to compensate. This isn’t always the case with guests. So to be on the safe side, avoid wearing white.
Soften Black Outfits With Accessories
Even though it can be slimming, black can also be bad for TV unless everyone else is wearing black. Dark colors will require more lighting. You can soften up a black outfit with a different color shirt, tie, scarf or a jacket.
A good look that might work for you is a dark shirt, black jacket, dark jeans, a light scarf and bright shoes to shake things up.
Avoid Bright Red Clothing
Red has always been a difficult color to wear on TV. The same way that red can bleed in the washing machine and ruin other clothes, it can also bleed on TV. Bright red clothing can often create a pixelating effect on screen. Other very saturated colors can also cause problems. It is best to be safe and avoid these colors when dressing for a TV appearance.
Don’t Wear Clothing With Small Patterns
Have you ever seen someone on TV wearing an outfit that appeared to vibrate? They were probably wearing pinstripes, small checks or another intricate design. This is called a Moiré pattern. Don’t wear small patterns. Guys, this includes ties too. Only large patterns.
Don’t Over Do It Or Experiment With A New Outfit
When deciding what to wear on TV, unless you’re a rock star or fashion designer, don’t get too carried away with your outfit. You probably want to be remembered for what you have to say and not your clothing.
Also, don’t experiment with new untested outfits or combinations. Stick to something you like and feel comfortable wearing. This will give you more time to focus on what you plan to say on camera.
Don’t Show A Lot Of Skin
Women will probably want to avoid short skirts or outfits that show too much skin. You will probably want TV viewers to focus on what you are saying and not your clothes… or the lack of them.
One exception, Mexican TV meteorologists (aka Mexican weather girls). They break this rule in ridiculous ways. Try Googling “Yanet Garcia” for multiple examples.
Men shouldn’t unbutton their shirts beyond one or two buttons. Again, it’s a distraction not to mention tacky.
Avoiding Wearing Tan Or Nude Colors
Speaking of skin, you should also avoid tan or nude colored fabrics. On TV, these colors will make you look naked. UK presenter Gorgi Coghlan had to hold a piece of paper in front of herself during the broadcast after viewers called the station thinking she was topless.
Don’t Wear Metals or Shiny Materials
With all of the lights in the studio, you need to avoid metals or anything that shines or reflects. This includes clothing too. Metal jewelry will catch the studio lights and shine into the camera.
Silence Your Outfit
Remember you’ll be wearing a lavalier microphone ($25 via Amazon) that will get clipped to your shirt or jacket. Anything that might touch the mic will need to be removed. Also avoid dangling earrings, charm bracelets, or even necklaces that may make noise when you move.
Rings can also be problematic if you are giving a demo or handling products during your appearance. Your rings might hit against objects and make tapping noises.
Leave Your Phone Backstage!
Don’t forget to leave your phone backstage. The last thing you want is for it to ring or chirp while you’re on TV. You also don’t want to be tempted to use it while you are on the set. For example, Lauren Evans from WILX got caught using her phone while on TV. Oops!
Empty Your Pockets
It’s a good idea to empty your pockets. The stuff in your pockets might make noise, make your outfit look bulky, or tempt you to fiddle with them during a TV appearance.
Don’t Wear Clothing With Logos… Unless It’s Your Company
A TV appearance will give you exposure to thousands, maybe millions of people. Avoid wearing anything with logos, including clothing, buttons and name badges. Why give these companies free exposure?
The only exception is if you are showing your logos or branding of course.
Everyone Should Wear Some Makeup. Yes, Guys Too.
Before going on TV, putting on some makeup is a must for both men and women. The TV station will probably have a makeup person on staff. Say “yes” when they offer makeup assistance. At a minimum, you’ll need to powder your nose, forehead, and face. Otherwise, you will look shiny or sweaty. If you are losing your hair, don’t forget to powder your head.
But don’t over do it! It’s true that high-definition cameras can be unforgiving, exposing even the smallest wrinkles and blemishes. However, they can also make heavy makeup look unnatural and cakey. The best solution is to invest in some special high-definition TV makeup. These “made-for-TV” cosmetics are more sheer and designed to hide uneven skin texture or minor flaws without looking like you’re wearing a lot of makeup.
Don’t Wear Glasses Unless They Are Glare-Proof
If you have them, wear glare-proof glasses. It’s what all professional TV personalities do. Another option is wearing contact lenses or not wearing your glasses if possible. Just like metals, glasses will reflect light. Don’t wear mirror glasses or sunglasses either.
Shine Your Shoes!
The one exception for shininess are your shoes. The hosts of the show will all probably be wearing nice shoes. Get your shoes shined the day before so you look as good as them.
Socks Are Important
If you’re doing a sit-down interview, then your socks will probably be seen on camera. Wear a neutral sock color that matches your outfit. When you sit down or cross your legs, your pants will naturally hike up and reveal your socks. Also make sure that you wear regular length socks, not crew socks. Otherwise, guys, everyone will see your hairy legs.
I’ve been in the studio when someone in a dark suit wore white gym socks. He didn’t realize his socks would be seen on camera. Instead, of being remembered for what he said on TV, most people just noticed his socks.
Use A Lint Roller To Remove Any Lint Or Fuzz From Your Outfit
It’s usually a good idea to wear a freshly dry-cleaned outfit for your TV appearance. If you can’t, then make sure you use a lint roller ($3 via Amazon) to clean up any lint or fuzz. Remember with HDTV, people see now everything.
Casual vs Formal Outfits
Should you dress business casual or formal for your appearance? Watch the program a few times in advance and ask the producer for tips. You want to be consistent with the show’s style.
What To Wear On TV To Look Thinner
The camera adds 10 pounds to your appearance. So it’s a good idea to wear clothes that are slimming. Every body type is unique, but here are some general tips on what to wear on TV to look thinner:
- Don’t test your outfits standing up. Sit down! Remeber you will be sitting during your TV appearance.
- Ladies wear hip-length jackets and wider belts. Wider belts instead of skinny ones actually make you look smaller.
- No pleats. Flat-front pants help flatten your stomach.
- V-necks are slimming.
- A solid color tight dress is probably a bad idea.
Avoid Baggy Clothes!
Above all else, when selecting what to wear on TV to look thinner, be sure to avoid baggy and loose style clothing. Why?
- They add weight. Baggy clothes can make you look larger than you actually are. This is because they create the illusion of bulk and volume. If you’re trying to make a good impression on camera, you want to avoid anything that will make you look heavier than you are.
- They can look messy. Baggy clothes can easily look wrinkled and unkempt. This is especially true if you’re sitting down, as the fabric will tend to bunch up and create unsightly folds.
- They can be distracting. Baggy clothes can be very distracting on camera. They can draw attention away from your face and make it difficult for viewers to focus on what you’re saying. If you want to make a good impression, it’s important to choose clothes that are flattering and stylish.
Planning Your Outfit For A TV Appearance
TV is a visual medium. It’s impressionistic. After your appearance, people will probably tell you that they “saw you on TV.” Most people won’t remember the exact details of what you said, but they will remember an impression.
After your first few TV appearances, try watching yourself on mute. This will help you gauge how you “appeared” on TV. You’ll probably make modifications to your TV wardrobe, your speech patterns and even nonverbal communication.
Good luck and we hope these tips helped! Let us know in the comments.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.