You or your client has a big presentation, a media interview, a video conference, or a video shoot. How do you know what looks good on camera?
Conventional sources will tell you to wear something conservative when on camera. Gentlemen don’t venture outside of the blue (not white) dress shirt, navy sports coat and gray pants. Presenting to an audience at a conference? Ladies, where is the conservative black or navy dress or pantsuit in your closet?
It is an odd thing that when all eyes are on you, the temptation is to dress to blend into the curtain drapery backdrop. Let’s take a lesson from Queen Elizabeth. When she is in the spotlight, she makes it easy for people to spot her.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex is quoted as saying, "She needs to stand out for people to be able to say 'I saw the Queen.'"
The same principle applies when YOU are the one on camera or on stage presenting. Do you want people to think you are a member of the audience or the dynamic, sought-after expert who has something interesting to say?
Let’s get a few basic wardrobe no-nos out of the way.
DON’T create a lot of contrast (i.e. wearing a very dark color if you have very light complexion, and vice versa, or wearing a light shirt with a dark jacket).
DON’T wear small patterns such as checks, stripes, herringbone, corduroy and houndstooth which create a moiré effect on screen.
DON’T wear greens to avoid becoming part of the background when shooting in front of a green screen.
DON’T wear overly textured fabrics that absorb the light, such as velvet or corduroy.
DON’T wear shiny fabrics, which reflect too much light.
DON’T wear shiny jewelry or jewelry that has movement, such as dangling earrings or bracelets.
DON’T wear clothing that has lots of movement, such as cowl necks or ruffles. If a video is edited. Cuts are more obvious if your clothing has shifted. Loose clothing can also interfere with microphones.
DON’T wear all white, which can reflect too much light and throw off the balance of the camera.
And for heaven’s sake, DON’T wear black. This is a video shoot, not a funeral.
So let’s talk about how to stand out and look your best on camera.
DO choose medium tone colors that flatter your skin tone. Great alternatives to black, gray and navy include jewel tones such as burgundy, teal, plum, and sapphire blue.
If you want to make more of a statement, venture into brighter colors such as dandelion yellow, tangerine, turquoise or magenta.
DO choose a statement piece to add personality. This could be a bold pair of glasses (anti reflective lenses, please), a vibrant top/dress or colorful jewelry, etc. Maintain focus on your face.
DO use asymmetry to make your wardrobe interesting. For instance, an asymmetrical neckline can draw attention to your face without being overly distracting.
DO experiment with prints. Not all prints are bad on camera. A large floral or graphic print that does not have much contrast within the print can often set up apart from everyone else who is likely in solids.
The rules have changed. You do not have to dress in something boring for the sake of not dating a video. The lifespan of a video is much shorter these days. If you are doing your marketing right, you will be in many more videos in the future. So use this opportunity to stand out and be memorable. No one remembers navy.
Challenge for Attendees:
Ditch the navy and black. Have a little fun with your wardrobe for your next on camera appearance!