How to Dress for Success in the Studio

In today’s digitally connected world, appearing on camera is becoming a necessity for many business people. Whether you need to present a corporate message, offer a testimonial for a supplier or participate in your company’s pod-casting program, you want to put your best foot forward and dress for success. How do you make sure that your appearance on screen is as professional and polished as you are?

When deciding how to dress for the studio, the first rule is to make sure your clothing is free of lint, stains and wrinkles. The strong studio lighting will accentuate any such flaws in your wardrobe, making you look dishevelled. Remember Monica Lewinsky?

It’s also important to think about the image you want to present and choose the style of your clothing accordingly. What you wear on camera tells viewers something about who you are. For corporate videos, it’s important that your image comes across as trustworthy, polished and believable. A life-coach, on the other hand, may want to present an approachable, comfortable persona that says “I’m easy to talk to”. Dressing for success is easy if you know your market.

Clothes to Avoid

There are a few simple rules that will help make sure your on-camera presentation is a success:

  • Stay away from noisy accessories like heavy bracelets or chunky necklaces. Studio microphones are incredibly sensitive and there’s nothing that will detract from your message faster than the constant jangling of your jewellery every time you change your position.
  • Heavy patterns or stripes with high contrast colours can be problematic when videotaped. The sharp contrasts between colours in small areas can cause the patterns on your clothing to “come alive” on camera.
  • Shiny metallic fabrics will catch the glare of the studio lights and won’t film well.
  • Stark white shirts, jackets, or stripes. White is an important tool in video, but on camera stark white clothing can cause areas of the video to become to “hot” forcing the crew to adjust the lighting for your clothes, instead of your face.
  • Green or Blue Clothing. Studios use backdrops, usually either a green or blue screen, to apply special effects called chromakey after the video has been filmed. If your clothes are the same colour as the backdrop, you run the risk that parts of you will disappear once the visual effects are applied. It’s a good idea to ask about this in advance, so that you can choose your outfit accordingly.
  • Strong, bright, reds have a tendency to bloom on camera. This can cause you to have a red glow around the edges of your clothing. If you wear red, choose a muted shade rather than a pure bright colour.

Style Tips

Once you’ve eliminated the unsuitable choices, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you come across as polished as possible:

  • Jackets – a slightly longer jacket that you can tuck under your bum when sitting down will help you maintain a smooth shoulder line. Jackets also have the benefit of allowing you to hide the wires from your microphone without the uncomfortable experience of having a stranger help you feed the cable underneath your shirt.
  • Collars: Look for a collar that will allow you to attach a lavalier microphone about halfway between your shoulders and your nipples. V-necklines tend to be best for this. You can also clip the microphone to your tie or peeking out between the closed buttons of a dress shirt. High round necks, cowl necks, sweaters and flowing scarves can be problematic.
  • Jewellery – small, understated jewellery and earrings are less distracting and are usually best for corporate appearances unless your brand requires a more flamboyant or artistic persona. If you prefer to wear statement pieces, choose brooches over necklaces, and larger studs or hoops over dangly or waterfall style earrings.
  • Shoes & Pants – your lower half often won’t even appear on camera, but just in case it does, make sure your bottoms are as professional as your top half. Classic dress pants or knee length skirts are a good choice, with a comfortable matching, shoe in a neutral color.

Hair and Makeup

Keep your hair and makeup similar to your usual style. If you have bangs, a trim about a week before your appearance is a good idea. This ensures that your eyes are visible and beautifully framed – important in establishing trustworthiness. Smoother hairstyles also tend to come across more professionally on camera.

If you typically have your eyebrows and other facial hair groomed, do this at least a few days in advance so that you aren’t on camera with irritated skin from extensive plucking and tweezing.

Now that you’ve got your wardrobe nailed down the most important thing you can do is relax and enjoy the experience. If you do, your final video output will be fabulous!

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