Once you’ve gotten over the butterflies in your stomach, it’s time to consider what you’ll wear if you’re interviewed on television. While the camera may not add 10 pounds, an outfit that looks good in person may not translate well on television, as the cliché goes.
Regardless of what your instincts tell you, don’t plan on dressing like you would for a business meeting or conference. Here are a few pointers to ensure that your television appearance gets you noticed in a positive light.
Do a Little Research About the Show
If time allows, watch the show to observe how the hosts and guests are dressed. You don’t want to wear a ball gown or tuxedo to a panel discussion about business challenges. Will you be standing, sitting, or standing behind a desk? Before you get to the television studio, familiarize yourself with details.
Clothes and Colors to Avoid
If at all possible, avoid wearing stripes or other patterns while flying. Striped clothes can produce a strange optical phenomenon known as a moire pattern, in which negative patterns struggle for apparent supremacy.
Wearing all black or all white is not a good idea. Even though black is slimming, neutral tones such as gray or light pastels such as lilac or blue are good choices. The camera will increase the contrast. White is a poor choice because it can be visually overwhelming and cause the viewer to become “blind.”
Green is a color you should avoid when appearing on television. Many special effects, such as weather and traffic maps, are shown on a green screen. You’ll blend into the background if you’re wearing green and these effects are being employed. Wear no gaudy or dangly jewelry, and if you must wear contacts or glasses, opt for contacts if possible. Spectacles can sometimes reflect the glare from television studio lights.
How to Choose Your On-Camera Outfit
Make sure you’re dressed comfortably. Choose a suit that you despise rather than one that you think looks wonderful. It will show on your face and body language if you are uncomfortable. If you’re wearing pants, wear knee-length socks. If you don’t, some skin may show when you cross your legs. Apply the same logic to skirts: if they’re too short, they’ll seem odd on camera, particularly if you’re seated.
Because high-definition screens are the standard, you’ll want to conceal any undereye bags or skin blemishes with cosmetics. But try to strike a balance; you don’t want to look like you’re going to the circus by putting on too much makeup. Keep your eye and lip makeup neutral and understated, just like your clothes.
What to Bring to the Television Studio
If feasible, bring a few alternate outfits, or at the very least a new suit jacket or sweater. Arriving at the studio in the same clothes as the on-air host is odd. It’s great to have a backup costume on hand.
While you don’t want to fuss too much with your hair and makeup, bringing a comb or brush for a fast touch-up is good. You might also wish to bring some tissues or a handkerchief. The lights are bright, and you’re likely to sweat a little, especially if you’re frightened.
Bring a bag or entrust your wallet, phone, and car keys to a trustworthy individual. You don’t want things bulging in your pockets or making you uncomfortable when you sit down (or worse, a phone that rings in the middle of a shoot).
How to Behave on Camera
It’s fine to feel apprehensive, but try to maintain your composure and act genuinely. People make two typical blunders on television: they either smile the entire time or freeze up. Keep in mind why you’re there and what you want to say. To help you focus, take a few deep breaths before the camera starts rolling. Use smaller motions and avoid gesticulating or moving your hands at all.
Keep your hands curled securely in your lap. Assume you’ll be in close-up for the duration. Avoid touching your face because it appears strange on camera. Do a practice run the day before, and try to eliminate “ums and uhs” from your prepared statements.
Put on the attire you plan to wear and have a friend film you while asking questions as part of your preparation. It doesn’t need to be fancy; a simple smartphone video will suffice.
The idea is to help you notice things like facial emotions and other traits by allowing you to see how you appear on camera. Some actions should be emphasized, while others should be minimized.