Looking and feeling your best is essential to a successful TV interview. You’re more likely to feel prepared and at ease when you’re comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing. Plus, you want viewers to focus on what you’re communicating, rather than being distracted by your wardrobe.
When we secure TV interviews for our clients, we make sure they’re prepared not only to answer the tough questions, but also to dress appropriately and professionally.
Here are 10 tips to help you look your best on TV:
1. Wear comfortable clothes. Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident, but be mindful on how much skin you show. Avoid tight shirts, skirts or dresses that may bunch up in certain areas – tugging on or adjusting your clothing appears on camera as fidgeting or nervousness.
For women, try a conservative skirt, three-quarter-sleeve top and a blazer for a professional, polished look. For men, a button-down shirt, sport coat and slacks creates the same effect.
2. Try the sit-down test. Some outfits look appropriate when you’re standing up, but reveal more than you realize when you sit down. Most interviews occur at sofa height, but some take place on taller bar-height stools or chairs. Test your outfit at different heights in front of a mirror in your home to see if your skirt or dress slides up. You may need to adjust your posture or switch outfits.
3. Think about where your microphone will go. Most in-studio appearances use a lavaliere microphone for sound. Wear a suit jacket, buttoned shirt or blouse with a collar to attach the microphone clip near your face and consider where the microphone’s base will sit. Dresses should have pockets or a belt to attach it.
Women should tuck hair on the side with the microphone to the side or behind their shoulder to minimize disturbances. Be sure your necklace won’t rub against your microphone, which can muffle your voice or create distracting noises.
4. Steer clear of a crisp white shirt. While a crisp white button-down shirt looks great in person, it doesn’t translate well on TV. The white shirt, especially when paired with a sharp black suit, tends to wash out many skin tones. Pastels, like a pale blue or light green, are universally flattering. Pair it with a simple tie and a blue or grey suit to look your best.
5. Stick with solids or large prints. Be wary of small prints, checkered patterns and stripes, which tend to vibrate on screen. Avoid bright red, which can be a hard color on camera, and bright green, which can make you disappear on a green screen.
6. Keep jewelry conservative. A statement necklace or earrings can be a nice touch, but avoid any jewelry that is too flashy or shiny. The studio lights are intense and can create distracting flashes when they hit your jewelry. Jewel tones, matte jewelry or a simple pendant can pull an outfit together.
7. Consider your dress socks. Slacks rise up when you’re seated, so wear socks that you don’t mind for people to see – that means no athletic socks. Avoid funky or funny patterns, and opt for a darker color over tan or white dress socks. It’s good idea to keep a pair of dark-colored dress socks handy for last-minute appearances.
8. Use makeup to emphasize features and avoid shine. Makeup and hair stylists are not provided, so you’ll need to arrive fully prepared. Keep in mind that the lights and cameras reduce the appearance of makeup so women may want to go heavier on makeup to accentuate the eyes, lips and cheek bones. Men may consider using a transparent powder to control and reduce shine.
Use matte products and avoid products that shimmer, which will make your skin appear oily or shiny on camera. It’s good to carry two sets of makeups— one set for every day and one for an interview.
9. Bring an alternate outfit. A small coffee spill can be a disaster on the morning of a TV interview. Prepare for the worst by keeping an alternate outfit in your car.
Keep a blazer or go-to outfit in your office or car if your position requires you to act as your organization’s spokesperson so you can look your best even when there’s little time to prepare.
10. Wear your uniform. If you wear a uniform at work, wear it to the interview, even if it’s bright white, embroidered or patterned. You should wear the outfit that people will recognize to represent your company or organization on TV.
To see examples of what to wear on TV, see what representatives with B2 clients SPCA Tampa Bay and Community Foundation of Tampa Bay have worn for recent interviews.
More resources: B2’s Big 3 rules for media interviews