When it comes to appearing on television, you don’t want to let your appearance overshadow or distract from the message you want to convey. And in the age of high definition TV, you can be scrutinised in sometimes overwhelming detail.

It can be a challenge but if you stick to some simple rules, you can ensure that it is your message that is the main topic of discussion – not your outfit.

We have put together our top five tips for dressing for television to help you get ready for your close-up.

Consider the setting

Before deciding what to wear, think about the type of TV programme you are appearing on. What you wear for a segment on an afternoon magazine-style show may differ from what you wear on a more serious current affairs segment.

Watch an episode of what you’re appearing in advance to suss out the style of the presenter and other guests, but if in doubt, err on the side of caution. Another thing to consider is the set itself – try picking a contrasting colour as you don’t want to blend into the background.

Choosing colour and patterns

Choosing what colour to wear is one of the most important steps and, while you want to pick a shade that suits you, there are some colours you should try to avoid. Don’t wear too much white, black or red – white glows, all black can be too harsh and can suck up all the light, while red bleeds on camera and can be distracting.

Blues, purples and greens are a good, failsafe option.

You should also try to avoid very busy patterns such as narrow stripes and herringbone as they can distort, and nothing too metallic as it reflects the light.

Don’t over-accessorise 

Keep accessories to the minimum or wear one statement piece such as a necklace. However, make sure you don’t wear very dangly earrings and remove jewellery that makes noise or could hit against your microphone. If you’re going to be standing for an extended period of time, choose footwear that will be comfortable.

For those who will be sitting while wearing suits, wear socks that complement your trousers and that go to the knee.

Don’t forget the powder 

For both men and women, some make-up is a must, to combat the strong studio lights. The television studio will likely have a make-up artist on hand, and at a minimum, have your face powdered, especially your nose and forehead.

For those who want a fuller face of make-up, keep it fresh and simple but again, do powder and use blush, and define your eyes, eyebrows and lips.

The perfect fit

Make sure your clothes have a flattering fit as any gathering, stretching or riding up will be noticeable on camera. Sit down in your clothes in advance to ensure your outfit looks just as good seated as it does standing.

And make sure all clothes are clean, and lint and wrinkle-free (basic but it bears repeating).

In short, dress in a simple, classic manner, one that you feel comfortable in and won’t be too distracting on screen. The audience should remember what you said – not what you wore.

For more information on: media training,securing speaking opportunities for key executives, developing collateral for employer branding or video content for social media, contact us today: info@springboardcommunications.ie


Post by
Susie founded Springboard in 2011, and has developed the business into a leading, director-led communications agency. She has worked for over 20 years in senior marketing and public relations roles.

For more stories like this sign up for our Insights newsletter ›




Put a spring in your step, and sign up below to receive our newsletter

Springboard Communications
CRO 529581