Your Next Media Interview: How to Look Great on TV
Getting ready for a TV interview doesn’t just mean putting on your Sunday best or wearing your regular work clothes. In fact, your wardrobe affects how seriously people take what you say and how successful your time on the silver screen is. So it pays to consider how to dress for a television news interview before the big day.
If you want your TV appearance to be a success – and you want to fully enjoy your 15 minutes of fame! – you’ll need to make sure you look great on TV. Here’s how!
How to Dress for a News interview?
As a representative for your company, your priority is to avoid any clothing choices that distract from the goal of your communications – audience impression is the priority. There is a wide variety of different apparel items you can wear that will be appropriate for a TV news interview. The best thing to remember is: always dress for success. Unless otherwise specified by the person in charge of the TV show, your clothing should be:
• Either formal or semiformal
• Appropriate in a workplace setting
• Sharp and well-fitted
• Reasonably comfortable so you can give your interview with confidence
Below, we’ll break down more details about what you should wear on television based on context, body shape, and more.
Context Dictates Your Attire
First off, remember that the context of your TV interview will dictate your attire style and formality level. For example, if you’re being interviewed by a news station about your organization, you’ll want to look professional and managerial. That means a dress shirt and a tie at a minimum.
For another example, say that you’re going to be on TV about an upcoming book convention you regularly attend. In that case, you can wear comfortable but well-fitted clothes since you don’t have to be so formal.
Remember for example, if you work in pharmaceuticals the attire while inside the facility may be a clean suite, but in the office environment, you return to your more formal clothes. A lifeguard should not be in an office suite but should be in a bathing suit.
Keep the context of your upcoming TV appearance in mind when picking out your wardrobe for the best results.
What is the best color to wear on TV?
There are great resources available to dressing for your skin tone and can work well with your fashion style but our discussion will be limited to what works with the technology of digital television cameras. Even with today’s technology, the camera still boosts color contrast. To that end, it’s a good idea not to wear overly bright or colorful clothes if possible. Your goal should be to make a good impression so that your message is the focus for your audience.
The best colors to wear on TV include:
• Pastels like lilac
Try not to wear white unless it’s the color of your suit undershirt. White can be a little visually overwhelming and blind your viewers. You should similarly stay away from green, as green is the color the postproduction crew will use to make any alterations to the show after the fact.
Avoid stripes or tight patterns. TV is filmed in high definition (missing something) do not wear high-contrast striped clothing. The contrast between light and dark lines will create visual noise and be distracting from your message.
Dress Recommendations for a TV Studio Interview
If you go to a TV studio as a guest, you have lots of opportunities to prepare your wardrobe to look its best. For the best results, try to wear:
• A solid color suit and/or tie depending on your preferences. This will make you look professional
• Tailored slacks or trousers, for the same reasons
- For shoes and socks, go with basic black or brown footwear and white socks. You don’t want the focus to be on your feet!
• A basic watch and few or no other accessories. Women should select professional jewelry that doesn’t distract from your message or create reflections from the studio lights. Don’t forget that those smartwatches will go off during your interview if you haven’t put them on silent too.
- Studio shows will likely have you sit so be prepared to unbutton a suit or wear skirts that you are comfortable with wearing on camera.
- Studio audio usually is done by an overhead microphone, but if there is an audience you may need to wear a remote lavaliere microphone. So have a pocket available if possible.
If it’s a TV studio interview, most of the camera footage will be focused on your face, so you need to pay more attention to your makeup and hairstyle (more on those below).
Dress Recommendations for an On-Site Interview
If your TV interview is taking place on-site – that is, it’s outside a TV studio in public – you have a little more flexibility. If inclement weather is a factor, don’t be afraid to wear a coat or jacket atop your clothes, alongside weather-appropriate footwear.
You can also wear brighter colors and more accessories. Depending on the context of your on-site interview, you might be able to wear shirts with logos on them if you’re representing a particular brand or company (such as your own small business).
If you are being interviewed in a hot environment be prepared for sweating so bring a handkerchief you can use to avoid drips. If sweating is a concern for you call in advance to see if the crew can make accommodations for you. This shouldn’t be a problem but be clear you want to look your best – this is not the time to convey the wrong image on camera.
Technical Requirements for Your Attire
Before we go further, let’s cover a few technical requirements you should keep in mind no matter the context of your TV appearance.
It’s called a lapel mic for a reason
The “lapel mic” will be placed by the camera crew in a nondescript but convenient location so it can clearly pick up your voice. The best place for this is underneath or atop a suit lapel. Therefore, wearing a basic work suit or jacket is a great choice if you need to dress for a TV news show. You’ll make the camera crew’s work easy and your voice will come through the microphone clearly.
Battery packs need pockets or belts
The battery pack for the lapel mic also needs a pocket or belt to hide behind. Be sure to wear a belt with your tailored trousers or ensure that your jacket has adequate pockets to store the battery pack. The more pockets, the better; this gives the camera crew more places to hide the battery pack.
Clothing for Men to Look Great on Camera
The TV news dress code for men is fairly straightforward: wear tailored slacks, a collared dress shirt, and/or a tie depending on the formality of the event. You can’t go wrong with this basic setup.
If you don’t want to wear a suit, go for a long-sleeve dress shirt that you can roll up or a collared short sleeve shirt. The point is to look mature and respectable rather than casual and youthful.
Clothing For Women to Look Great on Camera
Women have far more options when it comes to clothing for a TV interview. You can wear:
• Semi-casual dresses can be appropriate if it’s spring or summer
• A more formal dress if the interview is taking place inside or at an organization headquarters
• A well-fitted suit and trousers
• A regular blouse and tailored trousers or a skirt
• And more
The big thing to keep in mind is, like dressing for a TV appearance as a man, to make yourself look respectable. Aim for maturity and a conservative dress style rather than a more relaxed or casual outfit that shows too much skin. Consider your brand identity and what you are known for and make sure what you wear matches the company persona.
Special Considerations for Camera Interviews for Men and Women
Why patterns don’t work on TV
You should never wear a shirt or suit that features patterns on it. That’s because the television processes that reduce images into pixels naturally create their own patterns of columns and rows. If your patterns don’t perfectly match this, it can be very distracting for your viewers and ruin your time in the spotlight. Solid colors are much better.
Watch your accessories
Similarly, try not to wear too many accessories or jewelry like big earrings. These can be distracting to your audience and take their attention away from your message.
Make-up is a big deal in the TV world. Everyone wears a little bit of makeup when they go on screen, even the most masculine men! Here are some tips you should keep in mind before the camera rolls.
Make-up considerations for each skin tone
Each skin tone has different makeup rules of thumb to ensure the best results. These are:
• Fair-skinned people should aim for warm colors and antiperspirant makeup. Your makeup should help your skin avoid looking gray or cold. Use makeup liberally to cover up blemishes.
• Tan-skinned people benefit from rich coloring and can use make-up to highlight the contrast between their skin and hair. Or they can use make-up to cover dark spots or other blemishes.
• Dark-skinned people can and should use makeup to cover up skin blemishes or aging spots. But they should also use makeup heavily to prevent perspiration shine from affecting their TV appearances.
Make-up for bald heads
Men with bald heads should apply a little makeup powder to the tops of their skulls. This will prevent your skin from looking shiny or oily, especially in the bright light of TV studios.
Make-up for perspiration
The same holds true when applying makeup to prevent perspiration from flashing on the screen. Try to apply a little bit of foundation at a bare minimum. Also apply a bit of powder on your forehead, nose, and other areas of the face. This will negate a good amount of perspiration shine.
Ask the Makeup Artist for Help
Any TV crew will have at least one makeup artist on hand. Have them touch up your makeup or ensure it looks great before the cameras roll!
Whether you’re a man or woman, there are a few hair styling tips to keep in mind before you go on TV.
For starters, always make sure that your hairstyle is relatively stiff. You don’t want your hair to be blowing around or falling in front of your eyes in the middle of the show. To that end, use hairspray or other hair products to ensure your hair stays in place.
Furthermore, if you have black or shiny hair, try to use a hairspray that reduces shine. Studio lights are quite bright and they can make the shine effect even more dramatic than you might anticipate!
How Should a Plus-Sized Person Dress on Camera?
If you’re a plus-sized individual, you can dress for success on TV cameras by:
• Wearing fitted and tailored clothing wherever possible. Baggy clothes don’t look good on anyone, but especially folks with a little extra weight
• Pick clothing pieces that draw the eye to your best features
• If you’re a woman, pick an outfit that cinches the smallest part of your waist. This will create an hourglass look
How Should Short People Dress on Camera?
Short people should follow the same rules as plus-sized individuals: dress in tailored, fitted clothing that doesn’t appear to be too big or baggy on your body.
For example, well-fitted trousers or shirts will make your body proportions look extremely average… which is a good thing! People won’t likely know that you are shorter than average if your clothes fit.
You should also avoid clothes that have oversized elements, such as Oxford shirts which have oversized chest pockets. Again, avoiding these clothes prevents the public from drawing size comparisons between your clothing in your body proportions.
How Murnahan Public Relations Consulting Can Help You Prepare
Even with these tips, it can be tough to prepare for a TV interview by yourself. But Murnahan Public Relations can help you prepare for any television appearance. In addition to assisting with all your other public relations needs, we’ll help you prep your wardrobe and make up for your upcoming TV interview and ensure you know exactly what to say to get your message across successfully.
Want to know how we can help your business succeed in the competitive economic environment? Contact Murnahan Public Relations today for a consultation!