What to Wear on Camera
Selfies, social media, YouTube and iPhone videos… who isn’t on camera these days? Whether these appearances are for work or for play, in still shots or on video, we all want to look our best. Here are some dos and don’ts for what to wear on camera - lessons learned the hard way.
Bright colours – on top – do look best on camera. Red, pink, orange, green, blue, purple… all of these shades really pop. Here’s a good example:
Avoid muted colours. Unless you are wearing a sufficient amount of makeup (as in top photo) or have a tan, they can wash you out. While I love it in person, dusty rose is my nemesis.
It used to be that you shouldn’t wear black or white on camera. This isn’t really the case any more. Black can work but I’d avoid a turtleneck. Against a dark background it can make you look like a disembodied head.
White can look good, with the right lighting. But as with muted colours, it can also wash you out. Anna looks nice and rosy below but I look pale. It would have been looked better if I added more blush to compensate for the white dress.
You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t wear stripes. By and large, this is true, but if the stripes are wide enough, like below, it can be fine. Keep in mind that a thin stripe can work in a photo but will likely distort on camera.
Small checks or other tight patterns, like houndstooth, are generally a no-no. I’m amazed when I watch popular TV shows and see jackets (men’s especially) distorting and shimmering. It’s distracting. Didn’t anyone do a wardrobe check? Big checks/plaid definitely work, like on Anna below.
Concentrate on your top half. In most photos or on-camera appearances, that’s what you’ll see.
Choose something with a nice neckline – boat-neck, scoop-neck, v-neck or a button down are all good choices as they all elongate the neck.
Think fitted, not tight. Tight can look ok if you’re standup up. But unless you’re very fit, once you sit down you could sprout a muffin top.
Avoid anything oversized or bulky, like a boyfriend sweater. It can look cute in person but on camera it can make you look bigger. Sweaters can be fine, as long as they’re a thin knit and fairly fitted.
Don’t wear anything overly trendy. Most clothes will date themselves eventually, but I definitely regret some trends that I wore on air, like these puffy sleeves. I look like a linebacker.
Sheer or semi-sheer is a fine look for evening. But when the flashes go off, you’ll be leaving little to the imagination. Also ladies, be sure to wear appropriately-coloured undergarments. So a black bra under dark clothes and a nude bra under lighter ones.
Unless you’re Jennifer Aniston or Michelle Obama, avoid sleeveless. Most people’s arms look like white blobs on camera. That said, sleeveless can be okay IF you remember to leave some space between your arms and your body, as in photo below. This makes your arms look much slimmer. We have the arm move down pat here.
If you are doing a sit down interview of some sort, I’d avoid a short skirt unless you are wearing dark tights. Skirts ride up when you sit and you never know what the camera will catch.
As with tops, think fitted and avoid anything tight or overly baggy. I regret these balloon style pants. Not very flattering. (Not to mention that cropped pants can make legs appear shorter.) The camel didn’t seem to notice.
I like the old trick of wearing a darker colour on the bottom to make my lower half look slimmer. Dark colours retreat while bright or light ones pop. I don’t really need my butt to pop.
The best trick? Take a picture of yourself and then check it on a larger screen, like your iPad or computer. The camera doesn’t lie.