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How to dress for television, or: What I learned from Good Day Austin

Appozite, Fashion

Last week, Hayes and I found out that we were going to be on the Austin morning news show Good Day Austin. Part of our segment was taped a few days before the show aired and the rest was shot live. That meant I had to come up with two different outfits to wear on TV. It’s funny – when we heard we were going to be on the show, my first thought was not “what will we talk about?”. It was “what am I going to wear?”.  

I’ve taught university-level public speaking and professional communication skills courses since 2003, so the speaking portion of a TV interview didn’t bother me much (not that I expected to be brilliant, just that I knew what I was supposed to do). But I had no idea how to dress for television; we never specifically addressed that in any of my classes. So I searched around online for helpful advice. I liked a few articles in particular, like 113 tips for dressing for television from Media Training Worldwide and a great post with a sample TV outfit from Polyvore

What it really comes down to is be yourself (funny how often that is true). If you feel uncomfortable in the clothing you’re wearing, you’ll look uncomfortable. 

A few tips for dressing for television: 

  • Don’t wear white. 
  • Don’t wear a small pattern or thin stripes. In fact, stay away from most patterns. 
  • Pick a color that looks good on you. Bright and pastel colors look great on TV. Apparently pastels can also make you look younger. 
  • Don’t wear something you will able to see through in bright light. Test that before you leave your house. 
  • Don’t wear large or distracting jewelry.
  • Wear makeup, especially powder. It gets hot and you’ll get shiny.
  • Fix your hair and make sure it stays out of your face. 
  • When in doubt, dress conservatively. Unless you’re making a fashion statement on purpose, this might not be the time to try out a new look. 

I ended up making pretty conservative choices. I wore simple, solid color tops with short sleeves both times. For the first segment I wore a dark teal, which is one of the most flattering colors on me. For the second segment, I wore a light blue. I wore my hair down and straight both times. If I could do it again, I would have done more with my hair, maybe some loose waves or pulled it back. But it was faster to leave it straight and I already had to get up very early to go on a live morning show. 

The other lesson I learned is that you should figure out from what angles your face looks best.  Do you look your best when you look straight at a camera, are turned slightly, or from your profile?  Unfortunately, you’re not supposed to look directly at the camera (which is my best angle), but you can figure out just how much you should turn your head. Next time, I’ll pay more attention to that. 

Overall, it was a lot of fun! I learned a lot about television news and we got to talk to all of Austin about CheapTweet.  I’m sure that once Oprah sees our segment, she’ll be begging us to come on her show. 

Jenn @ May 13, 2009

1 Comment

  1. chenyan March 9, 2010 @ 9:02 am

    solid color tops with short sleeves both times. For the first segment I wore a dark teal, which is one of the most flattering colors on me. For the second segment, I wore a light blue. I wore my hair down and straight both times. If I could do it again, I would have done more with my hair

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