Clothes Make the Man - at Least on TV

man-tie-a-tie If the undulations of your paisley tie on screen make your viewers go cross-eyed, they won’t hear a word you say. So men, when dressing for television, keep it simple:

  • No geometric patterns, closely-spaced stripes, checks, or herringbone. Like paisley, they can create a dizzying moiré pattern on the screen, or “swim” effect.
  • For most skin types, contrast is best: maybe a light blue shirt with a matching striped or large-pattern tie underneath a solid color suit in dark blue or charcoal. Also, dress the part – keep it fairly conservative if you’re a banker; if you’re a musician or a creative director you can get away with the black shirt under the black suit jacket.
  • Avoid button-down collars - a straight color gives a more polished look.
  • White shirts used to be a no-no, but most modern cameras can handle them now. Just be sure to wear them under a jacket for contrast.
  • Skip flashy jewelry, which can also reflect light.
  • Be sure to wear knee length socks – we don’t want to see your bare calves in the wide shot.
  • If your suit fits well, button it. If it doesn’t, you don’t want it billowing forth.
  • If you need glasses and can't wear contacts, get a pair with non-reflective lenses to reduce the glare.

Finally, it never hurts to check with the producer in advance about the setup and color scheme of the set. You don't want to blend in. Will you be sitting or standing? Give your outfit a dry run in front of a friend's iPhone or video camera — sitting, standing, with legs crossed, from near and afar. And remember, if your target audience misses you on TV, they're going to head to You Tube, so best to see how you look on the tiniest of screens as well as the big one.

Next time: Clothes Make The Woman