The first thing I usually hear from students of my do-it-yourself PR program when they land their first television interview is: "Oh my god, I got booked!" The second is, "Oh no, what on earth do I wear?"
Knowing that the plan is to leverage the heck out of that television clip or feature article adds pressure and makes every outfit seem inappropriate. High definition cameras and green screens have rendered much of the "what to wear" advice on Google moot. And in today's social media-heavy world, knowing what to wear on camera will make every image and video you produce more polished.
So how are you supposed to pick an outfit that works perfectly for your body, skin tone and message while making it look effortlessly put together? I turned to one of my own students--Jen Thoden, a frequent vlogger and founder of Your Color Style--and "people packager" and image consultant Sylvie di Giusto for advice on personalizing an outfit in a way that stays on brand and makes you pop visually.
1. Check the background.
Always, always do your homework and familiarize yourself with the studio where the segment will be shot. What's the color of the wall? What does the furniture look like? Are there patterns anywhere?
"The last thing you want to do is wear something that clashes, or worse, matches the curtains," says Thoden. "When your goal is to stand out, blending in too well defeats the purpose."
2. Wear something bright and colorful
"While neutrals make a safe choice, they rarely make a memorable impression," says Thoden. "Choose something bold, so the viewers focus on you. It's best to avoid dark colors and instead opt for bright colors that make you pop on screen. Red, purple and navy are 'power' colors that show authority. These colors will have people taking you seriously and hanging on your every word."
3. Invest in great underwear
Both experts agree on this one: The best underwear gives visible results without being seen. It creates a silhouette and flatters your natural body shape.
Most women know wearing a black bra might show through a light blouse, but colored underwear can be just as tricky, especially under studio lights. Make sure to double check in the mirror. If you're wearing tight-fitting clothes like pencil skirts or bodycon dresses, wear a seamless garment like Spanx underneath.
4. Pick something that fits perfectly
Throw away the myth that beauty requires discomfort. Being in front of the camera is nerve-wracking enough. You don't need all the itching and the chafing from the wrong fabric. You definitely don't want to keep adjusting something too loose or too tight.
Make sure you can breathe and move freely in your outfit. Try stretching your arms to see how you clothes feel.
5. Flaunt your best assets
Imagine yourself feeling confident, and hold that picture in your head. Think about what you love about your own body.
"Too often, we focus on our problem parts or insecurities, and then dress to camouflage them," says Thoden. "Instead, focus on the parts of your body you like best. The best way is to find a balance between playing up one feature - say, your shoulders - and then wearing something that flatters a problem spot. For example, a top with an empire waist to drape over a less than washboard belly."
6. Invest in yourself
"You're telling a story every day with the clothes you wear and the choices you make. What story are you telling?" says Di Giusto. "What do people read between the lines when they see you? How much did you invest in terms of time and effort this morning before you headed out on that interview?
"If you don't invest in embodying your brand, people will unconsciously balk at investing with you when it comes time to buy into your message or pay for your products and services."
Thoden agrees and recommends choosing luxurious fabrics and investing in professional hair and makeup for the day.
7. Don't forget your digital presence
Your image isn't just about what you wear on TV or during a an article photoshoot. If people are intrigued (which is your goal), they will likely Google you. It's important that what they find on the first page of Google confirms their impression of you as a polished professional.
"Social media profiles are important," says di Giusto. "Have good head shots and carefully describe yourself and your abilities. Don't think whatever you write is private. There is no private on the internet."
Ultimately, what you wear should make you feel powerful, attractive and excited. People are most drawn to doing business with those they know, like and trust. So coming across as polished and fun will draw folks into your circle of influence.