More and more people are watching TV in HD these days. When everyone is watching all video on an HD screen, what you were on TV or video interviews won’t matter so much as long as you look good in person—because they way people see you on HD TV is very similar to how they would see you in person. If—and this is a big if—every part of the video capture and distribution chain is in HD. The camera must be HD, the cables, your Cable TV provider, your cable box, your TV, etc. If even one link is weak, then you won’t be watching in true High definition.
So why is this significant? Because when people aren’t watching you in high definition, there are a number of distorting effects that come into play that you must take into account when dressing. For example, very few people have HD computer screens. So if they are watching your appearance for a TV interview that was on NBC news, but is now on YouTube, you won’t be seen in HD.
Why does this matter? Because stripes and patterns will suddenly look like fuzzy, dirty blurs. Reds will bleed. Whites will become too bright and wash out your face. There are a whole host of problems that occur from normal dress when you are appearing on video.
If you really want to be safe and to have people focus on what you are saying and not what you are wearing, then I recommend the following tips:
1. Wear solid shirts, ties, dresses and outfits.
2. Avoid small and complex patterns.
3. Avoid stripes.
4. Checks, paisleys, and other complicated designs should be avoided.
5. Avoid black (while black can be slimming in real life, it can actually make you look heavier on video because there is no differentiation between your arms and torso, plus you might blend in with a black chair)
6. Avid white shirts and other clothing. White is too bright and the camera perceives it as light.
7. Dress in a way that fits the image and message you are trying to project.
8. Everyone, men and women, need to wear makeup before going on TV. A simple power will keep most shine and splotchy imperfections from being as noticeable.
The last point is key—there is no one way to dress for TV/video interviews. If you are a dairy farmer, where jeans and work clothes. If you are a traditional Wall Street fund manager, then where a conservative suit. The main thing you want is a style and image that fits everything else you are about.
So, for example, Richard Simmons clothing of little shorts and a tank top fit perfectly with his image—but they probably wouldn’t work for you if you are a CEO of a coal company. Most of my client and most people who are being interviewed on TV aren’t trying to draw attention to a flamboyant style but to their ideas instead, that’s why my advice is on how to NOT have your clothes stand out. But if you are a fashion designer, then you want your clothes and style to stand out. You must play by a different set of rules—often the more attention getting the better. So dress according to your goals and messages you want to set, not a one-size-fits-all list of rules supplied here or any other place.
Other dress tips just for women:
1. If you wear dangling earrings, they will cause a lot of attention and reflect light as you move your head while speaking. Better to wear earrings that sit on the ear rather than dangle. This way they won’t be swinging back and forth dominating the attention of the viewer. Again if you are an earring designer and you want people to focus on your earrings, disregard this piece of advice.
2. Be careful of low cut dresses/shirts and short dresses that don’t cover the knees. Sex appeal can overwhelm your other messages if you aren’t careful sometimes.
3. Of course you want to look attractive, but make sure the attraction isn’t coming from lots of skin showing unless that is central to your image.
4. Be careful about wearing any rough or shiny lipstick unless you want those things to dominate another screen. If you wear lots of makeup, better to go with subtler colors and no wet gloss with the lipstick unless you are trying to project a very sexy image.
5. Be aware that if you wear more than one ring per hand or any dangly bracelets or other big jewelry, this may become the focus on the viewer’s attention. Wear your jewelry sparingly unless it is central to your image.
Finally, remember, your image is too important to leave up to guesswork. Before you head to the TV studio or interview, do a quick rehearse with a video recorder. Play it back and look at yourself without any audio on. Make sure you really like how you look—that’s the ultimate test.
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