The hot topic now is the US Presidential election. We certainly can't miss it and what a surprising result. Shock waves are still reverberating! The election has been all over our TV screens and every other form of media for months with the candidates various political party and personal brand messages delivered and scrutinised. Both candidates (and now President Elect) have a personal brand style and signature look that is quite simple, strong and does not overshadow what they say. Although Hillary Clinton did get her fair share of commentary on her clothing choices, probably because she is a woman. As politicians, they need to look good but have the focus on their message.
Other kinds of celebrities appear on TV and media interviews wearing styles that support their personal brand, whether classic and elegant, bohemian or quirky. For you, if you are asked to appear on television or do a video interview, you need to make sure you look the part.
The obvious point is that TV is a visual medium and viewers will make instant judgements about your image and brand based on what you wear. What you say may be overshadowed by that all black ensemble that makes you look washed out and funereal. Having appeared on Sky News Business on several occasions and as an experienced TV presenter, I am well aware of the impact of colour and the appropriate use of accessories to liven up your look.
When I worked at Prime Television as a newsreader I was lucky enough to borrow clothes to wear on air and after each broadcast viewed my performance to take note of what worked, what didn’t and noticed what styles and colours looked good on TV. Viewers would also call in and comment on hairstyles, clothing, accessories – oh and sometimes what the actual news was about!I’m sure the same applies today and of course I do notice what Lisa, Karl, Sam, David, Carrie, et al is wearing. Here are a few tips on what to wear:
Colour is the key. Contrasting colours work well particularly if you are wearing a dark jacket which always looks smart on TV especially for a business interview. Donald Trump predominantly wears a dark suit and white shirt. Pastel shirts look good and pastel or bright tops under jackets for women also work. A brightcolour dress works – but be wary of all red which may be overpowering – unless you are power woman Hillary. For men, a suit in navy, black or grey is the safest choice and accessorise with plain shirts or liven up a with checked shirts and ties in bolder contrasting colours. Tie-less is fine if that is your personal brand style but a jacket in my view always looks more polished.
Wear your most flattering colours closet to your face which will spotlight the attention on you and not what you wear. Dress simply. Yes it might sound boring but the TV appearance should be about the verbal messages you send supported by an enhancing visual image.
Colours to avoid include all black which is quite harsh and because it absorbs light can make you look very pale.Try a black dress or top with a brighter statement necklace. All white generally doesn’t work on TV either as it’s too hot and takes all the attention. Most TV interviews are done on a set but you may be interviewed on a chroma key screen. i.e. a green or blue background. If that’s the case don’t wear green or blue as you’ll just blend in. Check the background set colours beforehand if you can to avoid wearing the same colours – contrast looks good.
Don’t wear fine stripes, small checks, herringbone patterns and small, busy florals as they can move around on camera and appear blurry on screen.
It should go without saying to make sure you are well groomed with hair styled.Wear makeup. Many TV shows would have a makeup artist who will “tizz” you before you go an air. If not make sure you have your make up on ready – done by an expert if you don’t have any idea. And for men also have make up on hand to take away the shine before appearing on TV.
The idea is that TV viewers should focus on your face and what you say, so keep the outfit simple and jewellery and accessories generally to a minimum. Again, depending on your personal brand image and what your individual style represents. Yes, I know there are TV presenters whose range of T-shirts and brightly patterned shirts are their trademark and rather eye-catching but unless you’re a celebrity, a simple, smart clothing story looks best.
Need help with styling for your TV interview or media training to get it right? Learn more here.
Read last week’s blog Master the Media Interview to Make your Mark