I received a request to do a post on things that look good on camera which I thought was an excellent question. It’s a subject that I know first hand as I was once on a TV show and wore absolutely everything that shouldn’t be worn and had to learn the hard way by watching myself on screen while shaking my head in horror.
[This is a new post by my sister Joanie, who writes a regular style column for me. All links are affiliate. I love her thoughts on this question -Rachael]
This isn’t just a post for people who will be on TV. We live in a digital age and there are a variety of ways that you may encounter some camera time, be it still images or video. These tips even apply to things like family portraits, etc. Have you ever worn something you thought was amazing only to see photos afterwards and want to burn them? Only me?
So first a couple of rules.
#1: it is very tempting when presented with a fun opportunity to film something or take some photos to rush out and buy new clothes. I would highly caution against this, there is something that happens with new items where were are blinded by the newness of it and we can’t yet see it clearly. Which means, because it’s new you might think, “Wow, I look amazing.” and then decide in two weeks that in fact, you hate it. It’s best to go with something you’ve owned for at least a month and worn several times, minimum.
#2, this is not the time to pull out your trendiest outfit that you’d wear to interview at a fashion magazine. This is the time to wear something that feels like you. Looking comfortable is better than looking hip. Along that same line, no wacky/wild prints, stripes, etc. And nothing too flow-y, if you wear a flow-y top, balance it with something fitted on the bottom and vice versa.
#3, if you invest in anything, make it tailoring. Instead of buying a heap of new clothes, get somethings altered to perfection. Get the waist of a dress pulled in by an 1”, hem the pant to hit at the right spot of you ankle, shorten the sleeve of a blouse, etc. Also, shy away from anything too tight or too loose. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with your body, don’t give into the feeling that hiding in a large oversized dress will make you feel better. It won’t, I’ve tried it. Instead go to a full length mirror and tell yourself “I love you and you’re perfect just the way you are” 10x, even if you don’t believe it, say it (I’m not joking).
I’m going to suggest some pieces below that would be great on camera. They may seem boring to you but that’s intentional. And if you’re not going to be on camera, these are all great closet staples. Look up someone who is on TV a lot, like Joanna Gaines, notice what she’s wearing, essentially elevated basics, all the time. You never look at her and think, “wow, what a bore, mix it up would ya”. You think, “gosh, she looks incredible!” because she does and you will too.
a/ Banana Republic
b/ Banana Republic
a/ This is a great dress, it has really clean lines, it’s not too low cut so you won’t be pulling it up all the time. Color is really important on camera, pay attention to shades you know look good on you. I like all three of these colors but not the nude, it could make you look like your naked on TV.
b/ Another winner. If you feel uncomfortable showing your arms (and many woman do!) opt for something with a fitted sleeve. This blue is beautiful, highly recommend this one.
c/ I have a top from Ulla Johnson that I adore but photographs terribly. It’s because it has a big dramatic sleeve and a high neck. Unless you’re wearing something really fitted like a tight turtleneck which generally looks good in photos/video. I recommend balancing a top with some skin. open a few buttons at the neck can really help break things up. Otherwise, it might feel like your top part looks like one big block. This is an example of a perfect top, I’d recommend a full tuck in if you wear it. This and this are also chic and great options.
d/ For pants, keep them simple. Fitted, not too much fabric. Straight and skinny jeans are great options. I like these pants from LOFT. They’d be great with the white button down shirt from Everlane.
e/ I know I said no prints but this one is tonal (meaning the print is the same color as the top itself) so it works. I like how delicate it is and the vibrant color. This is an example of a top that is very cute but I would NOT recommend wearing on camera, it’s too loud and busy.
f/ This one wouldn’t work for me (I have a large bust) but if you don’t this is also a great option. I wouldn’t wear it if your skin is too pale but it’s a simple cut and would be cute with a pair of sneakers or flat sandal, no heels!
g. This whole outfit is a great on-camera look. Neutrals, not too tight, no prints, delicate jewelry, well tailored… It’s also worth noting that if you sweat a lot, which I do, to wear a dark color. Nothing worse than stressing about sweating and that stress making you sweat.
h. The same rule we talked about with blouses applies for pants. If you want to wear a wider, looser pant, balance it with a fitted top. Vince makes amazing basics and these pants are a great option. I would tuck in whatever top you wear with it. Something simple like this would look great tucked in to them.
i. A slip dress is also a good option. If you wear one, pair it with a denim jacket or a longer blazer. It can be too much skin for camera on its own but there is something very relaxed and easy about a slip dress. This is my favorite, I wear it all the time.