Confident, Stunning, Hired!: Wardrobe Guide for Headshots and Auditions

What’s good for your headshot session is good for your auditions, almost without exception. The same basics apply. What wardrobe is most flattering on you, (and your skin tones) isn’t distracting, and conveys to the casting team your clear understanding of how they should hire you.

To that end, I always offer a wardrobe consultation before any shoot. I recommend bringing more options, rather than less to your shoot, as we’ll go though all your selections, and some things you might have thought were great, don’t make the cut. Having “plan B’s” is a good thing.

I suggest using clothing in rich, solid colors such as deep forest or olive green, as well as sky and royal blues, lavenders can look great on men and women. Oranges, if they ‘re the “right” kind, can be very flattering, particularly the “burnt” or deeper oranges. Even red can work, if it’s not a fluorescent fire engine red.

When coming to your shoot, or going to an audition, have clothing clean, and as wrinkle free as possible. Use a lint brush if you have animals.

For women, shooting a business look, a dark navy jacket looks fantastic with a cream, lavender or sky blue top. I recommend jackets in navy, browns, creams and tweeds, as long as the tweed pattern isn’t super strong. Velvets, satins, textures are all great.

If you plan to use jewelry, it needs to be absolutely minimal, simple, and non-distracting from what we’re here to show off, which is you.

If you want to shoot a look in glasses, please bring a lensless pair. Even with careful lighting, the glass or more likely plastic dulls your eyes, and can create distracting reflections. Many optometry shops will loan or rent you a pair very inexpensively. Glasses can be a great character enhancer, and it pays to get frames that look great on you and have no lenses.

Everyone should avoid turtlenecks, they do a great job of turning you into a floating head with no neck. Not the look we’re shooting for.

Scoop necks, V-neck and button down collars are all good choices. For guys, layers can really work for you: a T-shirt with collared shirt or hoodie over it; a light sweater layered with a bomber jacket can be killer looks. If wearing a necktie in some looks, please bring several options, coordinated with shirt and jacket.

Blacks and off whites in wardrobe can work as well on camera. A general notion for everyone is that the vibrant, rich colors work best. Then again, any color that you have been complimented on before, or feel good wearing would certainly be worth considering.

Colors that match and as a result, pop your eyes are excellent. Refrain from choosing clothing with strong patterns or logos, as this is distracting. Subtle stripes are fine, particularly if they’re going under a blazer, or for a business shirt-and-tie- look. Keep your casting first and foremost in mind, and the character range you are intending to covey.

Stand apart from the crowd by wearing rich and/or warmer colors. If you’re having trouble deciding what colors go best with your skin tone – consider which clothes have garnered you the most compliments.  If you’re unsure, hold up a shirt or jacket in front of a mirror, to see it against your skin.

If you’re a woman with blonde or light brown hair, it’s a good idea to bring at least one shirt or jacket that isn’t black, particularly for commercial looks. A large amount of black can wash your skin tones out and completely overpower you.

I’m specifically addressing shirts and jackets here, as that’s what’s most prominent in both a headshot, and an on-camera audition. Strong colors will stand out on camera, so choose them carefully, considering your skin tones, eye and hair color, and use them to your advantage!

If you’re uncertain about your choices, an excellent guide is to watch the current shows and films you want to be cast in. What are the actor’s wearing? Detective or psychologist, casual mom or career professional, a great deal of time and expertise goes into most wardrobe choices on screen. Get specific about your casting from a wardrobe perspective, the time invested will serve you well. If you have current representation, be sure to discuss your choices with them, make them earn their nickel!

Above all, wear clothing that both fits you, and is comfortable. New or old, bought for the shoot, or your old favorite that looks fantastic, everything you wear, right down to shoes we’ll never see, should be comfortable. Believe me, it shows in your shots.

Geoffrey Donne