Did you know that you only have nine seconds to make a good first impression? Within nine seconds of seeing you, a person will decide if you're trustworthy, approachable, or intelligent. I don't tell you this to make you anxious. I want to empower you. Before you even say a word, you can send a message to your audience. This is especially important for those of you who may be giving presentations, promoting your projects on television, or delivering a TED talk. What you wear matters. I'm here to help you create an image that enhances your message rather than distract from it. Read on below for my practical advice when dressing for your next media appearance.
Research the Background
My note when outlining this blog said "Don't be a floating head!" This sums up my first suggestion well. Research the background. Are you going on a morning talk show where the background is all blue? Are you giving a speech in front of a black background? In either of those cases, you need to wear something that stands out from the background to avoid looking like a floating head on camera. An ensemble that is white, red, or yellow would work well in both of those instances.
Consider Your Audience
When you do a media appearance, or give a presentation, who is the primary audience? Are talking to kids? corporate clients? moms? teens? You want to wear something that communicates relatability while simultaneously positioning yourself as an expert. For example, if you're a creative speaking to room full of corporate clients, this might mean wearing something like a colorful dress, statement earrings, nude heels, and a cropped blazer. The colorful outfit expresses your artistic nature, while the blazer lends authority to your look.
Do a Flash Test
Whether it's a stage, a YouTube set, or a television studio, bright lights can make otherwise fine tops transparent. Do a flash test with your phone (and a trusted friend) to see how sheer your tops and bottom might be under harsh studio lighting. Unfortunately, wearing proper undergarments doesn't solve this problem. You need an outfit that is undoubtedly opaque.
Fit and Flatter Your Body
Always remember that no one can see the size on your tag. We all look better, slimmer, healthier, and happier in clothing that actually fits. Don't squeeze into a too-small size or hide yourself in a tent. If you can't breathe, or you could fit a whole other person in there, it's not the right outfit for you. If you want to take things a step further, visit my post on how to look thinner with clothes.
Don't Distract from Your Message
If you're speaking to a room full of business leaders about how to maximize profitability and all anyone wants to talk about afterwards is where you got your shoes, that can be a problem. When you consider your audience, your message, and your desired outcome, and align your outward presentation to match your intentions, you can avoid these distractions.
Outsource the Process
The most successful people in the world are great outsourcers. If shopping and getting dressed are not tasks you enjoy, consider hiring help. A personal stylist can help you create outfits with confidence. If you're in San Diego, I offer photo shoot styling, which is perfect for clients who need help getting dressed for a media appearance. Of course, I also offer virtual styling for clients outside of San Diego. Visit the Work With Me page to learn more.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My style blog features practical fashion advice for women everywhere. Addicted to blazers since 2004.