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Personal Style Blueprint

Robin's Blog about Men, Image and Style

Dressing for the Media:  Whoever said “the camera doesn’t lie” probably didn’t spend much time in front of one. I can tell you  first hand that when it comes to public speaking, a media appearance or company photo, what you wear everyday to the office, doesn’t always fly on film.

The camera does lie, or at least it has its own version of the truth.  The impression you set out to make – while you’re  reporting on your company’s earning or losses, promoting your new book or at a public speaking event – isn’t always the one the camera records. And it’s the camera that gets the last word.

Understanding how to dress for the camera is critical, both to your image and to your message. And it’s worth understanding because film is forever.

Here are few things to consider before you say “cheese”:


  • Dress for your message; the viewer needs to believe you.  For example, a pink shirt or tie and a desire for credibility don’t go together.  Likewise, an overly tailored look isn’t a wise choice for a CEO with stakeholder issues.


  • For the novice, solids colors work best, except for bright white, it may overpower you cause you to look tired and sallow.  Rule of thumb – don’t go whiter than the whites of your eyes.


  • Try to avoid the typical solid blue suit, white shirt and red tie, it has lost its power and has become cliché. Quite frankly, too many men (read politicians and CEO’s) have apologized in it.


  • Some say, go bright; I say, proceed with caution. Some bright colors do look great on camera, but for the novice, it’s risky. The wrong choice can cause a viewer to focus on the color and not on your words.


  • Wear closely fitted clothing. Anything too loose will look sloppy and oversized on camera and sends the wrong message.


  • Wear layers – such as a jacket, shirt and tie. It’s almost impossible to look credible and polished in just a shirt.


  • Men: If you’re seated for an interview, shorten your tie to prevent it from bunching up in your crotch.


  • Women: Accessories create focal points, consider a pin or brooch worn high on your lapel to keep the viewers eye from wandering (and wondering).


  • Dressing for the camera is a skill, so don’t be afraid to ask for professional help, so call me!


What’s the main thing to remember? What looks great in “real life” doesn’t always work for the camera. A tie that gets compliment after compliment at work might be a camera no-no. Or that classic button-down oxford you love so much, might backfire by producing a distracting roll under your collar. 


Before your appearance, take some time to consider how the camera will see you. Then, dress for the image you’d like to project.


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Robin Walker is a certified image consultant and Personal Branding Thrillist. In addition to Changing lives – One wardrobe at a time, Robin is frequently seen and heard sharing her insight on image and style in national media including, The Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise and MR. To learn more about how you can discover, redefine or maintain your style get your copy of the Image Boot Camp for Men. 

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