What NOT to Wear for an Interview

Media Training Services

We live in an image driven society. We raise our kids not to “judge a book by its cover,” yet that is exactly what we do. We look at someone and make snap judgments before they even utter a word.

These judgments transfer to the TV screen as well. TV attire varies drastically depending on the venue. At the Oscars, stars are remembered for what they wore and not exactly what they said. While short skirts, plunging necklines, heavy make-up, and gaudy accessories fill our TV screens, it is distracting and not appropriate for a professional interview. A little knowledge about correct TV attire can help you be remembered for your message and not simply your clothing. This, of course, goes for YouTube videos as well.

It is important to note that the camera sees things differently from the natural eye. What normally looks good on you may be distracting through the lens. News anchors and movie stars have image consultants, makeup artists, and fashion designers. The rest of us have media training. And that training offers these basics when it comes to your appearance:


In your interview, you want people focused on your face and message, not your clothing.

  • Blues, grays, browns, pastels are camera friendly.
  • Avoid solid white, black, and red. These colors don’t react well under TV lights.
  • Steer clear of fine patterns such as herringbone, plaids, stripes, polka dots, and checkers. These patterns can dance and shimmer in a distracting manner.
  • Men should wear pants with a hemline long enough to prevent legs from showing when seated. Wear long, dark socks as well.
  • Women should avoid short skirts and plunging necklines. V-cut or scoop necklines are most flattering.


Keep accessories simple.

  • Avoid dangling earrings
  • Avoid anything that makes noise (beeping watches, clanging bracelets)
  • Avoid gaudy, shiny jewelry


Make-up is recommended for both men and women. Bright TV lights can create bad shadows and highlight imperfections.

  • Women should keep make-up simple and natural. Foundation and powder are important to not appear shiny. Avoid dark eyes and lip gloss.
  • For men, a simple powder that removes the shine may be sufficient. For bald/balding men, powder is sometimes necessary on the head.

Overall, your clothing should be simple and understated. Look your part, get a good night’s rest, and bring an extra outfit just in case your coffee spills.

60-80 percent of a message comes from non-verbal cues. Make sure you are sending the right signals!

Read more media training tips here.