What to Wear on Camera: The Guide

More and more, how you show up on video—whether it’s Zoom, Youtube, or Linkedin—determines if…

  • Your projects are greenlit
  • The hiring manager calls you back
  • The decision maker says yes

What you wear can help or hinder you. In this post, I’ll give you the do’s and don’ts of on-camera attire.

DO nail your message

Before you even think about attire, nail your message—your ideas, your words, and your delivery. Communication and persuasion are higher leverage than what you wear.

Good attire is a COMPLEMENT to a great message and a convincing delivery, NOT A REPLACEMENT. With that being said, let’s get into it…

DON’T wear vivid, stark whites

Bright whites can wash out your face if you’re light-skinned and create extreme contrast if you’re dark-skinned

A softer, gentler shade of white like the below works well:

DON’T wear deep blacks

These colors are not only harder to light, they cast shadows on skin that create an aging effect and make you look tired.

DON’T wear clothing that matches your skin tone

This will catch someone’s eye, but probably not in the way you want.

DO wear solid colors

Solid colors are simple and timeless. And they won’t look dated years from now.

DON’T wear clothing with text, logos, or loud graphics

An exception (sometimes): when the logo is yours or your company’s.

DO wear colors that contrast with your background

Without contrast, you blend into the background and look like a floating head.

With contrast, you get a nicely balanced composition.

Contrasting the shirt color with the wall color makes helps separate you from the background

DON’T wear heavy, thick fabrics

Camera lighting elevates room temp. Combine that with heavy fabrics and you might start sweating, which isn’t a great look.

This gent looks fantastic but I bet he’s feeling a little warm:

DON’T wear wrinkly clothing

DON’T wear complex patterns

Stay away from plaids, stripes, herringbones, and checks.

Busy patterns are distracting and can pose technical difficulties.

DON’T wear vertical stripes

…unless you’re going for an acid trip aesthetic.

This is called the Moiré Effect and it arises when lines rendered in pixels clash with parallel lines in clothing patterns

DON’T wear a bright white undershirt

It can show through your shirt when the lighting is really strong.

Go with no undershirt, a v-neck, or a more muted color.


DO wear clothes that are comfortable

Comfortable clothes put you at ease. When you’re at ease, you’re confident.

Confidence makes or breaks your performance on camera, and knowing you’re wearing the right clothes is an instant confidence boost.