4 Style Mistakes To Avoid for On-Camera Success

As the face of your small business you know your style speaks volumes, from your profile photo to how you walk into a client meeting. You are your brand. When it comes to what to wear for video – whether on your YouTube channel, speaking at a conference or being interviewed on national news – putting your best look forward includes a few unique traps & tricks.

Here are four things to consider when choosing your on-camera attire:

face-of-business1. Aim for Flawless Fit: In daily life we’re moving about in our clothes, passing people on the street, on the go. Movement can cover imperfections. But when you’re sitting static in an interview chair or the sole figure standing before us for half an hour, the pulling buttons of your slightly-too-small shirt become much more noticeable. Look like the million bucks your company is worth. That means well-tailored shapes which convey both confidence — not hiding in clothes that are too baggy — & impeccable professionalism.

Safest Bet: A great suit or dress.

2. Wow from the Waist up: If you’re going to be waist-up for an interview via Skype or giving a presentation on the Today Show from behind a kitchen counter, you can’t rely on your pencil skirt to balance out a fluffy sweater. In addition to a flattering shape up top, remember that without smart shoes or a patterned skirt, it falls to a necklace or pocket square to add remarkable detail that nods to your brand whether that’s whimsical, preppy or organic. And if you will be seated where we can see, do so in front of a full-length mirror at home to see how those trousers bunch when you do.

Safest Bet: A short chunky gold necklace or a tie with medium to thick stripes/checks/plaid.

3. Know Thy Audience: Each April I’m on stage at a very conservative event. I know not to wear a strapless dress or anything much above the knee. Think about this specific audience & what would appeal to them or turn them off. If you’ll be opposite an interviewer, consider their style tastes too. Make sure you dress to connect with them, while absolutely staying true to your brand. While I may have conservative hemlines, my bold jewelry & bright shoes speak to my not-too-buttoned-up style.

Safest Bet: More conservative or more dressy will never look disrespectful.

Photo credit: Dawn Allynn

Photo credit: Dawn Allynn

4. Harmonize With Your Background: If you’re headed onto a talk show, consider what their background looks like. If it’s very dark & you show up in a black suit, you might well disappear. If it’s splashed about with color & you arrive in a loud floral dress, your words might get lost in the chaos. Take a look at past presenters to see what they wore that looked fabulous & inquire with your contact if the stage will be the same. If it’s your own YouTube channel, consider painting a wall or using a photography backdrop that compliments the main colors you tend to wear.

Safest Bet: A solid jewel tone color like royal blue, emerald, plum.

Whether you’re filming in your home office or a fancy studio, the same rules apply. Be true to your brand, show up as the best version of yourself & always look like the CEO of the million-dollar empire you’re on your way to running.

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hilary-rushfordHilary Rushford the founder of Dean Street Society where she works as a personal stylist for "real people with real budgets", editorial stylist on photo shoots for emerging to luxury brands, & on-camera style host. Her online course "Style & Styleability" starts this Sunday, January 20th & runs for four weeks, helping busy individuals get clear, creative & confident in how they're showing up in the world from first dates to final interviews to flourishing empires. You can find her tweeting daily from home sweet Brooklyn, NY.


  1. Thanks Hilary. I’m just starting out in video, and styling can be particularly hard! Thanks for these little nuggets

  2. LKR Thanks for doing a post on style mistakes to avoid on camera. This makes total sense & can make a huge difference when it comes to developing customers for your business. Presentation skills are so important especially on camera. Working with creatives, I’m so passionate about this. You have to remember that only 7% of what’s said is remembered too, which means that the rest is visual. Things like your branding colours are a good addition to add to your outfit as having this synchronicity creates trust, which again is good for business. I wrote a blog on how to video blog like an expert here if your readers are interested: http://jane-frankland.com/how-to-video-blog-like-an-expert/

  3. I agree with many of these tips, but some I find less important. Of course, everyone has different goals, but I dress like a hoodlum in most of my videos and still attract quite a few people without a single negative comment about my attire.

    The setting does play a big part, and contrast and cleanliness is important for sure.

    Thank you for the tips!
    -Gabe Johansson

  4. Sukie Baxter says:

    Thanks for these tips, Hillary! Always good to know how to look your best on camera, and since I’m moving into doing lots more video now, it’s especially important.

  5. Paul Clifford (@PaulAlanClif) says:

    One thing. I’m a videographer. Tight patterns are sometimes problematic on camera. Houndstooth and stripes sometimes cause a wavy look on screen. Red sometimes bleeds, too so watch out for that.


  6. Elizabeth Cottrell says:

    Thanknyiubfor reminding us that a few simple and easy things can make a huge difference in a video or TV appearance.