What Do I Wear?
Dress For Your Part
You want to look the part. Business casual rules in many offices today, but not all. Don’t look out of place. You should dress as if you are attending a meeting in your industry. For attorneys, dress for court. If you are in insurance, this may mean a blazer without a tie. If you work at Google or Apple, you can dress pretty comfortable for your headshot. Now that you’ve decided on the level of formality needed, bring an item or two a little more, and a little less, formal than you need. You may decide you need something a little different to complete your look. Stay flexible.
If you, and your associates, wear a coat and tie when attending meetings then you should bring a selection of coat/tie/shirt combinations. Several suit coats, blazers, and/or sport coats should be hanging in your suit bag. The collars should lay flat and be in great shape. Make sure your coats fit. You’re going for a stylish, tailored look in your headshot. At least one coat should be solid, and any with patterns should be subdued. Your clothes should be your supporting cast, not the other way around.
Your ties should not compete for attention. Solids, or conservation, repeating patterns are best. Love stripes? A conservative rep pattern usually works. Bring more ties than you think you need. I recommend five or more. Get a good dimple in your tie, it ads a touch of style and confidence.
Like your ties, your shirts shouldn’t compete for attention. Avoid bold colors and prints. You won’t go wrong with solids. Colored shirts work in today’s workplace (even FBI Special Agents don’t wear white all the time), but keep them muted. Make sure your shirts fit as if tailored for you. The collars should touch your neck without causing skin to bulge over the collar itself. Dan, a Canadian colleague, reminds his clients that just as baggy clothes don’t work, excessively tight clothing won’t bring out your best either. The shirt collar should be in great condition, and the shirt should be pressed. A tailored or fitted shirt will look best. Bring several shirts.
Women should generally adhere to the men’s suggestions when it comes to prints, colors, and collars. If you decide to wear a coat or blazer, make sure it is fitted and doesn’t add bulk. Women can get away with more color in a shirt or blouse, but make sure it compliments your skin tone. Also, make sure the colors aren’t so bold as to draw attention away from your face. Jewelry, if any is worn, should be unassuming. I recommend stud earrings. If you feel you must wear a necklace, something with structure, such as a single strand of pearls, should be worn.
Everything previously stated in the Business section applies, with a few differences. Men don’t necessarily need ties. Blazers and sport coats are usually worn with business casual attire, but you may elect to go without. Bring the coats and then decide. Since the coat may not be worn, shirts and blouses must be pressed when appropriate, and wrinkle free. The fit of a shirt or blouse is extremely important, as a coat may not be worn. Women often wear blouses without collars in a business casual setting. However, for a headshot a collared shirt is more appropriate. Sheer, or lace, blouses and collars should be avoided. Even with a camisole underneath they are busy and often distracting. Your jewelry should be understated, just as in the business dress headshot.
This is often the choice of actors, bloggers, and artists. The colors and patterns suggestions previously stated still apply. Women look great in sweaters, and I am a fan of sweaters with some bulk at the collar, such as turtle necks and scoop necks. Tee shirts and lighter blouses work for men and women, but the collars should be in excellent condition and logos or other writing should generally be avoided. Tank tops look good for women. Casual headshots are a good place for a layered look, such as a tank top with a jean shirt for women. A light jacket with a tee looks good for men. Jewelry should be understated, as above. However, if you have a necklace or earrings you feel should be in your headshot, the casual headshot is the place to go for it.
If you feel you may want a particular piece of clothing, then bring it. Don’t worry about bringing too much. Make it look like you’re moving in if you’d like! Hang your clothes to keep them wrinkle free in transit. If you wear glasses, bring every pair you own. If you have questions, check the FAQ page, or just ask.