There’s no one way to dress effectively for a TV media interview. It’s just common sense that appropriate clothing differs for a fitness expert and a business person.

The point you need to remember is that whatever you wear, it should reinforce your overall message. If you want to be taken seriously as an economist or CEO, you need to dress the part.

So if you’re striving for an image as a business leader, here are 7 fashion faux pas you’ll want to avoid in your next TV media interview.

#1 Don’t blend into the background

If you’re unfamiliar with the television program for your next media interview, call them ahead of time to find out their set colour. Wear a contrasting colour to ensure you’re seen and heard. If the set is blue, and you decide to wear blue, you’ll blend right in.

#2 Avoid stripes and checks

High-definition television means all colours look good on TV. The challenge is some people will watch your TV interview on their non-HD computer screen. Stripes, checks, paisley and herringbone patterns will literally dance across their screen, distracting attention away from you and your point of view.

So continue to avoid complicated patterns that make viewers go a little cross-eyed.

#3 Ill-fitting garments make you look sloppy

I know it’s an obvious point. But have you looked around at your managers and senior executives lately? How many of them are dressed well and professionally?

That’s what I thought.

So take this point to heart and make sure your clothes fit.

#4 Unless you’re a gangster, don’t wear a dark suit, dark tie and dark shirt

A dark suit is a good choice, just wear a light shirt underneath.

And speaking of colours, you should also avoid red and white (not white shirts, but a white suit or dress) in a TV media interview. They don’t look good on those non-HD computer screens.

Wearing a lot of white also washes you out (unless it’s worn under a jacket).

Pastel colours are flattering, but can make you appear weak or soft. So if you’re a business woman step it up a notch with darker colours.

#4 Don’t avoid make-up

Even guys should wear make-up. It’s hot under the lights on a TV set and most people sweat. A bit of powder will make you look cool as a cucumber—which of course you are, just sitting there calmly answering Wendy Mesley’s tough questions.

Just make sure the make-up is the same colour as your skin tone, not lighter or darker. Some experts also suggest that bald men powder the top of their head so it doesn’t shine.

#6 Save the dangly jewelry for the week-end

Women should avoid dangly or flashy jewelry in a TV interview. I’ve got nothing against jewelry, but dangly earrings reflect the light as your head moves, taking the viewer’s attention away from your points. Other dangly jewelry could jangle, making a noise that will be picked up by the microphone.

In the same vein, wear one ring per hand and avoid big bracelets.

#7 Avoid cleavage, short skirts and short pants

A TV media interview is definitely not the place for low-cut tops and short skirts.

It’s also not advisable for men to show any leg either, so make sure your pants are the right length. And wear knee-high socks so a patch of leg doesn’t show between your socks and the bottom of your pants when seated.

#8 Bonus tip from Dennis Rodman

For those who are visual learners, check out this interview from ABC “This Week” where Dennis Rodman discusses his recent trip to North Korea (just fast forward to 1:00 to get to the good stuff).

The interview is disturbing on so many levels. But speaking strictly from a wardrobe perspective the jacket, the multiple piercings, the dark glasses, the earrings: they’re all wrong, wrong, wrong (unless you’re an eccentric basketball player).



Written by Shelley Pringle