Guest Blog: How To Style Yourself For A Media Appearance And Kill It.

 In Guest Blog Posts, Tips & Tricks

You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Especially if you are the founder of a small business or the spokesperson for a brand. In fact, if you are lucky enough to have one of these roles, odds are you can expect to appear on television, in a video, or in front of a live audience at some point. And there is no getting around the fact that physical appearance plays a critical role in your message in any of these settings.

While most television appearances last just a few minutes, or seconds, you still don’t want your physical appearance to distract viewers.

Rather, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind as you prep for your on-air appearance.

Stay True To Your Brand

The first is to stay true to your brand. How? By looking congruent with it. If you’re representing a cutting-edge fashion house, don’t dress like you just finished up your workout. Likewise, if you’re scheduled to demo the latest workout trend, it’s probably best not to rock four-inch heels.

Second, make sure you look like yourself. With minor adjustments to accommodate for the bright lights and camera lenses, of course. If you’re comfortable with your appearance, you will successfully radiate the self-confidence that will underscore your message.

As a rule of thumb, your wardrobe, hair, and makeup should be simple and understated. Primarily so they don’t distract from the most expressive part of your face, which is your eyes, from your words.

Because being on-air or live in front of an audience can feel so daunting, we wanted to share with you our tried-and-true preparation style tips for media interviews and public appearances.

Hopefully, these will give you a few less things to worry about during your first or next media appearance on television, video, or stage.

What Should You Wear?

When dressing for television, wear plain colors and patterns that don’t moray. Why? Because solid colors convey more authority and sophistication than any print can. However, not all solids are created equal.

media appearance


  • Wear pastels. Pastels are always flattering on screen.
  • Wear bright colors. Thanks to the goodness that is high definition, there are no longer any colors that are not HD TV-friendly.
  • Have fallback colors. You can’t go wrong with most grays, blues, or brown-based earth tones.
  • Choose a high-color contrast, it will make you look sharper and more authoritative than a straight monochromatic look will.
  • Wear a V-neck or scoop neck top. They are most flattering on all body shapes and will appear best on-air. Plus, they also help the production staff on helping to place your microphone.
  • Opt for choose or smooth textured apparel. It shows up better in HD.
  • Double-check that your clothes are spot-free. Prior to going on air or in front of a camera, dust off your shoulders or use a lint roller, in case there’s any chance they may be adorned with dandruff or a stray hair. Especially if you are wearing a dark color.
  • Dress comfortably. When you’re more comfortable, you’re more confident.


  • Avoid red, black, or white. These are great for non-HD videos.
  • Wear pastels if you are delivering news in a more hard-edged field, such as law or finance.
  • Wear prints! Avoid patterns such as stripes, checks, and polka dots, all of which can appear to vibrate or shimmer on television.
  • Match the on-air set you are speaking in front of—a blue dress on a show with a blue backdrop, for instance.
  • Wear a low-cut top or one that requires fabric tape. If you think it may be too low, it’s not meant to be worn on air.
  • Play with textures. They are distracting when you’re filming in HD.
  • Forget to dust off your shoulders before going on air. Stray hairs or specs of dust show up ten times worse on camera.
  • Dress in something that makes you feel uncomfortable or that you are tugging at.

media appearance

My Hair?

A friend who works the news desk once described how to wear your hair on TV best when she told me that your face is the picture and your hair is the frame. Meaning, your hair should flatter your best features without drawing any attention to itself.


  • Keep your hairstyle simple.
  • Keep your hair at least three-quarters of an inch away from your eyes, to make up for any shadows caused by lighting.
  • Make sure your locks aren’t one entire patch of monotone color, if you color your hair. Ask your stylist to use a few varying-colored highlights to make your hair color look more natural.


  • Style your hair in a manner that makes your locks the star of the show and draws attention away from the reason you are on camera.
  • Leave your hair one entire patch of monotone color, if you color your hair. It will not show up flattering on TV.
  • Get a haircut or new hairstyle the day before you go on camera. It’s always better to wait a few days so you’re comfortable with your style for it to appear more natural.

media appearance

What Makeup Should You Use?

Unless you are going on camera to do a “how-to apply it” tutorial, makeup has only one real media-related purpose: to enhance your natural beauty. For this reason, makeup should maximize your good features and subtly diminish any areas you identify as a problem. To come across best on screen, your makeup should be an understatement.


  • Keep your makeup simple and minimal to maximize your good features.
  • Wear makeup, even if you’re a man. The bright lights and powerful camera lenses cast unflattering shadows and expose the tiniest of imperfections.
  • Plan on doing your own makeup or hiring a professional. Most media outlets no longer employ makeup artists for guests.
  • Pay attention to your skin so it looks dewy, fresh, and clean.
  • Fix all the shadows underneath your eyes so you look awake and bright-eyed.
  • Use powder. Cameras and lights, coupled with nerves, have a great way of making a person appear shiny and oily.
  • Make sure your foundation has a natural finish and perfectly matches your skin tone.
  • Stick with eyeliners and mascara that are brown hues rather than blacks and grays.
  • Choose a soft, natural shade of eye shadow and blend it well.
  • Select a lipstick shade that is similar to the color of the inside of your mouth.
  • Make sure your nails are camera-ready. The best nail polish shades are clear, pale pink-toned, or deep red.


  • Make your makeup the main attraction. Like your hair, it should not distract from the real reason you are on camera.
  • Use moisturizer on your face before your on-camera appearance. Being shiny doesn’t look good on anyone.
  • Use a foundation or bronzer that has a shimmer effect.
  • Forget to take great care to blend your makeup to avoid foundation lines.
  • Opt for a smoky eye as it’s not flattering on most cameras.
  • Choose a bright or trendy lipstick shade.
  • Use gloss, as its shine will cause camera glare.
  • Wear bright, trendy, or nail art-heavy manicures during your interview.

Tip: You can also try some of our favorite everyday makeup products or a quick five-minute face when you don’t have time in the morning. 

Before your first (or next media) interview, use the helpful tips above and we guarantee you’ll leave the audience convinced you’re a media darling.


KJ Blattenbauer is a public relations professional who is passionate about promoting women-owned small business and brands. She is the founder of Hearsay, a public relations agency, and vieve and jo, a dress line launching in early 2018. KJ also blogs at Girl About Town.

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