In a world of social media and constant content sharing, you want to look your best for any expected—or unexpected—photo opportunities. Looking great in person doesn’t always translate to the screen, though. So how can you pick the best outfit that will accentuate your style in front of and behind the camera?
Solid or Pattern?
Generally solid colours are better for photographs, as they help to focus attention on your face and create a slimming effect. You will notice that celebrities often wear solid dresses or tops to create a more dramatic and sophisticated look. Blue and red tend to photograph the best as they are rich in colour and reflect light well.
Tonal outfits are trending and look great in pictures, like wearing a lighter blue blouse with darker blue pants. A solid-colour tonal outfit creates a cohesive, chic, and slimming appearance.
Although solid colours generally shoot better, bold prints have their place. If you have a pimple or a bad hair day, wearing a pattern will make you feel more confident and will naturally obscure any impurities. Choose vibrant prints that cover the entirety of the dress or blouse to create a slimming illusion; microprints or a scattered, pale design might wash you out or accentuate any blemishes.
Trendy or Classic?
If you know you will be taking photographs for a headshot or a school or business portrait, you will want to wear a classic outfit. You don’t want to look back on a senior portrait and say, “what was I thinking?” You want those big moments to look professional and timeless.
However, for everyday photographs—like spending time with friends or cheering at a sports bar—trendy pieces are recommended. Photographs link us to the past, so own it! In the future, you can look back at these pictures to see what you liked to wear and what was “in” at the time. It’s okay to say, “what was I thinking?” to casual photos in a fun trip down memory lane. Trendy pieces also make you stand out on your social media sites by exhibiting your fashion and style voice.
It is common to match your outfit with your surroundings. For example, if you’re at the beach, wear a shirt with palm trees or colourful flowers; if you’re at a concert, wear the name of the band’s T-shirt. This will create a memorable and cohesive picture that highlights your face amidst your surroundings.
Statement or Subdued?
Subdued colours do not show as well as vibrant ones in photos. Nevertheless, you don’t want to walk around wearing neon colours all the time to try to look good in your pictures. Instead, wear a neutral outfit and make a single colour statement. Choosing one statement piece helps draw the eye in photography—and in real life.
For example, if you want to draw attention to your face, wear a heavier necklace or earrings. If you want to draw attention to your waist, a big and bold belt. If you have light skin and dark hair, a red scarf will make your colouring pop. To go for an overall bolder look, wear a neutral outfit with a funky sweater or colourful shoes to attract the eye without overdoing it.
Coco Chanel always advised to look in the mirror and take one piece off before leaving the house. This will keep your look subdued and elegant while honing in on your statement piece.
Make of Clothing?
Luxury and high-quality clothing appear better in photographs than fast-fashion pieces. Luxury items tend to fit better and have more flattering cuts, which is accentuated through the camera lens. Similarly, high-quality fabrics and dyes come out sharper and clearer in photographs, helping to emphasise your best features.
Some companies even create products that make you look better in pictures. For example, the American company JBrand has a line of jeans made of “photo-ready” denim. These pants have special dyes that reflect flashes to create a slimming appearance. This is a growing trend alongside social media’s boom, so keep an eye out for it where you shop.
One Size Fits All?
Of course, the above tips are only guidelines. One size does not fit all. You want to wear clothing that is flattering for your specific body type. For example, vertical stripes generally give a longer and slimmer look, but if you have a long torso, you want to break up this length with belts and seam lines. Stick to fitted clothing over baggy, and heels and wedges accentuate leg muscles. Remember, though, if you are not used to wearing fitted clothing or heels—then don’t!
It’s important that you are comfortable in your clothes so you can look and feel confident and daring. Your smile lights up the camera, so wear what makes you feel good. Your clothes should accentuate who you are. If you feel beautiful, all cameras will be on you.