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    Lessons from TV

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | April 5, 2008

    This is what I have learned over the last few weeks re television/video appearances.

    You do not dress for television the way you would dress in real life (or at least I don’t).

    For women, wear bright (but not too bright) solid colored tops: Royal blue, wine, maroon, emerald green. Pastels can be good (but not on me, my friends have discovered). You want to avoid stripes, dots, any of those crazy 1960s’ patterns. Blacks are bad, because it looks flat (and doubly bad for me too because my hair is black). White are bad, because it can cause this moiré kind of effect on screen. And certain bright reds are bad because they bleed on the screen.

    When I got the email advising not to wear black, white or red I was like, “That’s 90 percent of my wardrobe!” So my friend Tomoko took me on a last minute shopping trip to Uniqlo/Banana Republic before my Colbert appearance. As she put it, Jenny is good at many things, but shopping is not one of them.

    So everything I wear on TV you will note is blue, that is because this color looks good on me. Maroon/wine also looks good on me, but it is not “in” this season so we could not find it. However royal blue is in season, so my wardrobe is now black, white, red and royal blue.

    Re: textures. Nothing too shiny or reflective. Stretchy lycra, for example, not good. And that acetate stuff not good either. Basically form-fitting cotton/wool/cashmere sweaters where the design is in how the sweater is cut itself is a good safe choice.

    Anything that is mildly distracting in real life is going to be doubly distracting on television (weird collars, lacy stuff).

    Yes, you do want to make your hair poofy. This is unfortunate, but it really does make you look better on TV. Flat hair (my hair is very flat) looks doubly flat on camera and television. Off camera
    For some reason, people with big heads come off better on television. In real life this seems slightly unnatural or Texan, but it is okay.

    - Wearing a two piece outfit is better because they often want to put a lavaliere mic (I always want to spell the abbreviation “mike” because “mic” looks like it should be pronounced “mick.”) on you, and you can clip it on your pants/skirt. I’m always kind of curious how on Letterman or whatever the movie stars come out in those stunning dresses. I’m like, are they lav’ed up? Or is it an overhead mic?

    This brings me to my next point: If you are a woman, you want to wear a camisole under your top, because the microphone people are often sticking their hands up your shirt. Camisoles make this less awkward for everyone.

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    Topics: Media & Interviews, Journalism Musings, Book Musings |

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