What to Wear for your Audition Part 1

Posted May 18, 2011

Your phone beeps!  It’s a text from Azalea!  You have an audition!  Once the excitement of the opportunity calms down comes the dreaded thought, “What should I wear!?!”

Many things play a role (no pun intended) in a client’s impression of you, not the least of which is your outfit.  As an agent, I always try to get feedback from the casting director or client about the part they are casting and see if I can get a sense for the style you should wear.  Usually the feedback is pretty general.  I hear “business casual” and “nice casual” more often than not, but sometimes I get “business”, “upscale casual” and “farmer”.

I’m not kidding about that last one.  I went back through my notes and these were the top five wardrobe descriptions given by clients in the past year.  I guess we can’t fight the Midwest, huh?

I’ll break down what each of these looks means for you, but before I do here are a few general wardrobe guidelines.

  • Always dress to impress.  The client is casting an ideal version of a person or type.  Polished and a little bit nicer than what you first think is always the right path.  A client can visualize dressing your more casually, but it’s harder for them to see you more pulled together than what you present.
  • Don’t wear a costume.  Your clothes need to support you and your acting skills, not steal the spotlight.  If you can’t make leather pants look like a natural choice, head back to the closet and try again.  Keep it simple.  Your outfit does not need extra bling, buttons, zippers, ruffles, or bows.  Sleek and simple always looks more sophisticated.
  • Splurge on the right shirt.  Find a shirt with the perfect cut in the perfect color and save it for castings.  Make it your go-to audition look and save yourself the headache of wondering “what should I wear?”  Wear it to every audition.  I promise that casting directors will praise your professional thought behind this and the variety of clients you see only occasionally won’t mind.  In fact, it can help a client remember you from one casting to another if they always see you in that sunshiny yellow color.
  • Stay away from blue.  The major casting directors in town shoot against a blue backdrop.  If you are wearing the same color, you’ll blend right in.  This always seems to be harder for my guys than it is for the ladies.  Every man I know has that blue oxford shirt that they default to when pressed.  Don’t do it.  Be bold.  Try something new.
  • Jeans and sneakers are for weekends.  Put your best foot forward in a good pair of shoes.  Make sure the leg attached to the foot is wearing nice khakis, slacks or a cute skirt.  Your clothes should always look freshly pressed and fit well.  Unless you are specifically told that the client wants jeans and sneakers NEVER show up in an outfit that could also be worn for gardening.
  • Solids are best.  Stripes and prints don’t read as well on camera and words or large logos are never acceptable.
  • Keep notes.  If you do switch up your look, keep track of what you wore to which audition.  A talent who dresses well for the casting will nearly always be asked to bring their audition look to the final job.  You may also be asked to do a second or callback audition.  You should always wear the same outfit to a followup casting so the client can keep a clear vision of you in their mind.  If you don’t know what you wore to that audition from a week ago last Tuesday, you are going to have a hard time keeping your continuity.

Tomorrow I’ll give you examples of each of the most requested looks.  Check back for Part 2 of What to Wear for your Audition!