I have a friend who always says that if you have a body and you’re on the beach, then you have a beach body. Taking this sound logic and applying it elsewhere, I propose that if you’re livestreaming and you’re wearing clothes, you’re wearing livestreaming clothes.
This is important to keep in mind as we talk about what to wear for a live video. Part of the fun of a live video — part of what makes it so compelling to viewers — is its inevitable spontaneity. That's why Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and beyond are seeing so much engagement with live content. Even if you’ve planned your live video or you have a set structure for your show, there’s always an element of spontaneity simply because the production is happening in real time. It feels much more like a glimpse into real life than a prerecorded video does. And to retain this real-life-ness, I’d advise all livestreamers not to let uncertainty about your clothes prevent you from going live. Whatever you’re wearing (provided you’re wearing something, please) is fine.
With that said, if you want help choosing something to wear, here are some guidelines about what tends to work well on camera. But, hey, if you love your Mickey Mouse shirt and really want to stream in that, don’t let this post stop you.
Five basic tips for on-camera clothing
Avoid competing graphics
Whether you’re representing an organization or yourself, help your audience focus on your message by avoiding other brands’ logos, graphics, and text. Some logos are so small or so ubiquitous that they’re barely noticeable, in which case this is less of a concern. But in general, shy away from obvious branding, artwork, and graphic tees. Simplicity goes a long way.
Stick with solids
In the same vein, it’s typically a good idea to opt for solids over patterns and prints when you’re going to be on camera. Prints can be distracting, and patterns don’t always show up well on camera. (Surely we’ve all seen the dizzying wiggle effect created by a striped tie.) Additionally, print and pattern trends come and go quickly, which means solid-color clothing takes longer to look dated. So if you’re creating something you’d like to serve as evergreen content after a stream, solids can give you a longer shelf life on your videos.
Contrast your background
Unless you want to look like a floating head, choose a shirt that contrasts the color of your background. We also discussed this in our blog post on designing a set for your live videos. If your background is light, wear a darker color, and vice versa. In general, avoid stark white and black because they can wash you out or cast unnecessary shadows, respectively. A deeply saturated color that contrasts the color of your background, on the other hand, not only flatters but also helps you pop on-screen.
Consider a collar
A collared shirt works well for a number of reasons. First, it gives you a place to clip a lapel mic to capture direct sound. Second, it lengthens the neck when buttoned at a flattering point. And, third, it gives you low-key polished air, perfect whether you need to look professional or just put-together.
Go for comfort
Last but not least, take your comfort into consideration. Even if something looks great on camera, it’s not a good idea to stream in it if you’re going to be miserably uncomfortable or sweating like crazy. For this reason, avoid wearing something brand new for a livestream, opting instead for something tried and true. And, by all means, if only your upper body will be on camera, wear sweats for pants if you want. But do wear pants, people. Remember, you never know what can happen when you’re streaming live.
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About the Author
As Switcher's content strategy manager, Kate strives to answer the questions of new and expert livestreamers alike. She has spent her career in digital marketing and content strategy and now funnels that experience into helping others plan and create their own video content.All posts by Kate Brannen Smith