What to Wear? What to Wear? – Casual Dress

As with the headshot industry, what one wears to an audition is another changing landscape an actor strolls upon and should be a question revisited frequently. But, for our purposes today (August 27th, 2009) we’ll focus on what’s appropriate now.
I received a few calls this week for on-camera, commercial auditions. The character description – as per usual – was vague, vague, vague. What’s more, the dress for said characters was noted as “casual”. Oh, vague-ty! How I hate thee!! So, of course, being a bit of a fashion victim, a few of the many questions that popped into my head were these:- Casual as in what I wear to hang around my house?- Casual as in, what I’d wear on a third date (that’s a little joke for UCB students who studied with Gill Ozeri) – whatever that means?- Casual as in what I might wear to casual-day at work if I worked in a corporate environment?- Casual as in the Gap or J Crew?- Casual as in boring??
Sheesh!
But, its really VERY simple.Casual-wear for commercial auditions sake is an outfit that you’d wear if you wanted to look nice, but wanted to be comfortable. For example, I wore a nice top from Anthropologie which was light on the print and a lovely blue (remember that a good color can take you from drab/bleh to “hello there!” – wow. that was lame..) and a good pair of jeans and cute shoes. Something I’d wear on a normal day. The most important thing at an audition is to look your best. The last thing you want to do is show up like you just got back from a long trip around Asia in a pair of khaki shorts and a tshirt with your baseball cap and sneakers on (I’ve see this before!). I’d only wear something like that if it was in the specific character description, but even so, if you’re asked to dress like that, wash your hair at least! And don’t go to the other absurd side of the scale and dress like you’re in a wedding. Overall, commercial CD’s prefer it if you’re simple. I once saw a girl at a Halls audition dressed in a pajama one-sy carrying a giant stuffed toy. Needless to say the CD almost spontaneously combusted. But it was kinda funny..
Here’s a couple of examples thanks to The Sartorialist
Casual Ladies
Casual Mens

Post Scripts:For the ladies, a little make-up never hurt anyone. Especially for those on-camera auditions. Now I’m not talking about caking it on, but take a note out of Nixon’s book who apparently put up a fuss about wearing a little base before going on camera to debate with JFK. His sweaty, pallid look may have cost him the US vote which was in his favor whilst he was debating via radio broadcast. But after that first TV rumble the vote suddenly swung pro-JFK (who did wear makeup). Of course there was WAY more to that election, but you get my point.
For the guys, grooming is the key. Don’t think that just ‘cos you’re a guy that it doesn’t matter how you look. If you’re going in for a job like Wendy’s or something all-american, be prepared to shave off that 9 o’clock stubble and loose that trendy bracelet unless you want to pigeon-hole yourself as a dirty-hipster**. Which is totally up to you. I’m all for standing out and embracing your “type” but it does come at a bit of a cost. Don’t worry about makeup unless you’ve got a big zit on your nose, in which case I’d recommend a little cover-up so the producers don’t barf.
** (thanks Robbie for sharing your story with me! You are by no means a dirty hipster : D)

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About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York. www.angeladee.com

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