What to Wear for Headshots

By Vijay Singh Katri
March 11, 2024
#Headshot#Professional headshot
Should I smile in my headshot (11) 11zon

"You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it." -Edith Head

Edith didn't have to exert herself, but understanding professional attire is essential. In any industry, professional headshots serve as crucial first impressions. Whether you're a manager aiming for a director position or an aspiring actor seeking your breakthrough, clothing choice in headshots significantly influences selection.

Key Highlights:

  • Dressing appropriately for headshots is crucial for making a positive first impression in any industry.

  • Suits, ties, plain shirts, and solid colors are recommended for a polished and authoritative appearance.

  • Darker shades like blue, brown, and maroon complement suits well, while solid colors are preferred over patterns.

  • To maintain professionalism, avoid worn-out clothing, flashy jewelry, visible undershirts, and sloppy collars.

  • Nude, peach, pink, berry, mauve, or classic red shades enhance facial expressions and add a professional touch to headshots.

Our blog highlights optimal clothing color combinations, offers comfort tips in formal wear, and provides do's and don'ts for women leaders. Let's get started!

What You Need To Wear For Professional Headshots



Wearing a suit exudes importance. Have you noticed how waiters pay extra attention to patrons in suits at restaurants? If not, we suggest trying it to witness reactions firsthand. A well-dressed man is perceived with higher status and social standing. Suits convey authority; they amplify your influence, reflected in your headshots



To complement your suit, it's essential to choose a tie that seamlessly enhances your overall appearance. In professional settings, ties are a common sight among individuals holding higher positions.

When selecting a tie for a headshot, there are key considerations to bear in mind. Firstly, opt for a tie that isn't overly shiny; excessively flashy ties can detract from your image. Secondly, avoid common service industry combinations, such as pairing a black tie with a white shirt. Instead, opt for darker shades of blue, brown, or maroon to maintain a sophisticated aesthetic.

Plain Shirts


When dressing for a headshot, remember that even though your shirt will likely be covered by a suit, it's no excuse for wearing a worn-out one underneath. Every garment you wear can be scrutinized by viewers, so it's essential to prioritize essentials like a plain shirt.

Therefore, we recommend opting for plain shirts in colors like white, cream, or even black if you're wearing a white formal suit. The key is to create contrast between your suit and shirt for a polished look.

Go For Solid Colors


Now that you understand the attire basics—suit, tie, and shirt—it's crucial to emphasize a key point applicable to all clothing choices for your headshot: opt for solid colors over patterns. Solid colors avoid distractions, enabling viewers to focus on your facial expression. If you prefer patterns, choose simple ones like wide stripes to avoid appearing flashy.

Best Color Combination For Headshot


Now that you're acquainted with what to wear, let's explore the ideal color combinations for your professional headshots.

Clothes Not To Wear For Headshots

We've shared what to wear and the best color combinations. However, it's also important to know what not to wear to avoid any confusion. Below are a few points to consider when dressing up for your headshot.

Worn-Out Clothing

Looking presentable in your headshots is essential, and worn-out clothes convey the opposite message. While you may have a favorite suit that's been a wardrobe staple, even the finest materials show signs of aging over time. This is especially true for knitted fabrics, which can fade and pill with each wash.

It's important to demonstrate that you're well-tailored and understand the importance of dressing for the occasion. Opt for clothes that have been recently dry-cleaned, as they're less likely to show signs of wear and tear.

Stick To Simple Jewelry

For women aspiring to excel in their industry, it's important to understand that flashy jewelry can detract from professionalism in headshots. The purpose of headshots is to highlight your natural features while minimizing distractions. Typically, headshots are closely cropped, emphasizing the face as the focal point. Therefore, jewelry should be used as a subtle enhancement to your attire.

Opt for metallic or gemstone studs for earrings, avoiding dangling styles like hoops that can tangle in your hair and create a disheveled appearance.

Don't Show Undershirt

Your neck plays a pivotal role as it resides directly below your face, the focal point of the entire headshot. Given that headshots are closely cropped, it's crucial to conceal any undershirt if opting for a tie-less, casual appearance.

No Sloppy Collars

In addition to concealing the undershirt, it's essential to ensure your collars are impeccably ironed and stiff. A limp collar can detract from your professionalism, undermining the impact of even the most carefully selected attire for your headshot. Neglecting collar stiffness could jeopardize your chances of securing the position you've worked diligently to attain.

Do Women Need To Wear Lipstick For Headshot?

Many women feel uncertain about choosing lipstick for their headshots. In truth, the selection process is simple: opt for nude, peach, pink, berry, mauve, or classic red shades. Lipstick adds a professional touch and enhances facial expressions in headshots. Even with a darker skin tone, these shades work well. The right lipstick shade accentuates your natural beauty and boosts confidence.

Wrapping Up

Here are a few essential steps mentioned above that will ensure you're perfectly dressed for your upcoming professional headshot. Before we conclude, consider the industry to determine the preferred colors for headshots. Additionally, for a standout appearance, don't hesitate to adopt a slightly non-traditional approach with your headshots to make them memorable.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to wear a suit for professional headshots?

While a suit exudes importance and authority, the key is to dress professionally according to your industry standards.

2. Can women wear lipstick for headshots?

Yes, lipstick enhances facial expressions and adds a professional touch. Opt for nude, peach, pink, berry, mauve, or classic red shades.

3. What jewelry should women avoid wearing in headshots?

Avoid flashy jewelry that can detract from professionalism. Opt for subtle enhancements like metallic or gemstone studs for earrings.

4. Should men wear ties for headshots?

Ties complement suits and are common in professional settings. Choose ties that are light and pair well with your attire.

5. How important is clothing color for headshots?

Clothing color can influence the mood and perception of your headshots. Opt for darker shades and solid colors for a polished and professional appearance.

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