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Clothing for Artists

OK, this is probably a weird question, but here it goes-

I may be promoting my work on television in a few days, and I am
concerned about what I should wear.

Some personal info- I am a middle-aged man, 5’10", weight about 225
lbs, shaved head, fu-manchu. My preferred daily wear is worn blue
jeans and a t-shirt, but that is not what I want to appear in on TV.
I think the goal is to look at least vaguely artsy, no fashion
"don’ts," and to not alienate either the upper class or the working
class with my appearance.

Any observations or advice on what to wear when promoting one’s work
in the media?

This is taking place in Phoenix, AZ, where it is already edging up
towards the 100 degree mark during the day, so I must also factor
that in- I don’t want to be the well-dressed guy who is sweating
buckets under the spotlights.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

Hi Lee -

Some idea…- linen shirts are super breathable. Light colors are
better under the lights, as they reflect. For some reason I envision
you in a short sleeved button collared shirt (woven, not a polo
type) - and a pair of black or khaki colored linen trousers. I’m not
certain what you have in your closet, or what malls etc you have in
your area. But a light colored or subtle artsy print on a classic
men’s shirt, and a pair of classic trousers in a breathable fabric
might serve you well. Lightweight cotton and linen would probably be
best. Silks are hot and sweaty in my opinion. So are polyesters and
rayons. Some would disagree about rayon - it’s a chemically treated
cellulose, and can feel like nylon. There are stores at some malls
that cater to the person who travels in exotic areas. They sell
clothing that although synthetic, are breathable and wrinkle
resistant. I think one is called Travel Smith. They may have a web
site where you could see what I mean, It’s not all safari type
threads with epaulets. Some nice classic items. Check out your
closet and your local mall. Newer clothing, clean and pressed but not
starched. Shoes - I would avoid open toed sandals. but woven shoes
would look cool and confident. And a tad non conformist. : ) Drink
cool water before you go on, and avoid last minute rushing to avoid
perspiration nightmares. Sort of like an interview., if you can
arrive early to sit and cool off, sip cool water before you hit the

Just some ideas,. Hope you have a great time!

Mary Beth (fabric, fashion and gemstone buff)

Ok. Something I can actually help with here, having a little
experience - designing costumes for network television for @8 years
in my dim past.

So, Lee, pretty much just keep it simple. You’re a big guy, and,
from your description (head, Fu Manchu, etc.), I’d say you’ll be all
over the visual impact issue just by showing up. The lights are hot,
both physically and visually, yes. The studios are generally kept at
a temperature cold enough to keep meat , but sitting under those
lights can feel toasty if you’re there for any length of time. Also,
due to those lights, stay away from white, near white, most bright
colours, especially reds, as they tend to “bloom” (flair) in video.
Also - NO patterns. Really. Just don’t mess with them. Plaids,
stripes, whatever. They’re visually distracting, can veer way too
easily into the “dorky”, and can also produce an annoying visual
abberation called “strobing”. I’d say you could either stick with a
good pair of jeans, or perhaps a good-fitting pair of slacks, and,
may be a jacket or sportcoat - could be a classic or, perhaps, if it
works with your personal style and that of your art, you could opt
for a more Western-style image. You’re in AZ, after all. (and a
jacket will hide any embarassing, uh, dampness, if the heat of the
lights does get to you. As to what to wear under it - how about a
collar-band shirt or even a plain, dark t-shirt? T-shirts are your
uniform, anyway, and - quoting one of my favorite "Non Sequitor"
cartoons, “The Revelation that Inspires Students to Seek a Career in
the Arts: $$$ = Spending Your Life in Uncomfortable Clothes.”

One thing, though - DO make sure that what you wear FITS you well.
Well tailored, clean -fitting clothes go a loooong way to making one
look thinner regardless of shape, more polished, and more relaxed and
comfortable in your own skin, regardless of the style.

If you have the option, consider carrying your on-camera wardrobe
with you and changing into it after you arrive (early enough to allow
time for that, of course) - at least your shirt and jacket. That way,
you can sidestep the potential affects of 100+ - degree outside temps
and seatbelt creases.You might also want to address the potential
issue of light flair bouncing off your bald pate. Will they have a
make-up person there, or can you bring a bit of discreet powder with
you to cut the glare? No, I’m not kidding… and bring a clothes

And wear some of your jewelry, certainly. Here, again, simplicity
and solid colours are your friends, providing the appropriate
background to showcase your art - and your obvious laid-back

Ok? Ok…
Break a Leg!
Margery Epstein


I congratulate you for your post on this forum. In my eye, you are
couragous, and that alone will come through the camera.

One suggestion is to go to a nice “hip” sort of shop, find a sales
person, preferably a guy, and tell him exactly what you have told
us. My feeling would be to wear something that is light,
comfortable and will show off the jewelry I know you are going to
wear. There are even shirts that are black, which are very light
and comfy. This is your moment to shine in the light, and to market
yourself as a maker. Even a light sportscoat with a great piece of
lapel jewelry will stand right out.

Before shopping though, go to the video store and rent the first
season of Queer Eye for Straight Guy. Even my wonderful geek
husband has picked up a few fashion tips!

It’s a great show. These guys really bring out the best in straight

You go guy!

Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio

I too am a large man, I would probably wear some new or new-wish
jeans with a good looking “golf” shirt, casual but natural not
putting on “airs” , more like a golf pro not a banker or accountant.
But your always better off if you feel natural you’ll come off on TV
as calm and self assured professional. Also, call the station /
producer for their advise?

My production experience, is radio, yet level clothes make a better
voice, I’ve worn a shirt, tie and suit coat just to feel apart, I
was still wearing shorts and sandals but especially the tightness of
the tie made the voice more believable, to be a banker, now to play
animal voices, I did not wear furs!

Hope this ramble helps,

My suggestion would be to wear a Hawaiian style shirt open over your
white Tee with your jeans or perhaps black dress pants. Are you
going to be on national TV?

Marilyn Smith

How about a Guayabera shirt? I understand that is what the
well-dressed businessman of the tropics frequently wears.



I worked in television for eight years so I have a few hints for

  1. Solid colors work best, except for white which is too bright
    under the lights. Stick to softer colors, blue is terrific for men.
    Avoid small patterns.

  2. Nice dark jeans would probably be ok, but khakis or dark pants
    would look more polished.

  3. A nice short sleeved shirt without a tie looks good and not too

  4. Wear something comfortable as the lights will be warm even though
    most stations keep their studios cold to compensate.

  5. Relax and enjoy the time! Focus on the product and let it promote

  6. Good luck!


Hi Lee, This is easy – Basic Black. Both shirt and pants -
Black. The style of the shirt whatever you are comfortable in, band
collar or regular shirt. Black pants and a great belt. The sweat
won’t show and it’s a good background for your jewelry. Good luck
with this. Best Adrienne

Finally, after much lurking and learning, as an ex-TV person, I can
contribute something.

Keep it simple. Avoid white or black, also saturated, bright,
bright, reds and hot pinks, etc… Pastels might be OK if not too
light but I would go a bit darker with a muted palate. Is there a
color that complements both you and your work? If I were watching
one of those programs, I would want to sense a connection between the
artist and his work. Aesthetically, you and it are one but, really,
your work is the real star.

My husband has several long sleeve, Tencel shirts in solid and very
beautiful colors.(heather, moss green, seafoam, you get the idea).
That fabric has a bit of weight (though it isn’t hot to wear) that
drapes beautifully and looks almost like suede. The effect is elegant
but casual. Wear a shirt of that type with black or even (newer) blue
jeans and you should look great.

Good luck.

Hey Lee, You and I have similar problems except (thank God) I don’t
have the TV gig running. To be honest I’d wear the same clothes you
always feel comfortable in and just make sure they are clean. Maybe
not quite so worn out. Maybe a slightly fancier shirt? Just be who
and what you are. The more comfortable you are, the better you’ll
come across on the screen. Will you be demonstrating the creation of
your work? Wear what is safest. I’m sure you’ll do fine.
Congratulations man!



Here’s a New York City perspective…

Wear black! Make it simple, restrained and arty.

Black pants ( even black jeans will do) and black shirt (a short
sleeve one, worn like a jacket, if it’s hot). Or a new black tee
shirt with a black jacket. The shirt is where to spend the money.

Shaved head, Fu Manchu, one of your pendants worn upon the black
shirt, with a 16" chain, et voila! you will be memorable and way

The TV image with your face will have your pendant…

More important then your clothes are your words! Prepare!

Write down four important thoughts about your work. Practice out
loud speaking about these ideas.

And memorize a dramatic opening sentence and also a concluding

Enjoy this opportunity, have fun!!

Good Luck,

Sydney Cash

It is not a sure thing-

My jewelry will be on Good Morning Arizona this Sunday. It is
looking like I may not be on TV with them, which is fine, as my
jewelry is easier on the eyes than am I (I hope!)


Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

lee - the email i sent on clothing choice was based on you being
interviewed at a show so most of the input was sweat related - i was
interviewed at a show in tallahassee & a month later someone at
another show said she recognized me from a tv segment. i asked “oh,
you saw it in tallahassee?” she said, “no, i saw it at home. in
maine.” some of the orchid posts suggested black - don’t think i
would go there - neither does a hawaiian print shirt over a white
tee with genes. mid-shades rule - check out the anchor people on
news programs - also: wear a size larger than usual - even if it’s
like XXLG. keep in mind you will be the flagship for industry - most
viewers won’t have any other interaction with someone in our field &
need to have their leftover hippy images of art show exhibitors
updated and replaced with one of a successful designer. my
suggestions are based mostly on the ‘face time’ i had on tv back
when i was in politics - go for it - just don’t go hollywood on us!

(break a leg)

  How about a Guayabera shirt?  I understand that is what the
well-dressed businessman of the tropics frequently wears. 

With all due respect to Tas, Don’t do it Lee! In our neck of the
woods (AZ), a guyabera is the uniform of choice for bad politicians
and TV weathermen “gone native.”

[Seriously, this has been fun to follow…be sure to let us know
what channel/program and when. The only TV I can get in our little
valley southeast of Tucson is from Phoenix, so we’ll look for ya.]

Thanks to all who responded to my question regarding what to wear
for TV appearances!

As fortune would have it, I did not appear on television, although
my jewelry did. The televison spot was promoting a local coalition
of independent, privately owned businesses called the Arizona Chain
Reaction. The ACR is a group dedicated to raising public awareness
of the value of purchasing from local, independent businesses rather
than large chains.

The theme of the TV spot was locally available gifts which would be
good for Mothers Day. Examples of the goods were on display. Eight
or nine businesses were represented, including Dos Manos Jewelry.
Local restauranteur Michael Monti of Monti’s Casa Vieja was the
spokesperson. Rightly, so, I would add, as he is a very good public
speaker. I got to play around behind the scenes, scampering onto
the set during commercial breaks to help get the display items
unpacked and artfully arranged on the table.

If the idea of local, independent businesses acting cooperatively is
something which resonates with you, check out their website at

Similar organizations are springing up in large cities around the

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

Hi Lee,

Reading your follow up, I see that it is your jewellery that will be
making the TV appearance, I had a similar experience recently and
was only too happy about it.

But if you have to do any appearances in the future do keep it
simple, I did a Fashion show appearance on Irish TV a while ago and
"boy oh boy" do I wish I had given my wardrobe more thought! I wore
to much fringe and detail, and all it did was make me look like a
bloated hog , you know what they say about TV adding a pound or two
? well its true !!

If I was to do it all again I would go with a plain black top and
Pants, its the perfect backdrop for any jewellery you might want to
wear, and its very slimming!!

So there you go, that’s my advice. Good luck with the show, hope your
work makes you proud with each sparkle.

Tina Ashmore
Dublin, Ireland