Why Dressing The Character Matters

Ever heard the saying “dress the part,” in order to be taken seriously? This might be the advice for anyone going on any job interview. So, let’s apply this same concept to auditioning!

Prepping for your audition includes giving some detailed thought to how your character might dress in the scene’s circumstance.


Always dress suggestive of the character that you are auditioning.


This may seem obvious to many of you, but do you treat how you dress for your auditions as one of your priorities?

I remember when I first moved to NYC that my actor friends had their “audition outfits”.  It always stuck with me that they had separate outfits for just the audition room – something I suppose they had been taught in college programs. “Always look good in those auditions!” I always thought it was pretty cool – it totally justified buying a new outfit:)

But, from my experience being on the other side of the table as Director and Casting Director and Coach, I see the many many layers to simply HOW YOU DRESS IN AN AUDITION MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.


One audition outfit does not serve ALL roles.


Exploring in a deeper way who your character is, and then how this reflects into the character’s clothing choices, will subtly and directly impact your audition.

First, understand the philosophy behind how you dress for auditions…


Remember that filmmaking is a visual medium.


Filmmakers are responding to what they SEE in the room, or on camera.

A shirt that might look great on you, may not actually serve the role. A figure flattering outfit, might not serve the role. Those snappy new sneakers, may not serve the role. Your old worn out sneakers, may not serve the role.


Every visual choice you make as an actor is part of the process of creating belief that you ARE this character.


We are in the business of creating the illusion that this fictional world is real. That you are real in it. That you inhabit and embody this fictional world.

How your character dresses is a step towards creating the visual illusion of the world your character lives in.

If your character is working class, then dress like someone who doesn’t have a big clothing budget and possibly not much time for putting themselves together as they manage their home and family or multiple jobs with long hours. If your character is wealthy and attending a high class event, then dress like you have somewhere important to be!


Beware of these clothing trappings:

  • Dressing neutral is a neutral choice.
  • Don’t simply wear that perfect blue T-shirt shirt because it brings out your eyes.
  • Don’t just wear what you’re wearing to your day job. (Unless you have no option!)
  • Don’t just wear makeup because you always wear makeup.
  • Don’t not wear makeup because you never wear makeup.


ASK THE QUESTION: What would your character do? Sometimes, working “from the outside in” will actually give you some incredibly insightful choices!


Here are my TOP points to consider when dressing for the role:

  • How would your character dress when in this scene’s circumstance? I.e., Central Park, living room, party, motorcycle ride…
  • Where is your character going to, or coming from? If you are traveling, do you have a jacket? If you’re on a beach, are you dressed for hot weather?
  • How much money or time does your character have that they can spend on clothing and hair and nails, etc.?
  • How does your character FEEL today? How can you reflect that in your clothing choices? If you’re in a stressed out or bad mood, do you throw on clothes or trying to dress extra nice or with attitude?
  • Which clothing styles and colors might reflect the character’s general personality?
  • Okay, yes sure consider which colors and styles look good on YOU, but make the character a priority.


Now, have fun in your character prep with your clothing choices! Let it all be a part of your creative process of embodying the role. Your choices can truly inspire the Casting and Director teams to “see” you in the role.


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