What to wear in an audition

Quite a lot of people worry about what to wear for an audition…

I’ve run quite a few auditions and I have been present at many more. I usually only really notice what someone is wearing if it is blatantly unsuitable, so it might be more useful to think about what not to wear for an audition.  You want your auditioner to be able to concentrate on you, not what you are wearing.  That doesn’t mean that you have to arrive all in black, you can come dressed as you.  A reasonably neat, unfussy, clean version of you, but still you.  Make sure you can move naturally and easily. Avoid clothes that rustle or creak and any jangling jewellery.

If I know the role I am auditioning for, shouldn’t I come dressed as the character?

I think you should use common sense about this.  You shouldn’t dress against the character.  If it’s an audition for the school cross-country champion, don’t go in a business suit.  If it’s for a young Victorian girl from a wealthy family, don’t go in torn jeans and a t-shirt with logos on it.  It’s fine to give a flavour of the character: so you might choose a high-necked blouse for the Victorian girl audition or sporty clothes for the runner.  I wouldn’t advise going in full Victorian dress or running gear with a number on your front.  If in doubt, look at the clothes you own and think “what would I feel most comfortable in if I were this character”?

I’ve read accounts of people who have hired full period dress for film castings and they’ve got the part.

Yes, I’ve read this kind of thing too. I’m not sure what I think of this to be honest.  I suppose if you really feel it will help you, then you can consider it, though I think it’s less common here than in the US.  The other thing to be aware of is that anecdotes like these ignore those who didn’t dress up and still got cast and conveniently ignores those who also got dressed up and didn’t get the part.  If you arrived for a theatre audition “dressed as the character” I think this would be most likely to produce embarrassed laughter rather than anything more positive. For theatre auditions I think you should go looking ready to work, not ready to go on stage in performance – you probably won’t know what the director/designer’s vision is for the character in any case.  TV, films and commercials are rather different because your audition will be put on tape and viewed by others and “looking the part” will be an important step towards getting the job or getting a recall.  However, I think that a “flavour” of the character is a much safer bet than going the whole hog – you do need to give the casting team a sense of who you are and you don’t want to insult them by appearing to think they have no imagination.

Granny moment:

The most common “what not to wear” mistake I have seen is the fashion for jeans or trousers that don’t stay up by themselves.  This means that to stop yourself showing your underwear to the auditioners (or even what is under your underwear) you have to constantly tug at the waistband of your trousers.  In some cases, you even have to hang on to the trousers to prevent them ending up half way down your thigh.  If you often wear jeans/trousers like this, it’s quite likely that you make a grab for the waistband  all the time without even realising it.  It’s enormously distracting!  Any item of dress that you have to adjust all the time should stay in your wardrobe.  Look at yourself in a full length mirror and try sitting, standing, leaning forward to shake hands, perhaps even kneeling on the floor or squatting and then getting up again.  Are you showing more than you intended?

It’s a good idea to make sure that your top covers all the bits you want covered too.  Looking at lots of bare flesh can be very distracting for the auditioner – and what looks perfectly respectable when you are looking at yourself straight on in the mirror can be a bit of an eyeful if you bend forward, so don’t flash more than you intend.

Be sensible about shoes – they should be clean, for one thing – but make sure you can move in them really easily: that’s likely to be more important than how fashionable they are.

Don’t wear too much make-up and go easy on perfume, aftershave and bodyspray.

If you’re like me and don’t have a huge wardrobe of clothes to choose from, I think it can help to relieve stress to have a “go to” audition outfit that you always keep clean and ready to wear.  Something that brings out the colour or your eyes and suits your complexion.  That way, if you are really not sure what to wear for a particular audition, you can fall back on your “audition outfit” and you know you can feel secure and comfortable in something that suits you.

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