How to Dress for Business Portraits

Everyone wants to know how best to dress for a portrait session. We think it boils down to the KISS principle: keep it simple, stupid. But for more nuanced advice on attire, keep reading. 

Start by thinking about the image you want to project. What's your brand. Do you need to appear friendly and creative, or serious and confident? Either way, the key is to dress accordingly. When in doubt, it's hard to go wrong with "professional," in which case business attire is a great place to start. 


For a traditional, conservative business portrait, we suggest avoiding extremes: no all-black or all-white ensembles. Avoid that khaki suit, or the searsucker ensemble you love. Instead, choose deep colors such as navy blue, gray and brown for jackets and sportcoats. Best of all, these deep colors are slimming too.

Busy is bad, be it a jacket, shirt or tie. Avoid patterns and overly bright colors. Anything that distracts the viewer is a bad idea, so that means avoiding flashy jewelry and too many accessories, too. 

Men, if you'll be wearing a tie, it's hard to go wrong with a solid color or a simple striped tie in red or blue. A minimal pattern will always look better than a busy tie. In this case, think like a politician; presidential candidates usually choose ideal ties. 

For dress shirts, avoid bright white when possible. A little color—even an off white or light blue shirt—often looks better on camera, especially if you're not wearing a jacket. If you are wearing a jacket, you can get away with a plain white shirt. 

To dress for a slimming effect: 
- Darker colors are slimming, light colors are not.
- Solid colors are slimming, bold patterns are not. 
- A single color from head to toe (i.e. a suit) is slimming. 
- Vertical lines are slimming, horizontal lines are not. This can apply to pleats as well as prints. 
- The v-neck shape is slimming. This is achieved by the cut of a sportcoat or the v-shaped collar opening of a dress shirt or sweater. 
- Single-breasted jackets are more slimming than double-breasted or three-button suits. 
- If you'll be standing for a full-length portrait, high heels are slimming—as are clothes that are well tailored rather than too loose or too tight. 

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