Wardrobe Basics for the Best Set Looks

JULY 16, 2018
Man trying on wardrobe basics

Getting dressed for set can be tough. In some cases, your everyday look is perfect for a scene. In others, you may be asked to wear an outfit from a style or era you know nothing about. Follow these wardrobe basics and you’ll be able to put together the perfect look for set.

Where do I start?

Always start with your details. When you’re booked, the Casting Director will tell you how to get your details, which will likely be in the form of a Details Blog, via our Details page. Your wardrobe information is based off your role or category and can include very specific instructions or may be given in more general terms. Either way, you need to base your outfit off the information given to you.

If you’re working on a TV show that has already aired episodes, the show itself is a great place to look for wardrobe inspiration. Take a close look at what the principal actors and other background are wearing to get a sense of the show’s style and color palette.

Creating your outfit

Your roles as a Background Actor can vary dramatically from booking to booking. One day you’re a 1970s club patron and the next you’re a dignitary at a presidential gala. One way to make sure you’re successful at putting together different looks is to have some versatile wardrobe basics. Having some go-to items that are in good condition and fit well will give you a good foundation to base your varying looks.

Your details may include the setting and time of year the scene takes place. This information can affect your wardrobe, so it may be helpful to research seasonal style from that location while putting together your outfit for set. You wouldn’t want to show up in a denim jacket when you were supposed to dress for a New York winter! To get an idea of the projects we’re working on, check out the credits section on the About page. Having an idea of the movies and TV shows we’re working on can help you think ahead and add variety to your wardrobe options.

Bringing your wardrobe to set

One of the wardrobe basics of background acting is showing up to set in clean unwrinkled clothing (unless, of course, your wardrobe details and role warrant otherwise). In some cases, you will be asked to come to set dressed and camera ready. In others, you may be instructed to bring your clothes to set with you. Please ensure your wardrobe makes it to set in camera ready condition.

Adding Additional Photos

As you build up your wardrobe and become confident in your different looks, you can come in to an Updates session to add additional photos to your file. Casting Directors use these photos to determine if you can portray the roles they’re casting.

For a similar reason, you may also be asked to send a selfie with your submission. These give Casting Directors the chance to see what you look like right now or to see you in wardrobe you don’t have on file.

If you’re going to add or take selfies in a specific outfit, remember that they need to be in clothing that you own and have access to. If you’re cast because of the wardrobe in your photos, Casting Directors expect you to show up to set in those clothes.

Now that you know the wardrobe basics of being a Background Actor, check out our guides for dress codes, 80s looks, and 90s styles.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Industry Essentials