Five Tips for What to Wear to an Audition

5 tips what to wear audition

One of the questions that we get asked most frequently is what to wear to an audition — mostly from students who are applying to BFA programs and performing arts high schools. Do you want to look professional? Or should you aim for comfort above everything else? We have all the answers you need to look your best on audition day!

NOTE: All of the outfits pictured are from Stitch Fix. Because where else can you get a personal stylist who will deliver your next audition outfit straight to your doorstep at an affordable price?)

1. No performance blacks please.

This might go against some common audition wisdom, but we’re just going to call it like we see it: don’t wear your performance blacks to your audition. There’s a good chance that you’re going to be performing in a black-box theatre or in front of a black curtain, and you don’t want to get lost in the background. Besides, performance blacks are super boring, and, while you don’t want your audition outfit to distract us from your performance (see our next tip), you also don’t want to get lost in the crowd. You also never know when you’re going to have a casting director who’s a stickler for something like mismatched blacks.

2. Compliment, don’t distract.

You want to wear the most complimentary outfit in your wardrobe — something that makes you look and feel your absolute best. But make sure that your outfit doesn’t distract from your performance. Stay away from busy prints (like florals, paisleys, loud stripes, etc.) and opt for solid colors instead. Make sure to tone down your jewelry choices as well; the audition studio is not the place for a statement necklace. You want the casting director to focus primarily on your face, which means that your best choice will be a colored shirt and dark/neutral pants.

audition outfit 1

(This comfy blue-on-blue print dress doesn't distract, and the top half is covered by a bright yellow sweater, which draws the casting director's eyes up towards your face.)

3. Keep it professional.

We’ve observed auditions at performing arts high schools across NYC, and we’re always amazed by how many students show up wearing jeans and a ratty T-shirt. While you might feel out-of-place in dress clothes, believe me, you’re making a positive impression on the casting director or admissions officer. When you show up looking more Ann Taylor LOFT than Forever 21, you’re telling whoever’s on the other side of that table that you’re serious about the work that you’re doing. If you plan on making a career out of theatre, then always show up looking like a professional!

audition outfit 2

(Gentlemen: The lightweight zippered pullover is key. You can dress up any T-shirt in your wardrobe and look instantly professional with minimal fuss. Pair with neutral pants [like khakis], and you're good to go!)

4. Make sure you can move.

Auditions are not the time for that slinky pencil skirt that you nabbed at J Crew. Instead, you want to opt for pants or an loose skirt whenever possible and sensible flats. (Be warned: you never know when a director might make you roll around on the floor for scene-work, so pants might be the safest option!) We highly recommend that you wear your audition outfit around town for a day. You might even want to consider going to a dance class in your audition outfit. Don’t start ripping off the price tags the morning of your audition, or you might end up with a shirt that doesn’t let you lift your arms freely, pants that are half-falling off in the middle of your 16 bars, and stiletto heels that make you trip as you’re entering the room.

audition outfit 3

(We love this burgundy turtleneck sweater that draws attention up to your face, but we'd probably leave the form-fitting leather skirt at home. Consider pairing that sweater up with some black pants instead for maximum movement!)

5. Dress your type (to an extent).

Do you know what your type is? Maybe you’re the plucky ingenue (like Sutton Foster) or the sassy seductress (like Chita Rivera). Ask your drama teacher if you’re not sure where you fit into the casting landscape. If you do know your type, feel free to dress in a way that suggests to the casting director where you might work in their department’s ensemble. But remember that you don’t want whatever clothing you pick to distract from your performance. So while you can gently hint at where you might belong, you should generally stay as neutral as possible. Let your performance do all of the talking!

Posted on Feb 26, 2018 in Auditions  

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