This is the first part of an eleven-piece series on ways that you can improve your auditions! We will be taking an honest and in-depth look at how auditions work and what you can do to succeed. As previously mentioned, these general tips apply to all auditions regardless of discipline or craft. Before diving in and looking at some suggestions for male clothing at auditions, let’s review the most important tidbit for this entire series:
The most important task that you have in an audition is to get the judges to remember you in a positive way. If you can stand out for good reasons, you will have a much higher chance of success and achieving your goals. Focus on making that killer first impression.
The day before your audition, take time to select what you will wear. Some auditions make it easy and provide a dress code, but most do not. Whatever you wear needs to be comfortable. It should make your job as a performer easier. It also needs to look professional while still being unique. Try to find something that accents your personality and makes you stand out in a good way. Semi-formal or casual auditions are more challenging for male clothing because the dress code can be more loose. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. An audition judge will forgive formal-wear at a semi-formal audition easier than ripped jeans at that same audition.
*Note: This might seem frustrating, but try to think of an audition as a job interview. It is if it results in a paycheck!*
Now, let’s cover male clothing for auditions from head to toe!
Hair and Grooming
You know your hair and body best, but consider getting a fresh haircut before the audition. You’ll need to look as professional as possible while still looking yourself. It goes without saying, but be sure to shower and wash your hair the day of the audition. If you don’t use product in your hair, consider purchasing some and experimenting with it well before the audition. A little product goes a long way in making you look great, plus you don’t have to worry about your hair as much!
If you have facial hair, be sure that it is trimmed and under control. Consider using a beard brush and beard oil. Research how to properly cut and trim your beard if you are unsure – the best idea is to go to a barber that you trust and ask him to give you some pointers!
If your audition is formal and requires a tie or bow tie, make sure that you know how to tie it properly. NEVER use a clip-on tie or bow tie. They are tacky and will ruin the professional look of the rest of your ensemble. It is tricky to learn how to tie a bow tie, but doing so and wearing a real bow tie will help you stand out in a great way. Practice your knots before the audition, and hit your tie with a gentle fabric steamer or iron (on the silk setting) before performing.
Male Clothing Main Items
This section will vary greatly depending on the formality of your audition, but some tips remain the same. Your shirt needs to fit you well without being too baggy or too tight. If you are wearing long sleeves, the cuff should sit comfortably at the wrist without being pulled by your arms or shoulders. Be aware that shirts with collar buttons are considered more semi-casual than shirts without.
If wearing a jacket, be sure to cut the threads in the back that connect the panels. You MUST do this to avoid looking ridiculous. If you choose to button your jacket in the front, remember that the bottom-most button always remains undone. It is good practice to fully unbutton or remove your jacket while seated. Finally, know where the pockets are and cut their threads (in order to open them) if needed.
If wearing a vest, ensure that it is sized correctly. Most vests have the adjustable slider in the back. Have a friend or family member adjust it for you. All buttons on your vest should remain buttoned. If needed, cut the pocket threads as with your jacket.
Be extra aware of the hemline of your pants. The legs should gently rest on the tops of your shoes. Extra long pants get baggy around the ankles and look shabby. This can be particularly common with jeans and khakis. Likewise, make sure that there isn’t excess room around your legs, in particular you lower legs. You don’t need to wear skin-tight pants (please don’t), but you also shouldn’t be able to fit your entire arm up your pant legs. Find a happy medium and have someone taper your pants if needed.
A Note on Ironing
It is a good idea to have one or two exclusive audition outfits that you use all the time. Get them dry cleaned before your audition season and when the season is over. If you are not able to set some audition outfits aside, invest in an iron or a steamer. Your clothes must be pressed before auditions! Research how to properly iron or steam if you are unsure. *Note: When wearing a jacket, do not iron it to perfection and then immediately wear it while driving or riding in a vehicle. This will undo all of your hard work and will make it wrinkle again! Jackets should be removed and hung on a hanger or laid across an empty seat while utilizing vehicles.
Get a Tailor!
Before buying new clothes and worrying about what to wear, the absolute best thing that you can do for your wardrobe is to find an amazing tailor. All bodies are different and clothes purchased from big box stores NEVER fit as well as they should. Unless the clothing was custom made just for you, it could benefit from a trip to the tailor’s. It is a worthwhile investment that will make you look and feel better, plus it will ad longevity to your wardrobe. Without fail, I always get compliments about how I look when I wear shirts that have been tailored. It is better to spend money at the tailor than to buy brand new clothes. Be sure to find one that specializes in male clothing!
Consider ways that you can accent your outfit and your personality at the same time. Earrings, necklaces, and other jewelry are totally acceptable! Just make sure that they don’t draw attention away from your face, eyes, and performance abilities. For a semi-formal or formal audition, a well-matched pocket square or tie bar goes a long way.
Research tips on matching male clothing and which colors go well together. As a very general rule, avoid combining similar shades of black and blue. Also, be sure that your shoes, belt, and other accessories are from the same pallet. If wearing jewelry, it should be the same color or of similar style. Trust your instinct – if you have to ask yourself “does this match?”, it probably doesn’t.
Shoes are particularly important, especially if the audition will be on a stage or elevated surface. People will notice what you are wearing on your feet, so don’t skimp here! Invest in a nice, clean pair of dress shoes for a semi-formal or formal audition. Leather boots, loafers, or hightops may be appropriate for less formal events. No matter what you choose, be sure that it is looking great. Polish your shoes when needed and replace laces if they break. Finally, stuff your shoes with newspaper when they are not being used so they keep their shape.
Bonus Tip: Know exactly what the audition expects as far as dress code. Regional and national expectations vary greatly. A formal audition in the United States may be very different than a formal audition in Germany. Likewise, cultural differences in regard to fashion play a huge role. If you are auditioning in Europe, for example, your focus needs to be on quality of clothing. Be careful, and when in doubt, ask for help from trusted friends or natives to where you are auditioning.
Stay tuned for the next installment of this series: Female Audition Clothing!