Dressing the Part
It is often said, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." While this is true in most careers, it can be crucial for the auditioning actor. What you wear (or don't wear) to an audition is a huge part of the first impression, and can have a lot to do with how casting directors perceive you and how far you'll go in the casting process for a particular job.
Even so, how specific do you prefer a CD to get in prescribing the audition wardrobe?
I've had two auditions lately that made me utter an audible, "Really???" when I received the audition wardrobe instructions.
My poor scene partner wore corduroy pants and his train stopped service several avenues away from the audition studio. He had to run many long, unshaded avenue blocks in corduroy's and a long sleeve shirt with a sweater tied around his waist in the blistering heat. Needless to say he was less than fresh when he arrived.
The wardrobe breakdown for a recent print go-see was so specific, it stated the color and style of both shirt and pants. And if one does not possess this exact outfit? The presumed answer is, "Buy it." For a job you don't even have yet. This is truly a dress for the job you want moment. The only trouble is that you're literally invested in the job before you ever walk in, and that cool, breezy, not-at-all-desperate vibe gets a challenge if you really need to put that money back in your bank account.
The flip side of this is that if you have the requested outfit in your closet then you don't have to spare another moment thinking about it. You just make sure it's clean and you're ready to rock, which could be an improvement from the time spent obsessing over vague clothing breakdowns, such as "dressy casual", "office chic", or "upscale mom-wear". One person's "dressy casual" is another person's laundry day ensemble of last resort. And I can't tell you the number of times I've walked into an audition and realized I may have gotten it wrong. Not a good feeling when you're trying to summon all your confidence.
So I'd really like to know if you think it's more helpful when the wardrobe request is specific, but limiting, or when it is open to interpretation with the possibility of going off the mark. Do you have a wardrobe of set audition clothes in the various styles usually requested, or do you prefer change it up depending on how you're feeling?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
(Photo by Cathryn Lundgren)