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What to Wear for Male Headshots: Achieving the Perfect Professional Look

What to wear for male headshots? It’s a question that’s been asked time and time again. But let me tell you, with so many options available, it can be tough to choose the right one! The traditional route is a shirt, jacket, and tie. But, let’s be real, in some areas and professions, a more casual look is accepted and even preferred.

As a professional headshot photographer, I’m here to guide you on how to dress for the best portraits possible. I’ll give you some basic looks to bring to your photoshoot so we can work together to find the perfect fit for your background. And trust me, I’ll also give you some do’s and don’ts so you can avoid common mistakes and walk away with a polished headshot that’ll knock the socks off your intended audience.

This post here might have some links that’ll make me a little coin if you decide to buy something through ’em. But don’t worry, it ain’t gonna cost you nothin’. Get a quick read of my disclosure here if you’re twitchy about anything.

The Surprising Power of Wearing a Jacket

what to wear for male headshots

Listen up fellas, if you want to look your best in your headshots, you gotta layer up. Even if you’re goin’ for a more casual look, throw on a jacket, lose the tie. The reason being, a jacket will accentuate that V-shape we all want, and make you look like a million bucks.

Now when you’re picking out your threads, start with the jacket, build the rest of the outfit around it. The jacket is the toughest piece to tailor to your body and you probably don’t have many options for it in your closet. So make it the focal point and the rest will fall into place. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

The Best Suit Fabrics Don’t Have Synthetic Nonsense

What to wear for male headshots
what to wear for male headshots

When it comes to what to wear for your male headshot, the jacket is key. And let me tell ya, you wanna steer clear of any synthetic materials like rayon or nylon. They may be cheaper, but they’ll also make you look cheap in your photos.

Stick to the good stuff, like wool and cashmere, silk, mohair, and alpaca. Check the label, make sure it’s 100% natural materials. If you wanna go the extra mile, look for a thread count of “super 100” or higher. That’s a sign of a higher quality fabric. Should you really wanna impress those with a discerning eye, go for a suit from one of the big dogs like: 

Trust me, you’ll look like a million bucks.


The Best Color Suits To Kill It At Your Headshot

Navy blue jacket men's headshot attire
blue suit men's headshot attire
Grey jacket men's headshot attire
charcoal suit men's headshot attire

Gentlemen, when it comes to what to wear for a male headshot, let me tell you something: colors are crucial, my friends. Now, I know you might be thinking, “Jason, what’s the big deal? It’s just a photo, right?” But let me tell you, the colors you wear can make or break your headshot. So listen up.

The easiest colors to match with most backgrounds are the good old grays, charcoals, blues, earthy greens, and browns. They’re like the chameleons of the color world. But, black, now that’s a tricky one. Black suits are fancy and formal, but they’re also the hardest color to pair with ties and shirts. Plus, black can disappear on dark backgrounds like a magician’s assistant.

So, if you’re thinking about wearing a black suit for your headshot, let me give you some advice: stick to navy or charcoal. They’re easier to match with ties and shirts and they’ll age better than black will. And, for the love of Pete, stay away from white or other loud colors. They’ll clash with the background and take the focus away from your mug.

In short, stick to the basics and keep it simple, guys. And remember, it’s all about keeping the focus on your face and making a good first impression. And that’s the truth.

Shirt Tips When Deciding What to Wear for Male Headshots

Manderin shirt collar
button down shirt collar
pinned shirt collar

Getting your headshot on point is easy, the key is all in the details. One of the most important details is your shirt. Now, the key is to match the color of your shirt to the color of your jacket. Never do this the other way around. Ain’t nobody got time to try and match a shirt to a Jacket they don’t have yet. Find the jacket you like first, then enhance it with the shirt.

When it comes to collars, the spread collar is your go-to. But if you want to add a little extra class, go for a button down or pinned collar with a tie. But if ties ain’t your thing, stick with a spread or a mandarin collar if you’re feeling frisky.

Best Color Shirts When Deciding What To Wear For Male Headshots

Eton White Dress Shirt
Blue dress shirt

When it comes to selecting a shirt for your headshot, You need to keep it simple. Forget about the loud fancy patterns, they’ll just take the focus away from your mug. Stick with solid white or light blue  color  shirt , they’ll harmonize with gray, charcoal, blue and navy jackets like a charm.

Now, if you’re a rebel and you wanna stand out, go for a black or dark gray shirt. But if you’re playin’ the corporate game, best stick with the classics like white or light blue. Just remember keep it simple and professional for your primary outfit. Go nuts with a second or third backup outfit if the safe options leave you wanting, but  it’s  important to nail the safe looks first!

Good & Not So Good Shirts: What’s The Difference?

what to wear for male headshots
Avoid single size shirts like "medium" or "large"
what to wear for male headshots
Get shirts with neck and sleeve sizing like this. They'll fit much better.

Guys, when it comes to choosing a shirt for your headshot, you have to pay attention to the details. You see, department store brands like Van Heusen, Calvin Klein, and J. Ferrar, etc.  might be cheap, but they’re also cheap looking. Budget dress shirts are made from inferior fabrics and have plastic buttons to keep costs down. Additionally, the collar construction pales in comparison to luxury  brands. Unless you’re on a tight budget, stay away from budget dress shirts. You’ll look a lot better wearing something with better materials and construction.  

Another thing to mention about all shirts, stay away from moisture-wicking and “no iron” materials, even if they’re from the premium brands. Natural fabrics always photograph better because they don’t look like they’re coated in plastic like most no iron materials do.

How to Spot A Good Quality Shirt When Deciding What to Wear for Male Headshots

A good quality shirt should have proper neck and arm measurements, be made from 100% natural materials like cotton, linen, and so on. Moreover, a quality shirt should have buttons made from mother of pearl or horn, not that cheap plastic crap. 

Quality shirts will also have vastly  better collar construction which is essential for a good headshot. Additional collar and cuff options are a plus if you’re discerning about your look. For those with a keen eye, luxury brands will also be available in a variety of fabric weaves if  you really want to dive into the details of your look.

Now, if you want the best of the best, skip the off the rack shirt  options and get yourself a bespoke shirt made from your measurements. But, let’s be real, most of us ain’t got time for that. So, the next best thing is a quality off-the-rack brand or online made-to-measure company that’ll give you a much higher-quality shirt than those low end department store brands. Charles Tyrwhitt, Eton, Indochino, and Ledbury are some of my favorites shirts if  you want to check out some quality brands.

Pro tip: You can find luxury shirt brands in lightly used condition on eBay for a steal. That means if you’re patient, you can look like James Bond without breaking the bank. 

To Tie Or Not To Tie When Deciding What to Wear For Male Headshots 

what to wear for male headshots
This gray jacket, blue shirt and striped tie is a sharp and safe outfit combination for a professional headshot

The question of whether or not to wear a tie is all about knowing your audience. If you’re out here on the west coast, among the tech crowd, you can probably get away with no tie.

If you’re a manager, lawyer, money man, or you travel the world, you might wanna keep that tie close. Bottom line, when it comes to your headshot, dress like you would for a job interview or a meeting with the boss. Make the right impression and you’ll be golden.

How To Select The Perfect Color Tie For Your Headshot

what to wear for male headshot
For this fashion forward headshot, this client chose a red tie with a light pattern for his real estate headshot

Once you got the jacket and shirt picked out, it’s time to think about the tie. Again, solid colors are going to be your best bet. Reds, blues, and purples are always classic choices that will complement the shirt and jacket combinations mentioned earlier. However, if you wanna stand out, go for a patterned tie, just make sure it ain’t too loud or it’ll overpower the rest of your outfit.

And remember, the key to looking sharp in your headshot is harmonization. You need to make sure all the colors work together, otherwise it’ll look like a hot mess. So, take your time and make sure everything’s matching and you’ll be good to go.

You can use adobe color to help give you ideas on what colors will play well together. Alternatively, you can search for tie ideas on Pinterest by searching for the shirt and jacket combination you’re thinking of.

Advice for Different Body Types

Different body types may require different types of attire. Here are a few tips on how to choose an outfit that flatters different body types for male headshots:

  • Athletic build: If you have an athletic build, it’s important to choose an outfit that accentuates your muscles. A well-fitted suit or blazer can help to define your shoulders and chest. Avoid baggy or ill-fitting clothing, as it can make you appear larger than you are.

  • Slim build: If you have a slim build, it’s important to choose an outfit that adds some volume to your frame. A jacket with padded shoulders can help to create the illusion of a more defined upper body. Avoid overly tight clothing, as it can make you appear slimmer than you are.

  • Tall build: If you’re tall, it’s important to choose an outfit that doesn’t make you appear too towering in your headshot. A tailored suit or blazer can help to create a more balanced look. Avoid oversized clothing, as it can make you appear larger than you are.

  • Short build: If you’re shorter, it’s important to choose an outfit that elongates your frame. A well-fitted suit with a longer jacket can help to create the illusion of height. Avoid overly baggy clothing, as it can make you appear shorter than you are.

  • Plus-size build: If you’re plus-size, it’s important to choose an outfit that flatters your figure and makes you feel confident. A well-fitted suit or blazer can help to create a polished and professional look. Avoid clothing that is too tight or too baggy, as it can make you appear larger than you are.

It is important to keep in mind that ultimately, the most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident in your outfit. Remember to choose clothing that is well-fitted and accentuates your best features.

The TL;DR About What to Wear For Male Headshots

A suit jacket is your best friend. It’ll give you that sharp look and accentuate that V-shape that makes us men look handsome. That said, watch out for those synthetic materials and stick with 100% natural fabrics like wool and cashmere. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors. Just remember, keep it classic with gray, charcoal, navy and blue when in doubt.

When it comes to shirts, keep it simple with solid white or light blue for easy to pair professional looks. Steer clear of budget department store brand shirts with plastic buttons and inferior fabrics. 

If you’re in a business casual culture, no tie may be the way to go. If however you’re in a more formal career, you should probably wear one. Just make sure to pick a color that complements your jacket and shirt in a pattern that isn’t too loud.

In short, a suit jacket is a must, stick with natural fabrics for everything, and keep the colors neutral and simple for a clean professional look.

Sonoma County Headshot Photographer Jason Guy

Don’t let a lackluster headshot hold you back from making a great first impression. From wardrobe selection to final retouching, I’ll guide you through every step of the process to ensure you look and feel your best. Book your professional headshot session with me today, and let me help you create a polished and professional profile photo that accurately represents you and your personal brand. 

Portrait of Jason Guy

Jason Guy

I am a portrait photographer based out of Sonoma, California. I create portraits for people of all ages with the goal of making images that are timeless. Portraits you will look back on decades from now, and still love them just as much then as you do today. While flattering lighting and pose are important, capturing how others see you is what I ultimately strive for.

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