Dressing for Your Executive Portrait

In today's fast moving society, people often make value judgements based solely on first impressions. Therefore, it is imperative that an executive portrait, whether used for publicity, annual reports or display, project a successful, positive image. The correct clothing selection to be used for the portrait can create just the image businesses seek, while the wrong selection of clothing may leave the viewer with a negative feeling toward the executive and his or her company.

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Suits are the order of the day. Avoid sport coats or blazers for business portraits. Material should be either a wool or a wool blend. Dark blue and dark gray are the best colors to use, with the former being the least likely to offend anyone.

Lightweight summer suits are comfortable on warm days but they do not work well in creating the successful executive image. Light colors may make you appear heavier than you actually are. Avoid them and stick with dark solids or pin stripes.

Shirts should be white cotton or cotton blend, long sleeve with straight collar, not button down and pressed well. The cuff should extend about 1/2" out of the suit sleeve and may be a standard button or french cuff. Don't be fooled into thinking that you don't need a long sleeve shirt because you are just planning on a close-up. The suit coat photographs noticeably different if worn over a short sleeve shirt.

Ties should fit your personality; however, try to find a color which is complimentary to the color of your suit. Avoid wild patterns or seasonal styles. Solid, small dot or diagonal stripe is the most acceptable. Leave your jewelry at home unless you are in a high fashion or entertainment business.


Just as suits are the best for men, dresses or skirted suits create the best image for the female executive. Keep the lines simple and tailored and avoid anything with ruffles and lace. By all means avoid the male look. Solids generally work the best, with dark blue or black (for skirted suits), medium gray and beige being the most acceptable colors.

Remember what may happen when photographed in light tones. Light colors may make you appear heavier than you actually are. Avoid them and stick with dark or medium-dart solids. Wool and wool blends are best, but most any material having a rich look can be used.

Blouses should be long sleeve, white or pastel silk or silk type. An open neck or slight V-neck is best for most women, however, let your personal tastes be your guide. Keep your jewelry to a minimum.


Eyeglass frames without lenses, available on loan from your optometrist, solves the problem of distracting reflections, refractions and dark eyes. Make-up for the women and a close shave for the men is a must.


The retouched images from your Executive Portrait session are kept on file. under your own name, at our studio and may be made into either color or black and white portraits in most any size for your personal gift giving needs.

Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and special occasions are excellent opportunities for a gift portrait. Just call (414) 445-2220 for assistance in placing your re-order.