How to get a good basic wardrobe as an extra

Here are my tips.

Rule number one: no logos - this is important as you can risk not being used at all in the shoot. There are advertising/brand compliance issues. If you have a great big T shirt saying "Cocoa Cola" or "Calvin Klein" all over it you're not going to be selected.

Then, no flashing geometric designs. It's a good idea to stay away from stripes as well. Then no reflective material (i.e. shiny material, sequins)as directors hate this because it plays havoc with the camera!


Right, so start off by opting for smart casual as the basic look.

By that I mean really nice quality jeans or casual trousers that fit you properly but look pristine - not crumpled or very worn.

Then a plain T shirt or top - nothing fussy or too showy but at the same time, something that is not dowdy or lazy looking. In the summer a clean white T shirt with little sleeves teamed with a good quality belt (you can even be slightly fashionable with belt so as not to make yourself too bland!) is a good idea.

Or for ladies, a pretty style top is perfectly ok - you are not showing off - you are merely showing some personality. I find plain tops from shops like Wallis, River Island or any of the Debenhams brands are really good for this.

A good idea with top is to choose a colour that suits your skin tone - another good tip I find is longer sleeves are better - unless you have absolutely gorgeous arms that is!

Next - take a selection of tops to go with your jeans. Plain trousers that aren't jeans are ok for films too - there are some great colours available in Primark at an inexpensive rate.

As well as tops, it's worth investing in some different plain coloured cardigans.

Gentlemen - for the casual look - remember a nice jacket that is not too formal looking, say a blazer style with shirt without a tie, is a great look. Just imagine you're going on a date with a girl you really like boys!


Take a coat or mac too. Firstly, find out if the film they are showing is set in a certain season - if it is - and this is often the case - then make sure you take clothes that are appropriate for the season the production company are intending to portray. You should ensure you know this before you go to the shoot.


Then take a change of clothing altogether. This is in case they want to show your character but on a different day/in a different scene.


For ladies a plain dress is another good idea. Again - I don't mean dowdy but I mean one that suits your body shape and suits the time of day that the scene being filmed is intending to show.

For ladies, I would recommend taking some costume jewellery. Nothing too showy but just enough to jazz up that plain dress up a bit.


A plain navy or grey suit and plain top or ironed white shirt underneath is good for this. Discreet jewellery is good too. Don't be too glamorous - look practical, "worky", neat.


Ladies - for black tie/posh look - work out whether you think a little black cocktail dress suits your body shape best or whether you think a full length evening dress is better.

Does the company have a rule that they don't want everyone wearing black? Black isn't usually the best choice for television/film work for an extra. Always ask for guidance from the production company. Take a couple of options.

Gentlemen - if your scene is evening and is formal then check out whether they will supply you with a tuxedo if it is a black tie do and obviously take a couple of clean, ironed shirts with you. Guys - you might want to consider taking coloured bow ties or braces as well as plain black bow tie. That gives the assistant director a bit of variety to choose from.

With shoes, for ladies, take flat shoes and high heels. You might want to travel to the shoot in flat shoes or trainers anyway. I would say though do ditch the trainers when you get to the film set.

Finally, I would say that it's a useful idea to take a small compact size mirror with you in case facilities aren't great in waiting area on set (i.e. it might be a field somewhere with tents and a portakabin style toilet with poor mirrors - especially if you are an extra).

Ladies take hairspray, hair plastic ties and some hair grips. If you have hair accessories take them just in case.

Try and fit in with what other extras are wearing but don't make yourself into a clone - the reason you're there, as an extra, is actually to be seen - but not to be seen too much! You must strike a balance between being individual enough to be authentic and yet DON'T STAND OUT TOO MUCH AND OUTSHINE THE PRINCIPAL ACTORS!

Ask your agent/the film company person "What do you want me to wear?".

Basically, they respect you if you follow their overall picture of how the whole scene should look and don't just go in there trying to stand out deliberately.

I hope this has helped you.

In summary:

1. Find out season clothes should fit.

2. Ask if smart casual or office or formal evening wear.

3. Take alternative changes.

4. You must be comfortable in the clothes.

5. No logos/brands/shiny reflective clothes.

6. Don't spend masses of money - you buy clothes that are plain and will do for many uses very cheaply.

7. Black may not be the best colour to wear.

8. Above all - obey film company's instrutions re clothes.

9. Do take some accessories and costume jewellery.

10. Ensure that shoes are comfortable whether flat or high.