When entering a profession or career, one thing people tell you is that it's important to look the part.
Looking the part creates the first impression as it's what people will automatically notice when first meeting you. And while first impressions may not always count for some people, it's vital if you want your career and craft to be taken seriously, especially as a freelance animator.
So, whether you're still interviewing for the position or working regularly, there are animator fashion and essentials you will have to consider, even if you work from home.
But, what do animators wear to work? This may include asking yourself whether you should go for a formal attire of a polo shirt and slacks or a more casual look with jeans. In some cases, freelancers just stick to their home clothes and don't bother changing into anything at all –– which is alright depending on your circumstances!
As an animator, there are actually tons of clothes you can choose from but, of course, you'll have to consider a few things before you can finally decide on what to wear. This means looking at animator fashion staples, essentials, and your current working environment.
So in this blog post, we give you the lowdown on all the possible outfits and everything else you need to look out for and consider to best answer the question, "What do animators wear?"
Fashion in Animation
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Fashion is an ever-changing concept. Diverse styles and looks are constantly being invented and reinvented by different industries, the animation industry is no exception.
For some time, the field of animation has championed particular trends across the world, with everyone from household names to little kids dressing up as their favorite animated characters, like Disney princesses and video game avatars.
Simply looking at the entire concept of "cosplay" shows that fashion in animation is so iconic people actively decide to dress like animated characters or concepts.
Take the popular animated character Sailor Moon with that distinct 90s anime look, and how it's still popular today. Whenever you see a person wearing high pigtails, crescent moon earrings, and that iconic white and blue sailor fuku uniform, the image of Sailor Moon will automatically pop into your mind.
The animated character has influenced the world of fashion so much that tons of celebrities even cosplay the look during Halloween parties and various events.
Furthermore, beyond cosplaying, teenage fashion magazine TeenVogue shared in an article how the Sailor Moon animated series is known for more than its action-packed storylines and inspiring themes.
It shared that "there are plenty of pastels, overalls, high-waisted skirts, and denim-jacket ensembles that still look fashionable today because the #90sanimeaesthetic is a real thing."
Because of how impactful animation can be to modern fashion, there may be considerable pressure for animators to be on top of trends and aesthetic looks. Fortunately, even if you're the animator, nobody expects you to be as fashionable as your characters.
What does this mean for you?
It means you can wear almost anything you want! However, there are still some unspoken rules and fashion essentials in what animators wear.
Additionally, paying attention to the clothes you wear as an animator can help in designing and drawing your animated characters. For one, these will be your clothes all day so you're going to need to keep them comfortable and practical. Another is that your characters can even take inspiration from your fashion essentials.
So to ease the burden, we'll walk you through animation fashion and essentials you can wear by listing some probable questions and offering tips on how you can style yourself!
Tips On What Do Animators Wear – Fashion Styles And Essentials
"How Formal Should I Dress As An Animator?"
Tons of jobs usually have their employees wear formal or business attire, but what do animators have to wear to look the part?
Considering the laid-back fashion history in the field of animation, the truth is that the most appropriate way to dress is in a shirt and pants. This may even pretty much seem like the norm in tons of animation studios.
Like, if you can remember watching behind-the-scenes interviews and footage of animated movies, you'd notice the animators wearing such casual and simple clothes, like plaid tops and shorts.
No matter how big and reputable the animation company is, you'll rarely find the animators wearing a suit and tie on the job. Plus, let's face it, it generally just seems out of character.
While there may be some exceptions depending on the animation company you're working for, it's safe to assume you don't need to splurge on a fancy suit to wear as an animator; all the more if you're going to be a freelance animator.
The circumstances almost always depend on your animation studio so if you're working for yourself, you get to decide what to wear. Therefore, unless you actually want a suit and tie, formal wear is out of the question.
So, to answer your question, for animators, it's better to be casual rather than formal.
"How Dressed Down Should I Be As An Animator?"
Now that we've established that you don't need to wear formal attire as an animator, you might find yourself asking how dressed down you can be until it's deemed unacceptable.
Questions like, "Can I only wear pants?"; "Are shorts okay?"; "What kind of shirt can I wear"; "Is it weird to wear tank tops or muscle tops as an animator?" might now be swimming around your head.
Animators are sometimes dressed up in simple jeans and a button-up top, with the first two buttons unbuttoned, but that doesn't mean you can't switch it up. You can opt to pair your button-up top or polo shirt with chinos or slacks or wear a skirt and blouse for a more business casual look.
You can even throw on a blazer if your animation workspace is chilly, as most spaces are.
But if you aren't a fan of business casual and would rather go for more casual outfits to wear, you can always wear blue jeans and a clean round-neck shirt. Thankfully, you're not required to look business-savvy if you don't want to.
As an animator, other clothing pieces you can wear are skirts and shorts, especially if you're a freelancer as you're more likely working in the comfort of your own home.
You can also add in a jacket or cardigan in case it's cold. If you want to have a little fun, you can even wear plaid or printed tops.
If you're employed by a studio or big company, make sure you peruse the guidelines or ask to make sure it's okay to wear shorts or anything else.
On the subject of a tank top, while there's nothing wrong with throwing them on instead of a shirt, we advise you to go for a simple t-shirt instead. The thing is, if you're working for a company, your bosses might not approve of it, especially if you're going to have to meet and speak to clients face-to-face.
Another thing is that it's best to avoid wearing shirts with obscenities and profanities while working as your employers, co-animators, leads, and clients may find you unprofessional. If you're a freelancer, this might even prevent you from landing big and important clients.
What's important here is that you still maintain looking neat and professional; that even if you're wearing a Garfield "I Hate Mondays" tee, you still look like someone your clients would deem respectable.
To make it easier in deciding what to wear, you can ask, "Am I comfortable wearing this while sitting down for long hours?" You might find yourself going through a long workday so it's best to wear comfy clothes.
"What Shoes Should I Wear as an Animator"?
As for shoes, you can honestly wear almost anything.
Even flip-flops and open-toed shoes if you're a freelance animator. In some companies, they allow their animators to wear slippers. Other people think it's even pretty standard to catch animators in casual clothes and slippers.
During the summer, animators typically wear sandals and cargo shorts to keep themselves cool. Just make sure your feet are clean!
At the same time, if you want to wear fancy dress shoes, no one is stopping you. It's honestly not common among animators but there's nothing wrong with wearing it as long as you're comfortable in them.
But to give you a final answer to the question, when working on an animation, it's best if you can wear sneakers like Converse, Vans, or Adidas Stan Smiths so you can be casual while still looking professional, but it's still ultimately up to you.
"What Are Drawing Gloves And Should I Wear Them?"
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Drawing gloves are also called "Animating Gloves" and are used by tons of professional animators. This fashion essential is used by animators in a more practical sense to avoid smudging pencil and shading marks when creating animations traditionally.
But they can also be used to reduce friction when shading and prevent grease stains on your trackpad or screen.
Wearing drawing gloves isn't necessarily a requirement if you're using a digital tablet when animating, but it can definitely make the animation process go by smoother.
Your hands naturally release oil and sweat as you work, not to mention they attract dirt, dust, and other residues, so wearing drawing gloves will offer a protective layer between your hand and your animating surface.
This layer prevents your hand from sticking to the screen and interrupting your progress, affecting your device's "palm rejection" feature. Palm rejection is a feature in most devices and tablets that enables the device to differentiate between a stylus and your fingers. It then accepts only pen input to avoid any unwanted contact.
However, when your fingers are wet with sweat, dust, or other particles, your device's "palm-rejection" may not be able to function effectively, thereby mistaking your pen for fingerprints or creating similar setbacks.
This may result in you having to go back to tweak some elements and repeat some lines, making you lose precious time in the process.
Remember, your animating surfaces need to be kept smooth and clean. Stain marks and other particles can prevent you from making quality animations on time.
"How Should I Wear My Hair?"
Haircuts really depend on your taste because animators don't have an essential haircut to look the part.
Considering how artistic and playful the creative field is, you should wear your hair however you think would best express yourself as an animator. So whether you want a cut like a mohawk, an undercut, or if you want to grow your hair as long as you please, then go ahead.
You can also dye your hair whatever you like as most creative animators love to show off their personality in their hair color.
You can even take inspiration for the design of your animated characters in your own hair color and style, the same way some animated characters were inspired by real people.
On a related note, you don't need to shave your beard or mustache if you have one, but it would be advisable to do so if it appears too messy or untidy. Not only might it drive leads away but it might also interfere with your progress in animating.
"Are There Official Crew Shirts And Do I Need To Wear Them?"
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In some studios and production companies, animators essentially wear crew shirts when working. Fortunately, crew shirts can be paired with the typical animator fashion of casual and comfortable clothes so you won't have to think too much about what to pair them with.
Crew shirts or 'production shirts' are tops with text or logos representing the project or animation company you're working for. Others even have your names printed on them. They're a staple when working for big animation companies but that doesn't mean you're always required to wear them.
On the other hand, if you're working as a freelance animator, then there won't be any crew shirts unless you design one yourself. Clients don't really expect you to have a crew shirt on, so you don't need to design one if you don't want to.
What Else Should Animators Consider When Choosing What To Wear
Besides learning the basic animator fashion essentials listed above, there are a couple of things you can look into and ask when choosing what to wear, such as your current working environment and the fashion of the animation industry as a whole.
1.) What Do Animators Wear In Your Respective Animation Studio?
This generally applies if you're working for a studio or big production company. If you aren't freelancing, then there may be a set of rules or guidelines you'll need to adhere to, so make sure you look into that before deciding what to wear on your first day.
An example may be the wearing of crew shirts during work hours. As mentioned earlier, you may not be required to wear them all the time but that's still dependent on the animation studio you're working for. Some animation companies would prefer you have them on, while others are content as long as you wear a shirt with similar colors.
Though in most cases, animation studios and companies allow their animators to wear what they're comfortable in –– this explains why tons of animators in behind the scene interviews are simply wearing a simple top and cargo shorts.
Furthermore, this question applies to the general environment in the studio. Check how spacious the workspace is and how chilly it can be so you can prepare the right kinds of clothes to keep you up and animating all day.
2) What Do Animators Wear In The Current Animation Industry?
Asking yourself what animators wear in the current industry basically means asking, "What are other animators wearing?"
Of course, you don't have to base what you'll wear on other animators as each person has their own individual style and creativity, but you could always take inspiration from their fashion.
Looking into the current animation fashion can also give you personal advice from more experienced animators as to why they dress a certain way or what makes a clothing piece practical and essential. Basically, learning from them can add to the insight you gain from reading blogs or joining courses in business and animation.
You can do this simply by mingling with other animators, whether online through the different social media platforms, or offline, through events, parties, or referrals.
3) What Do Animators Wear Under Certain Circumstances?
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What do animators wear when meeting with a client? Working for a whole day or half-day? Animating alone or in a company with a group of animators? Those are some circumstances you will have to consider when deciding what to wear.
For example, if you're meeting with a client, you'd like to look neat and professional so you might consider wearing pants instead of shorts or switching up your sandals for a nice pair of shoes.
Or if you're working alone in the comfort of your home, you can more likely wear anything you want. You could wear a tank top and shorts or jeans and a shirt – whichever makes you feel like you'll be able to animate more smoothly. This especially applies to freelance animators.
By looking at all the animator fashion pieces and essentials and considering the different circumstances, you can choose your clothes better and avoid the dilemma of scratching your head and asking yourself, "What Do Animators Wear?"
So What Do Animators Wear?
In conclusion, different professions require different outfits and essentials, and being an animator is no exception. Even if you don't need to be all dressed up and formal, you'll still have to consider the various animator fashion and essentials – from the standard drawing gloves to your most comfortable clothes.
Learning the fashion essentials and dressing the part can also help you optimally design your animated characters and move at a more efficient pace.
Typical animator fashion and essentials include a comfortable top, shorts or jeans, a pair of snug sneakers, and a drawing glove. But you'll also have to consider other factors like the environment of the animation studio, the current fashion of the animation industry, and various other circumstances in choosing what to wear.
And most importantly, it's still dependent on your taste and what you think would best reflect your creativity and personality as an animator.
Don't let yourself be swept up by certain trends in choosing what to wear. Just stick to the essentials and remember the main thing – that your clothes allow you to work smoothly and efficiently.
For more tips on developing your business skills as a freelance animator or animation studio owner, you can join our informative free masterclass, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio!”