Best Clothes For the On-Set Life

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Best Clothes For the On-Set Life

This may seem like an odd post compared to typical gear posts, but having the proper clothing can make a huge difference in your comfort when being on set and on your feet all day. Although it took a little time, I have found what works best for me in all situations on-set.


I want to start off with the most important piece of clothing you can have when working on your feet all day. I’ve tried running shoes, cross country shoes and even made the terrible mistake of wearing Vans. Luckily, I came across Merrells on a shoot in Wisconsin and have never looked back.

Not only will these make your feet happy, but it will take off stress on your back and knees. The extra support is especially important when you are shooting day after day. I remember after a 6 day week my feet were pulsing after each day. By day 4 my feet hurt the entire day. I have yet to have that happen with the Merrells.

The best advice I got with these shoes (thank you Twitter family) was to spend the extra money and get waterproof. After one shoot in the rain, it will be well worth the investment. What I love most about these shoes is how comfortable they are all day long. The Vibram soles are a big part of this along with the breathability. It seems the more sets I get on, the more evident that Merrell shoes are a standard. Check out their site and go try on a pair at your local outdoors store. The specific ones I have are the Merrell Moabs.


I didn’t think much of jackets until I was shooting Penn State Football in 18 degree weather. Then there was the time I was standing drenched while holding an umbrella for a camera operator (the perks of being an AC). I guess this falls under the category of live and learn.

After the PSU shoot I told myself I will never be that cold on set again. Even though I was running up and down the field with a Red Scarlet on my shoulder, my body wouldn’t get warm. The next weekend I went outlet shopping. I walked into every store that sold jackets asked the same question “What is your warmest jacket?” I tried on several and landed on an Eddie Bauer Parka. This jacket is awesome! Rated for -20 to 0 degrees (fahrenheit) and completely water proof.

waiting for clouds in the cold

Now the next jacket I needed was something waterproof that I could wear in much warmer conditions. I thought one of my jackets would be fine, but after 10 minutes I was soaked. Before my next project I started shopping for a cheap waterproof jacket with no luck. Didn’t realize a good waterproof shell goes for $100 and up. Luckily I came across a sale at a North Face store the day of filming and got myself the Venture Jacket. Retails at $100 but so worth it. Not only is it completely waterproof, but it is lightweight and folds up so you can easily store it anywhere. Because of this I take it on every shoot.

shooting in the rain

General Clothing

Each set and crew is a little different but generally jeans and collard shirt works everywhere that I’ve been. Some shoots will be more casual and you can rock a tee shirt and jeans. Personally, I go for a comfortable pair of blue jeans and plaid. For those new to the field and set life, don’t hesitate to ask who is hiring you about dress code. It may seem silly but you don’t want to ruin a first impression but what you wore on set.

crew on roof

I get a lot of students asking me this question on what to wear or even what should I buy to wear on set. Most likely you don’t need to buy anything right away but a clean pair of jeans, comfortable shoes and a collard shirt will be enough to get you started. As you work on more sets you get an idea of what the crew wears and you can make purchases based on that.

I hope this gives a little insight to new-comers on the proper attire for set life. If you have any more questions just ask!


  1. MrTbonemain
    May 2, 2014

    Great post. It sounds like you shoot a lot in colder weather. I would add for warmer weather:

    Caraloha Clothing- Its a bit pricey, but their sales pitch of 3 degrees cooler and moisture wicking rings true. They make Polos, Socks, and even underwear. Its pricey because its made from Bamboo so its a green venture, but everything works. I have a lot of this and its worth the money.

    Zip off Kakis – These are great in desert environments/ or winter in the Caribbean where its freezing in the morning and in the course of a few hours jumps up to over 33c, so with a quick jump, you can be in shorts in a flash.. plus Pockets!!

    Good hat – Depending on your choice of style and how you react to the sun, hats not only help you see better when outside, they can keep the sun off your face and neck and also rain or snow if thats the way things go, I think they are essential. I have a full brim collapsable Australian kangaroo hat that goes with me everywhere as well as a ball cap.

    A handkerchief is also useful for many things, I always have a few in my bag. And always dress in layers if you can.

    On the colder weather front, a pair of shooters gloves can be helpful too – fingers are thin enough you can feel buttons and such, but they keep your finders from losing heat.

    These can be applied to any position on set.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Rob Ruscher
      May 5, 2014

      Nice! I like all those suggestions. Will definitely look into that. It’s key to be warm!

  2. JD Langley
    August 22, 2016

    Definitely look at the clothing from First Tactical and 5.11.

    The shirts and the pants are Amazingly durable and the pants even have areas for knee pad inserts. Check em out.


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