The working world has dramatically changed since COVID-19, and chances are, the way you dress for work has, too. With working remotely being more prevalent than ever (along with the fact that it’s likely here to stay), it’s making some of us rethink the way that we present ourselves to colleagues.
Being in front of a webcam, in your home, is a whole different situation than being in a boardroom or cubicle. With the notion that no one will see you front the waist down, it’s easy to think that pajama bottoms (or underwear!) will do the trick. Consider this Zoom mishap, however…
While we’re all about being yourself and feeling comfortable, we at Online Video Mastery feel that you may want to dress somewhat prudently for your next Zoom company meeting or virtual classroom. So we’ve included some practical tips here to help you think about how you can look your best while still reaping the benefits of working from home.
Choose comfortable, easy-care fabrics
Working from home gives us the ability to have a level of comfort that we may not otherwise have in a more formal office setting. But comfy and casual doesn’t have to mean old t-shirts and pajamas. Instead, show your colleagues and boss that you are still serious about the work by looking smart in breathable, wrinkle-free or wrinkle-resistant fabrics that are easy to wash and care for. A few wrinkle-resistant fabrics we love include lyocell and Tencel.
Look at this women’s “drapey” shirt from Nordstrom for example.
Here’s one of Nordstrom’s conservative men’s polos.
Consider colors and patterns
As a creative studio, we are all about expressing individuality with colors and patterns. However, there is a balance to be found between “safe” neutrals and bright, wild hues.
When you’re on camera, we’ve found that rich jewel tones (royal blue, emerald, red, for example) flatter and show best. Check out these polos on Lands’ End.
Are patterns okay? It depends. If it’s a small, tight pattern (such as thin pinstripes, or small checks), these can appear to move and dance on camera and have a dizzying effect. A larger pattern, or one that is blended into the background this example doesn’t present this problem.
Consider the background you’ll be sitting against as well, and try to avoid wearing the same color (for example, a white shirt against a white background), or run the risk of a “floating head” effect.
Consider the formality of the meeting
Just because most of us are now working via Zoom doesn’t mean that meetings are one-size-fits-all. Different meeting situations call for different ensembles.
For example, for a meeting with colleagues you frequently work with, much more casual (but smart) work attire could suffice. For a meeting with a client, prospect, manager or executive, on the other hand, you may still want to put on a blazer and tie or elegant blouse to recognize the formality of the situation and show that you’re ready to do business. Much of this will depend on the nature of your business as well, so use your best judgment.
Do you have to also wear slacks, skirts, or dress shoes? That depends. We’re guessing that most of you will be seated during the meeting and can get away with something more casual on the bottom. Consider cutting off your video if you have to get up for a few minutes for a break, and for heaven’s sake, put on pants. 🙂
Highlight your personality
As this is a time to loosen up a bit while we work from home, we feel it’s a great time to throw in a little of your own unique personality into your work style, or even reinvent it altogether as you feel compelled. This can be done easily and subtly in the details, such as with small patterns on a shirt or with jewelry. If you’re new to this, we recommend starting small in scale before venturing out, as this will be less overwhelming on camera and likely better to suit your work situation.
Check out this example among Nordstrom’s women’s shirts.
Take a look at this cool Jurassic Creatures print for men from MTailor.
You don’t have to look perfect
No one is perfect, and honestly, we feel that to some degree, everyone is missing the human factor and connection that online meetings often lack. So don’t worry about wrinkles, perfect makeup, or having every single hair in place. Just making the effort is what really counts, and everyone will appreciate you for that but – more importantly – they’ll be happy to be connecting and talking with you.
Are you dealing with Zoom fatigue, or wondering about meeting security? Are attendees’ dogs barking and driving you nuts? We’ll be glad to help! Pop your question in a comment below …
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