Dress for Zoom

As we will continue to be communicating for the foreseeable future via online means with family, friends and colleagues, I thought it worthwhile sharing my experiences of the impact clothes and colour have on the message we communicate. Having spent many hours in meetings and client consultations I have observed first-hand the power and impact of our clothes on the image we project via virtual media.

There is endless advice available regarding the camera angle, lighting, background colours or images when communicating with others online. However, there is not much advice devoted to what to wear. There is a tendency that anything goes, and some behave as if we become invisible when communicating virtually. Not true!

styling tips for looking good online zoom

Care and attention to what you wear, and the colours close to your face are even more important when communication online versus in person. The fairly low-resolution cameras on most of our mobile devices are not the best when it comes to adding colour to our complexions, especially if you are in a fairly dim room with a pale background. 

I often mention that, as older women, we must be conscious not to collude with society suggesting we become invisible as we age. The colours and types of garments we wear online therefore need to be chosen with care and consideration. Not to mention the vital ingredient of makeup to add colour and definition to our face. The choice of stronger colours are therefore even more important in online communication than in person.

Some practical advice includes avoiding anything too fitted as it may become creased. You may also feel uncomfortable in it for an extended period of time and subconsciously communicate a sense of discomfort. Furthermore, it is worth noting that certain gestures, such as pulling and readjusting uncomfortable clothes are amplified online.

By all means be comfortable, but comfort does not equate to being slouchy. Remember, we behave accordingly to what we wear. If you feel invisible, you will become invisible; if you wear sloppy clothes your posture will be sloppy.

On the other hand, if you are wearing a well-fitted outfit from top to bottom, you will behave accordingly and with confidence. It is irrelevant whether those on the other side of the camera have sight of your leggings, tracksuit bottoms and slippers, your body language will communicate this in the way you carry yourself.

Remember my mantra of accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! A well-chosen piece of jewellery or scarf has the power to add a pop of colour and transform a plain outfit into one that communicates harmony as well as expressing your unique and individual style.

Finally, some tips on pretty obvious behaviour that many seem to ignore when communicating online. I mentioned above that behaviours are amplified on virtual communication, so avoid eating or chewing, fidgeting and above all constantly readjusting your device which is akin to being in a boat on a stormy sea! Where possible, choose a space where you will be undisturbed for the duration of your call and not have a constant stream of family members going about normal household activities.

Electronic backgrounds are best avoided as they can be distracting creating distorted images or elongate both you and your background due to inadequate broadband speeds. Keep it simple is the best advice when it comes background. It is much more complementary for you to be the focus of attention through your choice of colour and clothes.

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