Ah, the petulant and visually volatile Zoom camera.
In one instance you bear the resemblance of a perfectly contoured Kardashian, and in the next a striking similarity to a ruddy Christmas ham - natural lighting be damned! While you cannot always perfectly remedy the poor lighting that befalls you during a Zoom meeting, there is one thing that does not have to be bogged down with a bad case of the Zoomies: your style.
The beauty of Zoom meetings is that you can control and stage exactly what and how much you want your viewer to see. While it seems simple enough to throw on a tired tee shirt and join a meeting, why settle? Be your best self, even when you're virtual and pants remain optional.
Let Your Background Sing
When it comes to Zoom meetings, not all outfits are created equal. Heed the ancient wisdom of Zach Braff circa Garden State 2004 lest you want to blend perfectly into your living room wall and win over your peers by threatening them with your ominous presence as a floating head. While you may have lost the burden of worrying about a bottom half during your Zoom meetings, remember, your outfit configuration now must take the background of your office into consideration.
I recommend using simple neutrals so as not to overwhelm your viewers, but you’ll also want to choose a neutral that offers the most contrast from your skin tone. The simple work of creating contrast will create visual dimension in how you appear in your Zoom meeting. Olive skin tones love emeralds and forest greens; fair skin tones play well with browns, burgundys and blacks; and darker and tan skin tones flex their powers with creams and off-whites.
V for Vendetta (Against Floating Heads)
With your presence reduced to a foot or less on your laptop screen, stay away from high-necked or neckline-blocking separates. Consider turtlenecks, crew necks and button-ups your sworn enemies on Zoom. And while choosing these options may not cause you to blend in with the background wall art, you will still manage to create some floating head vibrations.
Instead, opt for V-necked tops that sit an inch or two below your collar bone. With limited space afforded to you, your primary goal is to elongate your frame, even if it is just your top half. You can get away with somewhat higher necklines if you are using a portrait-view mobile Zoom meeting, but landscape-view laptop and desktop Zoom meetings will shrink your neck (and frame) down to size. Fight back by showing off that radical clavicle and let the V-neck out!
Strip The Stripes
I am a sworn ally to the stripe family and have even adopted many to live permanently in my closet, but when it comes to Zoom meetings stripes shall remain public enemy number one. Large bold stripes can create a distancing effect while thin pin stripes appear to strobe and dance on camera, promising your viewers a bit of dizzying vertigo.
But what about fun patterns like herringbone, houndstooth, ikat, and paisley? As much as it pains me to say it (as I do love a fun pattern), patterns must take a permanent back seat in your Zoom calls. Patterns occupy visual space, and with your prime realty already limited on Zoom, your goal is limit visual distraction as much as possible. Reach for neutrals instead, and onlooking eyes will thank you.
The Perfect Boyfriend
There is nothing kinder on the eyes than a polished boyfriend blazer, particularly on Zoom. The fit is roomier than a standard fitted blazer, but its structure and form is perhaps the ideal fit for a Zoom meeting: towing the healthy middle ground between fitted and oversized. I am particularly a fan of this rouched-sleeve boyfriend blazer from Express that offers a feminine open-shawl collar, giving you space to showcase some work-appropriate clavicle in your bottom layer.
The boyfriend blazer’s long lapels work a bit of magic in Zoom meetings as they draw the eyes vertically and lengthen your frame. So while your peers stumble pant-less into meetings in armpit stained tees, reach for a boyfriend blazer paired with a neutral V-necked tee instead before hitting that “Join” button.
Own The Zoom Room
With a few simple style tweaks, you will never again have to face the ominous fate of Zach Braff and live a life as a floating head in your future Zoom calls. To master the visuals of a video call, remember that less is more: less fabric, less pattern, and less covering of your gorgeous neckline. Your peers will sit dumbfounded and pant-less wondering, “How does she manage to get better looking with every call?” It will be our little secret.
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