Zoom and other video conference apps (Google Meet, Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime) are a huge part of our work lives now, but how do we up our fashion game for this new online work lifestyle? I gave Business Insider some of my thoughts about this twist in dressing for the (now virtual) office. Here’s a tease from the first article of the series that will run this summer; you can read more here, and I have even more ideas below.
“This is a time for people to add more of who they are and what they stand for into their wardrobe; they get a chance to show themselves as a more well-rounded person with a full lifestyle,” Silicon Valley fashion lifestylist Victoria Hitchcock told Business Insider.
“We need to remember that those of us who are working are fortunate, and to show that we understand that there are bigger issues than how we look on the screen right now,” she continued. “So hitting that balance between putting thought into what you wear, showing respect for your audience, and those who are not so fortunate now, without turning yourself out too perfectly, is a way of communicating that you ‘get it.'”
We all know how crazy it is to run business meetings with international associates, potential partners, or even the boss, from our dining room table. How do you talk about important business transactions without wearing sport coats and silk blouses, and yet come across as professional and competent?
For me, it’s all about the language of dressing. Think about self-expression without going overboard—add a little personality with a subtle or playful print (polka dots, umbrellas, summer themes). Choose fabrics that are comfortable, subtle, and soft-looking without being lifeless. Maintain a little structure in your clothing, even though this is a completely unstructured time.
Put some thought into accessories. A clean, leather-banded watch with maybe a personal, colorful insignia ring for men. For women, a necklace, a ring in a flattering jewel-tone color, or earrings purchased on a special trip that have a story but are not too blingy.
And for heaven’s sake, dress from head to toe. Both for your own self-respect and because you never know when something unexpected is going to force you to stand up.
Looks to completely avoid: first, the workout wear look (whether you really worked out or just threw it on). Athleisure wear doesn’t have a spot in these professional venues. It looks like you’re in your pajamas and it’s out. On the other extreme, don’t overdo it with the perfectly pulled-together look. My mantra is to be perfectly imperfect. And, no matter what, no hats.
How can we help you develop your own virtual deconstructed office?