The Video Meeting – The New Norm

Just for the record, I DO NOT look like that today, AT ALL! I’m writing this in leopard print joggers and a graphic t-shirt, with ugg slippers, curly airdried hair, up in one of those orchid-like hair clips, and not a stitch of makeup! Thankfully, I do not have a video meeting today, or I might have had to step up my game, at least a smidge…

As I mentioned last week, these are unprecedented times…The Covid19 pandemic has changed EVERYTHING. Staying the f*ck home,  Flattening the curve. Whatever you call it, things are different right now. And while work continues, albeit differently, we need to adapt. Meetings are not happening in person, it’s all on video and high def video at that…

I’ve been virtually styling my work from home clients that are finding themselves in a new upside-down universe. Literally the polar opposite from the rest of us living the #quaratninelife. While we are in pj’s or sweats all day long, they’re on video call after video call. And not just with their officemates  – but with clients and bosses and board members, it’s like having a huge presentation every day, but on video.

Video Meetings vs. Real Life Meetings

And the rules about what to wear to a virtual meeting are different than for an in-real-life meeting, at least in some ways. I mean, some of the rules are the same, like dressing for the audience you’ll be speaking with. It would be weird if you were holding a yoga class and were dressed in a suit. And equally weird if you were meeting with a potential investor but dressed in a ripped sweatshirt. The same rules apply in the virtual meeting world.

But then there are other rules that many of us have never even considered, until now…

The Outfit Rules for Video Meetings

  1. Steer clear of patterns, stripes, and plaids. Small patterns can moire on video and make things look like a funhouse mirror.
  2. Avoid solid white next to the face. White is brighter on camera and can wash out your face.
  3. Opt for solid, bold colors. They translate better on “film”. And give your complexion some oomph…
  4. Keep jewelry quiet. Meaning, no stacks of bracelets that jingle every time you move your arm.
  5. Simple jewelry or one statement piece (either necklace or earrings) can add some interest without distraction.
  6. Fitted pieces work better than oversized ones on video. As someone that loves her tops slouchy, it’s a hard truth – on video slouchy looks sloppy.
  7. Generally, wear what you want from the waist down, UNLESS you might need to stand up, then choose real pants instead of sweats.

Other Rules and Tips

  1. Check your hair, teeth, and makeup before a video meeting – the good and bad of high definition cameras on our phones is that all those little things can and will be seen.
  2. Prop your computer up a bit so the camera angle is straight at or a bit above eye level. Trust me, no one looks their best when the camera is coming from below. It’s all double chins and bats in the cave (boogies in the nose) from that vantage point.
  3. Lighting is important. If possible avoid fluorescent and overhead lights (they make it look like you have dark undereye circles).  Ideally, the light source should be coming from behind the camera onto your face. If the light is behind you, your face will be shadowed and there will be a halo effect.
  4. Pay attention to the background. It should be neutral and uncluttered or kept on brand if at all possible. Some companies are sending WFH employees logo banners or step and repeats to serve as the branded backdrop to their video meetings.
  5. Take a test photo from your computer or do a trial run with a friend or family member,  so you can see ahead of time what it will look like.

WFH (Work From Home) Pieces That Will Look GREAT on a Video Meeting


Pieces That are Great IRL (In Real Life) BUT NOT on a Video Meeting

I hope you all are holding up and staying well. If you’re on Facebook, I’ve started a private FB group called ALL DRESSED UP WITH NOWHERE TO GO, as a community forum for us to connect, share ideas, struggles, and even some laughs during this challenging time.

Sending you all a socially distanced hug!

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Photo: Molly Nook


Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.

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