By: Josh Maxwell Header Photo by: Lillian Reitz featuring Sarah Estrada
Fashion is something that will always define us for who we are. Whenever you put on an outfit, you’re trying to convey something to the world around you. Whether it be sophisticated, edgy, chic, or bohemian your style will always leave a lasting impression on whoever you cross paths with. This principle is still apparent even in the age of Zoom meetings.
With Covid-19 still posing a significant threat to the country, many have switched to online video calls. Though this has proven an adjustment for some, many have actually come to love this style of engagement. When making video calls the rules of fashion composition have made a slight change. Due to the nature of the call, individuals only worry about their appearance from the waist up. But, just because your new interactions might be contained within your computer screen, doesn’t mean you have to forgo your style. We chatted with Alyssa Barrera-Mason, Sarah Estrada, and Liza Wisner, three rather stylish, local business women, to find out how they’ve adapted their wardrobe for the era of Zoom.
When engaging in a Zoom call, wardrobe actually plays a more important role in presenting yourself than if you were having an in-person meeting. Alyssa Barrera-Mason, Executive Director of Downtown Corpus Christi, knows just how important it is to look your best when presenting yourself to colleagues and leading meetings. For Barrera-Mason, forgoing her usual bold patterns was one of the first adjustments she made to her attire while working from home.
“I switched to cotton dresses, and solid colors just so I could have a certain type of contrast in my meetings.” Barrera-Mason said.
Skincare became more of a priority for Barrera-Mason as well. When logging on to your Zoom session, your face is front and center! Barrera-Mason realized her skin needed a little extra love.
“I have a very high resolution webcam,” she said. “So my skin became more important to manage and I could tell [even more so virtually] if it was dehydrated.” Barrera-Mason said.
Wardrobe stylist Sarah Estrada was also provided insight on how virtual meeting wardrobe and stressed that even when done virtually, meetings should still require the utmost form of professionalism. “I think it is really important that you find out from your higher ups exactly what they’re looking for,” Estrada said. She went on to note that taking a cue from what your bosses might be wearing in their video chats might help you know what they expect from you out of Zoom meeting attire.
However transitioning to at home meetings doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice your sense of
style and Estrada stresses this fact. “Make sure you’re sticking true to yourself, and letting the little pieces of your personality [still] shine through,” Estrada said.
Liza Wisner, Talent Development Expert and founder of PowerUp.org, also provided a few tips on perfecting the Zoom meeting etiquette.
“A majority of your communication comes from body language, which is fifty-five percent, that’s more than half,” Wisner said. With so much of our communication methods revolving around body language, continuing to dress for success will allow you to feel confident when going into a meeting.
Wisner also pointed out that video calls are more meticulous than people think. When gearing up for your video meetings, it can be easy to underestimate just how important your online presence may be to others. She mentions that what you see on your screen might look different to someone else with a lower bandwidth.
“A person’s eye is different from the camera’s eye,” she said. “If you’re wearing an outfit that has tiny little flowers on it then you may look pixelated [to someone else] if they have low bandwidth,” Wisner said. Because of this, similar to Barrera-Mason sticking with solid colors, making sure your outfit has more subtle patterns might make the world of a difference.
Understanding your facial expressions, meeting background, and outfit are all just as important as knowing your meeting agenda. When gearing up for a zoom meeting it is very important to make sure that you’re leaving a lasting professional impression.
“Part of giving a presentation is knowing how your outfit looks. Every platform has different options of what the screen sees,” Wisner said. “So if you are using a new platform, rehearse ahead of time.”
In many situations coordinating your outfit means everything, and Zoom calls are no different. Composition can make you stand out or blend in with your background if you’re not careful.
Wisner also mentions communication in video meetings is part of the makeup of how you present yourself. Speaking clearly and articulately are even more important when you’re communicating virtually.
“Ninety-five percent of my job is virtual now, she said. “So managing my team and [other daily tasks] are handled through virtual meetings. Being able to communicate clearly and making sure my intentions are understood and heard is my top priority.”
All of this is to say, next time you’re about to hop on Zoom for a meeting, make sure you’ve taken a closer look at your style composition. You may not think floral prints or bright pastels will be a problem in person, but virtually it can be a different story. By taking these tips into consideration, we hope you’re able to elevate your work from home wardrobe. And, of course, as long as you’re staying true to yourself and your style, there’s no stopping what you’ll be able to achieve!