Hi, I was there last night and I’m wondering if you by chance found a shirt? It is a mesh top with zebra stripes, black and white?
Yes. I was dancing, got too hot, and I took it off. Tied it around my waist. I had a camisole on underneath, don’t worry. The problem is I can’t find it this morning. Would you mind taking a look around the bar for me? I came straight home from there, it’s the only place it could be.
Ah, yeah. Your shirt isn’t here.
Phone slams down.
I paid a lot of money for that shirt and this was only the second time I had worn it. Ugh! He clearly doesn’t understand.
This was after a night of heavy dancing at my local dive bar/dance hall, The Comet Club, in the Marina when I was in my 20’s.
You see, despite what the bartender at The Comet Club thought, shirts are important and we should never underestimate the power of a good one. I still miss that overpriced, zebra, mesh, top whose life was cut way too short all those years ago.
Shirts have never been more important than in this age of Zoom calls. We Zoom for work, interviews, school meetings for our kids, and social get-togethers. Trying to dress for all of these, well it’s exhausting.
Looking good from the waist up remains a priority as working remotely and the high volume of Zoom meetings that comes with, continues. Today, I’ll provide a few tips and tricks for choosing the correct clothing for your calls so you can look professional, not distract your audience, and all while remaining stylish.
Try to keep it simple and clean so people can focus on your face and the topic at hand. It’s different than meeting in person, for several reasons, but mostly because they are only taking in a part of you and your outfit, so make it easy for them to do so. When someone has on a boldly patterned blouse, bold necklace, big earring, bright lipstick—you don’t know where to look, it’s distracting.
To pattern or not to pattern?
Solids display the best through video. If you really want to wear a pattern, make sure the pattern is small scale and not too busy. Otherwise, it can clash with your background. Never had to dress to match your background before did you? This is a modern-day style challenge for sure.
Make it dull.
Not the conversation, the material of your top. Nothing too shiny, it doesn’t translate well on video and will distract the person on the other end of the call.
Show ‘em some skin (but not too much).
The neckline is important on a video call. Don’t wear anything with a high neckline like a turtleneck or blouse that ties at the neck. etc. When you can’t see any skin at your neck, it can look like your head is floating. Not what you’re going for. A collared shirt with a button or two undone is a better option, but you don’t want anything too low cut for a professional meeting.
Make sure you are comfortable sitting in the clothing you are wearing. If you have a blouse that buttons, confirm it doesn’t gap open when you sit (commonly known as gaposeous). You don’t want to be tugging at your shirt the entire time, you want to feel confident and comfortable.
The lower half.
There is debate about what to wear on the bottom half of your body. In my opinion, having on a complete outfit from head to toe, makes you feel more confident and professional. This is important if you are presenting or interviewing. Some like the option of wearing their PJ’s or yoga pants on the bottom and professional attire on top. Do what works for you. Make sure you are comfortable with what you have on in case you have to stand up in the middle of your Zoom call and your entire outfit will be shown on screen. Nobody wants to see your pretty work blouse with your plaid PJ bottoms.
I pulled together a few ideas for tops that meet all of this criteria for a Zoom call. I will admit, it was hard to find solid shirts or light patterns, that are not shiny, with a regular neckline. But I have a few options for visual reference and I’m sure you have more than you think in your closet as well. Take a look below and click on the images for more details.