Now we're in the unfortunate situation of Coronavirus having really taken hold, the vast majority of people are working from home. That means we'll all be doing far more video conference calls via Skype and Zoom etc for the time being.
So, do you rock up in your home clothes for the call or don a suit and tie? Neither, but just how do you strike that balance between looking too casual (it could look as if you're doing no work) and too formal (who are you kidding that you're working from home in a suit)?
Here's some things to take into consideration when you're next on camera during a call.
Knitted blazer or a cardigan jacket
A knitted cardigan with a blazer type collar is perfect to bridge the gap when you're working remotely. You can chuck it on if a client or your boss wants to suddenly Skype you and it’ll instantly smarten up your t-shirt but not look weirdly out of place when you’re working from home. The knit is informal, but the collar shape gives it a more tailored look than a regular cardigan.
Navy virgin wool cardigan - Hugo Boss at Mr Porter - £270
Colours and collars
Have you ever thought about what colours suit you? Well now's the time to figure out what makes you look healthy and vibrant and what drains you. When all someone can see is your head and shoulders, plus the lighting may not be super flattering, it makes sense to ensure the colour you're wearing is. I've heard some people say that pure white or black are not good choices, as the camera may auto-adjust the brightness to accommodate them and leave you looking washed out, so it's best to opt for mid tones.
Think about your collar shapes too and go for something with more structure for a more formal look (ie: if you're running a webinar) or a button down shape suits most people and looks neat. If you have a round face, avoid wearing a club collar (rounded edges) which is best suited to soften an angular face. A spread collar will be better for a long face, rather than a point collar which will further elongate it.
'Anton' burgundy button down shirt - Norse Projects at Harvey Nichols - £130
Textures and details
Some jumpers can look a little too woolly and homely, so make sure you go for smoother textures for a little more polish. Choose a neat fit to give a flattering silhouette and avoid floppy fabrics or open weave linen mixes which look more casual. If you're talking to colleagues then you can go one step down from your office wear but not into weekend wear. Details at the collar like this striped neckline or a polo style knit give a focal point and are a nice touch for a video call.
Dark navy merino wool sweater with artist's stripe collar - Paul Smith - £180
Your necklines are more important when your head and shoulders are all people can see, so take this into consideration when deciding what to put on. If you're wearing a t-shirt, ensure it fits neatly around the neck, so you don't have chest hair (or back hair) peeking out the top.....not very professional looking. Opt for plain block colours or wide stripes, rather than logos and prints.
'Melrose' pigment dyed army green t-shirt - Reiss - £25
Just in case you have to get up during the video call, put something on other than scruffy track pants or pyjama bottoms! You could stick to jeans but maybe some trousers like these ones would also be a good option? They're made in a jersey fabric but have a tailored appearance and they'll be comfy enough to sit around in, whilst being smart enough to show if you do need to get up during your call. The perfect addition to your home working wardrobe in fact.
Navy travel trousers - Hamilton & Hare - £140
A couple of other points
Double up on your grooming regime when working at home – if you’re doing video calls, people only have your face to concentrate on and you don’t want them to be studying your overgrown beard or the hair sprouting from your ears instead of listening to what you’re saying.
Think about your background - make sure your outfit doesn't blend into it and avoid having anything messy behind you. Best to choose a plain wall or something with some art or plants. Be careful if you're sitting in front of a bookshelf that the person/people you're talking to don't get distracted by the book titles and only have on display the things you want people to see.....maybe time to hide those self help books?!
"The tips and ideas are brilliant and I will definitely be using these when shopping now and in the future. I now have the confidence to know what my style is and how to pick it out to have a well dressed look and not just thrown together."
If you're struggling with what to wear on video calls whilst working at home, get in touch to see if I can help with a Skype wardrobe edit or online shopping or styling session. I'll also be posting up details on the website very soon.
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