getting-dressed

How to Dress for Your Next Video Conference

Cameron Smith
April 14, 2017

Your first crucial choice of the day can have a pivotal impact on its outcome. No, it’s not whether to have that breakfast burrito or not– but rather what should you wear?

As technologies improve, it is even more crucial to project yourself in the best possible light. What better way to do that than by dressing the part?

Video conferences are steadily increasing as a preferred method of business communications, gaining popularity within the fields of education, health, and politics, to name a few. Within the business sector alone, 76% of a surveyed 1,205 business decision-makers are using video conferences as their primary method of communication.

With these numbers steadily increasing, how you look can be just as important as what you say. The time is now to understand the importance of following dressing etiquette. Here are five ways to dress for success with your next video conference.

Dress Conservatively

A little bit of mystery can go a long way, especially when conducting a video conference. Wearing revealing clothing can be distracting to your viewer. As the speaker, regardless of your gender, you will want your viewer to listen to your message rather than focusing on your appearance.

Items of clothing that should be exempt from your #OOTD (outfit of the day) selfie include:

  • Tank tops of all kinds (spaghetti strap, camisoles, racerback, athletic, muscle tops, halters, etc.)
  • Low-cut tops (which also includes the extremely popular men’s deep v-neck tees)
  • Button-ups that are unbuttoned quite considerably (think Fabio)
  • Crop tops and tube tops
  • Anything sheer or with mesh (you may want to leave those raver tops at home)

Dress Comfortably

Confidence is key—dressing comfortably can put you and your viewer at ease and create less distractions while on your video conference.

For example, a collar that is too tight will have you tugging at it, either consciously or unconsciously, and create a distraction to the person on the other side of the screen. The same can be said about any item of clothing that is ill-fitted by being too tight, too loose, too big, or too small.

While it might not be obvious to you, your discomfort will be picked up by your viewer. Their concentration should be on the video conference, not your poor wardrobe choices. As entertaining as it might be to your viewer to guess when the buttons will pop off from stress, it won’t send the best message.

Dress For The Occasion

Where you are can affect what you wear and it can affect the end results of your video conference if there is confusion about the level of dress. Based on the context of your meeting, you and your viewer should mimic one another in order to lessen confusion.

For instance, if it’s a corporate business setting, then dress business formal. But how do you do it? It could be dress pants or a skirt, a structured blazer, or even a tie. There’s no need to go over the top and wear a tuxedo or ball gown.

In fact, in more recent fashion, scarves have been appropriated as formal neck attire. If the environment is more relaxed, the neck pieces and structured blazer can be replaced with casual wear. Both pullover sweaters and cardigans are appropriate choices.

Stiff button-down shirts can be exchanged for less structured tops. The dress pant or suit skirt can be replaced with a khaki or even a formal jean, depending on the work place. It is important to remember to mirror the surroundings of your viewer, as it will create a visual understanding that will further enhance the conversation via video conference.

But remember, mirror to a point. Try not to wear the exact same outfit, as it will become an episode of “Who Wore It Best”.

Dress to Stand Out

Color

Colors are important visual keys when video conferencing, but remember, both overly fluorescent and extremely dark colors do not translate well. These colors tend to come out blurry and may interfere with image quality. Typically, the colors that show up the best are mid-tone blues and greens.

Patterns

Another important tidbit to remember is to avoid wearing colors that are similar to your background. For example, if your background is white, and you wear a white shirt on your video conference, it may appear that you are a floating head.

Choosing the right colors can also work to your advantage by illuminating your face without the use of artificial lighting. You should stick to colors that are your favorite, as these colors typically look the best on you and boost your confidence level.

It’s also advised to avoid patterns entirely. Patterns become a distraction to your viewer and, like stripes, appear distorted on a video conference and can overpower facial features, distracting your viewer. A good tip to keep in mind when choosing a pattern is to try not to look like a wild animal—or a grandma’s couch!

Dress to Impress

How you dress can have an enormous impact on your audience. An impression is usually made within the first 30 seconds, and is very highly tied to dress alone. This is extremely important when dressing for your video conference.

Certain visual cues, such as stains and wrinkles, should not be visible on your outfit during your video conference. These will create a distraction, as well as leave a negative impression. In the event of a mishap, there should be a backup plan put into place. This could include an alternative outfit nearby, or a Tide-to-go pen, or even access to a steam machine. You never know, your trusty tools could make you the most popular person in the office!

These five rules are simple to follow and can effectively increase communication via video conference. Impression management should be put into effect in order to come across as knowledgeable, confident, and relaxed.

Engagement from the viewer should be the primary focus, and nothing should distract them from the message that is attempted to be conveyed. Make the video conference’s message memorable, not a bad outfit.