When you work from home, you have the luxury of wearing what you want — most of the time. Those ultra-cozy lounge clothes may not do the job if you have a video call scheduled with your staff, coworkers, or supervisors. Sure, in some cases, going the casual route may be completely appropriate, especially if you work in a generally creative setting where an “anything goes” vibe dominates the environment.
But if yours is a more reserved, corporate workplace, then it’s crucial to make the right impression and show that you take your position just as seriously when you’re at home as you do when you’re at the office. While you don’t necessarily have to wear a suit or the structured knit dresses you might normally choose — and you certainly don’t need to wear heels! — you should definitely make it a priority to add some polish to your look for a video call. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
The beauty of video conferences is that you can easily lend the impression of being in full professional mode — even if that’s not quite a reality. To look presentable without leaving your comfort zone behind, slip into a pair of your most comfortable pants. Then take a look at your selection of women’s blouses.
This is where you need to focus a bit more of your attention. Something with a higher collar lends your look a bit more of a conservative edge, while a slightly lower neckline allows you to show off a statement necklace. Think about your company when determining the right tone to set. Would you wear it to the office? If yes, then it’s fine — but if you’d think twice, then you should probably steer clear unless your company has given you the green light to dress however you please. Your environment may have changed, but the business’s values remain the same no matter what.
You don’t necessarily think about getting all dressed up when you work from home. It’s easy to settle into the groove of wearing those comfortable and oh-so-stretchy leggings and workout T-shirts. You can stick with the leggings during your video conference, but you should aim for something less sporty on top.
One option? Slip on a colorful shell or tank beneath a structured blazer. The effect is instantly more pulled together and reserved, and no one has to know you look like you’re headed to the gym on your lower half. Another way to bring this outfit together is to wear a long and lean cardigan over a simple top. Even a T-shirt will suffice, so long as your cardigan is there to ground your look a little. Add a light necklace to add a bit of polish to the mix.
Home isn’t really the place to wear the wool number that you typically reserve for the board room and important meetings with clients. But it’s a great place to experiment with a lighter weight choice, like a fit and flare dress. The beauty of this style is that it’s inherently a bit more casual, but not as much as, for example, a T-shirt dress.
It’s also easy to dress up or down. You might opt for a solid color, such as navy, red, or black, and add a chain necklace or a pair of elegant earrings to breathe new life into your look. A patterned style is also a great choice if you want to shake up your look. If you love bright colors, steer clear of anything too loud, as it might grab too much attention when you’re sharing time with the team. Shades like blue, purple, and peach are all flattering options.
There’s also the option of really dressing up, from head to toe. Just as there’s no one to stop you from wearing sweats, yoga pants, leggings, or joggers, there’s also no reason you can’t swap all of those for something far more polished, like a sleek midi skirt to pair with a silky blouse.
Why might this be an option as opposed to, say, the dressed-down look you prefer for your work-from-home life? Consider the nature of the meeting. Important conversations demand serious attitudes, and your clothing reflects that to some degree. When you’re fully professionally dressed, you may feel a sense of elevated confidence as you delve into the meeting. Even something as unexpected as a structured jacket or a blouse you never wear at home could impact your demeanor and motivation during the call.
Of course, your outfit is only as good as your lighting situation. Avoid sitting in front of anything bright, like a light or a window. Both can hurt your image and make you look dark and grainy on camera. Stick with a flattering viewpoint, too. Try not to talk down to the camera, but instead position it at about your height, or a little bit above that so that you can angle it lower for a flattering look. These little steps can make all the difference!