Strategically Dress for Skype
I was recently reminiscing with a client whom I helped dress for her first in a series of weekly webinars. We both remembered a time in business – not too long ago, in fact – when face-to-face meetings were always conducted in person. Ah, those were the good old days! With an eye toward making meetings more efficient, schedule and travel expense friendly, these days more and more meetings, interviews, and other business interactions are happening in a virtual way. So how do you strategically dress for skype of other virtual video meetings?
When thinking about what to wear for these types of engagements, it’s important to remember that a business meeting is still a business meeting, regardless of the medium. You’ll still want to consider the situation and desired outcome and present yourself accordingly. That said, there are some additional factors to take into account when you’re only being seen from the waist up.
Color: The camera picks up certain colors better than others. Stay away from red, as it’s the hardest color for video to reproduce. Blue, on the other hand, is the most easily rendered color for video and is usually a flattering choice for most. Other colors that work universally well are a medium turquoise or mid-range lavender.
Also keep in mind the colors of your background, as you’ll want to dress in colors that are complementary, but not the same, to avoid blending into your background.
Fabrics: Small, complicated, bold, or tight patterns such as checks, stripes, polka dots or plaids, tend to strobe on camera. Solids are a more camera-friendly choice. In addition, the camera misses nothing! To look-wrinkle free, choose garments in wools, cottons or jersey. You’ll also want to avoid thick, wooly, and overly textured fabrics. Not only do they add extra bulk (and who wants that?), the subliminal message is casual.
Miscellaneous: To keep your focus on what you will be saying, rather than what you are wearing, make sure everything fits and works well together. You may want to think twice before wearing a brand new or never worn clothing combination. To have an idea of how you will look on camera, have a friend take a photo of you wearing your camera-ready outfit in the area where you will be taping.
Accessories: Avoid large, complicated, or dangling jewelry as it can be a distraction. Keep your accessories small to medium in scale, with little to no shine.
Makeup: To keep your skin looking it’s most vibrant, make sure to drink plenty of water; use moisturizer; and get lots of sleep a few days in advance. Apply cover up or concealer if needed. On camera we often look like a paler version of ourselves, so consider adding color by way of a bronzer, blush, or lipstick. For maximum impact, apply your makeup with a slightly heavier hand than usual.
Hair: Style hair off your face to avoid shadows. Choose a low maintenance hairstyle that is easy to style, so you won’t want to be ‘fussing’ on camera.
Finally, just a note on posture. Rather than focus on sitting up straight, think about the amount of physical space you take up and remember to “claim your space.” When you think about your posture in these terms, not only will your back straighten, more of you will be visible. When more of you is in view, this promotes the feeling that you and the other participants are in the same room.
With these few simple tips, I have no doubt that you’ll be ready for your close up. Lights, camera, action!
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