Does Fashion Matter in a Virtual Meeting?

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer
How fashion forward should you be when it comes to video meetings?

As virtual workplaces are quickly becoming the norm for many people, so are the video meetings. After doing this for over a year and a half now, we still need a little guidance to get us past wearing pajama bottoms and a plain tee shirt into professional video meetings with clients, coworkers and bosses. So what is the style for virtual meetings and why does it matter? Let’s dive into that today.

Why Does it Matter What I Wear?

When all of this started back in 2020 we had a bit of a free pass with wardrobe, simply because we were all confused and clinging to our sanity. Virtual work environments were new to us and took a little getting used to (a lot for some of us) – it was a very fast transition. Now we’ve had time to get acclimated and so naturally it is time to step it up. 

Appearance has always mattered in the professional world. This doesn’t mean that it is a competition to see who is wearing the best labels or has the most creative fashion – I mean, if you have a knack for constructing amazing ensembles, rock it! The point is that what you wear communicates, so you must have a strategy. 

If you come to a meeting, especially a virtual meeting where it is clearly in your home and it’s very easy to be casual, it speaks volumes to see that you put effort into your appearance. Taking time to clean yourself up and “look the part” translates into how much you care about your role and how seriously you take it. Especially when it comes to EAs who are looked to for their keen attention to detail. 

Okay No More Pajama Bottoms, Now What?

Every meeting has a different purpose. Is the meeting with a new client where you must make a first impression? Is it with your Executive and he’s touching base on tasks and agenda, while simultaneously checking in to see how you’re handling everything virtually? Is it with coworkers who look to you for guidance? Or is it with a vendor that you need to coordinate with and possibly schmooze for some extra help? Who you are meeting with will determine how to cater your attire. 

Hair

It doesn’t have to be fancy, it has to be clean. Out of your face so it isn’t a distraction. For those days where it isn’t cooperating or you haven’t had time to do anything with it, keep a little space next to your work station with some pins, perhaps a headband and a comb. For the gentlemen it is a little simpler – comb and maybe a little styling pomade to give it a good spruce. If you use your computer camera to check your appearance, that’s fine, but having a little mirror saves you the time of opening that app and possibly logging on before you’re ready (it happens to the best of us). We have a few little fun hairstyles you can try on our Pinterest!

Make Up

This is mostly for the ladies. Depending on the light you use for your meetings – and you should definitely have a front facing light – you want to give yourself a little umph so you aren’t drowned by the glow. It also says that you spent a little time to get ready. Just the basics. 

Outfit

The first question is whether you should have a full outfit or just the top. We say, “full outfit!”. Go all the way. Commit. Why? Because sometimes we walk away from our computer. Sometimes we’re just afraid the camera will see the bottom half of our ensemble and it shows in our body language. Wearing the full outfit puts you into your professional mindset, gives you confidence to move about and just translates positively on every level. 

So let’s talk about pieces. Preparation is key. Take some time to plan out different outfit options according to how serious the meeting is. A few different solid colored tops (not tee shirts) in a nice fabric are good to have on hand – and solid is better than patterns because you want your outfit to be nice but not distracting. 

Black slacks or a black skirt is an easy pairing if you don’t want to put too much thought into combinations and they go with practically any solid colored shirt. Ladies – if you have a nice professional dress, it’s even easier to quickly slip on and be ready to go!

One of the pieces that you’ll use depending on the seriousness of the meeting, is a blazer. Again, keep it simple. Solid black blazers are the best kind. Easy to slip on, easy to match and it just takes the whole look up a notch. 

Accessories are welcomed! If you want to add a little flare, this is where you do it. Chunky fun necklaces are great, chunky bracelets are not. We would advise that you avoid bracelets altogether because they clink on the desk and become distracting with arm movements. 

As for the shoes, we’ll leave that up to you! This is the one thing you don’t actually need to have on, as rarely 

would you see that far down and depending on the shoes they can make distracting noises. 

Finally, make sure everything is wrinkle free and smudge free. Take a look at yourself in the mirror an

d make sure nothing managed to sneak onto your outfit. Do a little pose, check yourself out and get ready to rock that meeting! 

As you can see, having a few basics ready to go is quick, easy and makes all the difference. If you want to get more creative, check out this great article and sneak a peek at some great looks on our Pinterest!