Last December I contributed to a Slate article by Heather Schwedel entitled, The Gargoyle on My Screen. Everyone Looks Awful on Video Conference Calls, Can that Change? Prescient, don’t you think?
Now seemed like a good time to revisit and expound upon the details in this article. Here are some ways to look, and as important, feel, put-together and powerful while video conferencing. Or having a Zoom ladies-night-out, as I did the other night!
Wear Makeup. A Lot of Makeup.
You know how much makeup you put on when you have a headshot taken or go on TV? That is how much makeup you should have on for video conferencing. This feels weird, especially when you are working from home while homeschooling a kindergartner, but you will thank me when you see yourself on screen. At the least, put on a bright lipstick and a ton of blush. And powder, so much powder. I am currently very into my Thrive Filtered Effects Soft Focus HD Setting Powder™ and Nars Afterglow Blush Palette. Makeup is going to define and bring out your features onscreen. Trust me. Not someone who can pull off bright lipstick or blush? I know some women can’t. The tip below is especially important for you.
Wear Color Near Your Face
I suppose it is obvious that the color should be near your face, since no one can see your pants while you are sitting down, but I want to be clear that the point of the color is to bring attention and brightness to your face. It doesn’t even have to be red or pink or what one would traditionally term a “bright”. See my head shot above in which I’m wearing navy contrasted with a brighter blue from Argent. On a side note, I felt as if I had sooo much makeup on when I took these photos. And when I got the final photos, I wished I had put on more blush and a brighter lipstick. I think the makeup and outfit in this head shot are good for the every day video conference though.
Choose Your Background Wisely
Is your desk and computer in an optimal place for the light that comes streaming in from your windows? Is there an overhead light right on top of your head, casting weird shadows? Does your normal work spot have a background of your messy work piles? Test your camera and see what others do before you must get on your first video conference with the boss. Try for a clean background if you can, or at the least, adjust to your surroundings. For instance, I normally sit to one side of my desk, which means that in my regular position, the beautiful tapestry on the wall behind me cuts in half behind my head, which could be visually distracting to others. When I have video calls I purposefully move my laptop setup over a few feet and wear solid colors so that the tapestry is a purposeful background and not a distraction. For more casual calls, I sit in the corner chair of my office, which has a blank background.
Are you doing a lot of video conferencing these days? Do you like it? Do you hate it? I almost forgot my last piece of advice.
Wear Real Pants!
Do not try to get dressed on top and not on the bottom. That is ridiculous. You should be completely dressed. Even if no one else can see what you are wearing on the bottom, you will know you are wearing yoga pants or your pajamas. There are so many pairs of comfortable pants out there now, you have no excuse. Check out our blog on RLS Approved Ponte Pieces for some ideas.
Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and serve clients across the country. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.
Once in a while, you can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Mostly, they are happily busy serving their fabulous clients, not hanging out online!