This article was updated on August 4, 2021.
Video meetings have now become a typical part of the work day.
While you’re likely not putting the same level of attention into what you’re wearing as you would if you were leaving the house to meet with coworkers in person, foregoing all standards of attire and showing up in your pajamas isn’t going to fly.
Alright, maybe we all know that pajamas are off-limits when it comes to Zoom call etiquette.
However, there some items you may think are perfectly fine to wear that are making you look less professional. Here’s what to avoid wearing to your next Zoom call, and why.
In person, wearing a pinstripe button down looks professional. On camera, it distracts from the call.
“They can strobe on screen and be distracting for others,” says Grant Aldrich, Founder and CEO of OnlineDegree.com. “In general, it’s best to stick to neutral colors that make you look professional.”
Another wardrobe item that’s great for in-person meetings but can easily betray you on a virtual call. “Brightly colored turtlenecks can be too flashy for a professional setting,” explains Aaron Simmons, founder of Test Prep Genie.
“You should also check the background of your call. You don’t want to wear a turtleneck that blends in with your wallpaper and makes you look like a floating head. Stick to monochromatic colors if you really want to wear them.”
“If you’ve ever heard of green screens then you know where I’m going with this,” says Simmons.
“It is easy for a mischievous tech-savvy colleague to record the call and edit silly things on your clothes if you’re wearing green. Green is the go-to for these types of things because green is easy to edit out since it doesn’t match any natural skin-tone or hair-color.”
“I highly, highly recommend that you never wear a ballcap on a Zoom call,” says Jim Sullivan, cofounder of JCSI. “If it is an important business call, interview, or initial meeting, it looks about as unprofessional as it gets and shows a lack of preparation.”
This goes for internal meetings as well. “Even if it’s a casual meeting with co-workers, a ball cap will put a shadow on the face and make it difficult to see expressions,” says Sullivan.
5. Flesh-colored tops
“If you have pink skin and wear a flesh tone, you could appear nude and won’t be seen clearly,” explains Lynell Ross, research director at Test Prep Reviews.
“If you have dark skin and wear black or dark brown it will wash you out as well. Wear a color that allows the person to see your face.”
6. Tank tops
This one goes for the men, too. “You want to be comfortable in your own home, but when jumping on a professional call, just throw on a shirt, even a t-shirt,” says Vinay Amin, health expert and CEO at Eu Natural.
“We don’t need professional suits, but we don’t want bare skin either! We need to keep up some appearances for customers and clients after all.”
7. Cut-offs or boxers
“Most Zoom calls are focused on the top portion of our bodies…but please make sure to wear appropriate pants or shorts,” says Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com.
Do not wear cut-offs or boxers. In the event that you have to jump up from a Zoom call and assist with a small child or pet, you’ll be grateful you came fully dressed to the call.”