This article was updated on July 23, 2021.
The world is just one big video meeting now and we are its players (or however that quote goes.)
Now that your colleagues and boss are only seeing the upper half of your body, does it really matter what you wear? YES! Yes it absolutely does.
Allison Bornstein, a stylist for Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle who works with celebrities including Katie Holmes just launched FaceTime consultations to help people select the perfect outfit for interviews and beyond from the safety of their own closets, told Ladders News, “I think it is important to have something super clean and simple on top— you don’t want to feel uncomfortable or distracted by what you are wearing. I think a simple blouse or button up would be great.”
A simple sharp blouse helps you look put together and powerful (Ronald Reagan, decades before Zoom was even a concept, would often tuck a white crisp shirt into sweatpants before a big speech or meeting) but what should you never wear on a Zoom call? Are there colors that will actually hurt you? Let’s do a deep dive.
Colors that make you look untrustworthy
According to a new Quantified Communications survey of 465 men and women from April of 2020, participants were asked to rate colors and styles of people on video calls. They were asked which colors and clothing type made the person speaking appear authentic, trustworthy, and creative.
Well, if you want to look trustworthy, bright colors are not your friend. It’s all about neutral colors. Bornstein also notes that lighter colors look better on video. Fifty-six percent said they found a neutral color to make the person look authentic and 74% made them seem like an expert. Nearly 50% said neutral colors made the person seem trustworthy.
Bright colors were only rated as making the person look 30% authentic, 36% trustworthy and only 18% said they looked like an expert. And if you really don’t want to look like you know anything wears a patterned top as only 8% said that made the person look like an expert.
So the takeaway is to opt for a white or gray top for an interview.
It’s interesting because black often used to be the go-to for interviews. Recent research found that 1,500 British people chose black as the optimal color for an interview. And for men, it is also the chosen color for a first date. But interviewing and conducting meetings on video present a whole new ballgame.
Colors that make you look innovative
Now as for looking like an innovative and creative person, neutral colors almost tied with bright colors and patterns. Patterns just beat bright colors and neutrals by a smidge with 34% compared to 33%.
Style that makes you look more trustworthy
When it comes to what style says “Hire me now!” over a small screen, business casual is the way to go. Forty-six percent said that style made the person look the most authentic while business formal came in at 27% and just casual came in at 26%. And over 50% said business casual made the person look more innovative.
But there is a caveat with opting for business casual. If you show up on your Zoom job interview or meeting in a suit 67% of people will consider you an expert. Perhaps save the more formal outfit for the panel interview.
But it should be noted that the colors various shades of blue, green, purple, magenta, orange, and yellow all do pop on screen but then you really have to consider what your background is. For example, if you opt to wear green that is not going to work in front of a green screen.