Zoom has a whole new meaning in 2020, it is no longer a mere verb to enlarge a picture or an adjective for speed. It is the way teams and individuals work, meet, share and learn over the internet, giving rise to a fashion term called the "Zoom Shirt". Curious to see if fellow entrepreneurs had a go-to look, Yuktie checks in with a few.
What is a Zoom Shirt? An article in The New York Times states: “a Zoom Shirt is a top, typically kept on the back of the computer chair or a hanger nearby, that they pop on in the moments before their webcam lights up… it instantly spiffs you up for a last-minute work meeting. Or a meeting planned a week ago. Or a meeting with a friend. Really, all the meetings.”
We wondered if anyone else had wardrobe staples for such meetings? Or maybe even a Zoom spot allocated in one’s home – with just the right lighting and background. Here, Kosha Founder Yuktie Jhangiani asks four fellow professionals the question – Do you have a Zoom Shirt?
Meenakshi Iyer is a Communications Consultant & Storyteller who was the Associate Editor at ELLE. She has at least two Zoom meetings per week.
She shares “It’s been over four months that I’ve been working remotely, which means that all my physical meetings have been replaced with virtual ones. I have three signature looks for all my Zoom/video calls. For a more formal meeting, I rely on my trusted grey Suta sari; for semi-formal meetings, it’s a white shirt paired with jeans combo and for informal meetings, I usually wear my Mango camisole and pair it with a kimono jacket. The only thing I keep in mind is to stay away from colours that may seem too jarring or take attention away from my face. I want the person on the other side to focus on my expressions and less on my clothes.”
Her Zoom shirt is her “trusted white shirt in a crushed material from H&M. It’s classic and fuss-free. I wear it for most of my work-related calls. While I love accessorizing, for Zoom calls I prefer to go easy with small earrings and dark-coloured lips.” Sounds like a timeless look!
Rajiv Srivatsa is a Partner at Antler India and a Co-Founder of Urban Ladder.
He has an average of five to six Zoom meetings per day! His formula is a T-shirt or a Formal shirt. He adds, “Basically, I dress up for the day with a T-shirt or a shirt and jeans.”
His formula is that he dresses up for the day exactly like he would if he were going out – “Zoom meetings for me are like any other meeting. So that there’s morning discipline.” Wowza!
He shares that he in fact prefers to use Webex or Google Meet over Zoom. His day usually has one to two video calls.
He has a simple and effective wardrobe for his video meetings – “It is exactly the same as my usual work wardrobe – Under Armour Tee or a quarter-zip long sleeve!”
Smart basics is a choice many professionals have opted for the world over. It is easy to maintain and creates a signature look for you.
Kiran Manral, an Author has Zoom meetings once or twice a day and some days, not at all.
Her wardrobe for the meetings is, “Generally track pants or pyjamas with a vest, over which I pull on a jacket or a formal shirt. Sometimes, I throw on a colourful dupatta of thick silk or cotton over my vest and I’m good to go. Just depends on how chaotic the domestic situation is at that moment.”
So is there a Zoom shirt staple she has? “Quite a few, actually. A couple from Marks & Spencer and Zara; I prefer bright colours, or an interesting print if I don’t have a solid colour.”
Being an independent Creative, she usually changes into something formal, and applies a bit of make up. She shares, “I’m a trifle particular in that way about how I put myself out there.” Sounds like a good way to look professional, yet showcase one’s creative side subtly.
Yuktie Jhangiani, Kosha Founder, prefers wearing the Kosha T-shirt for Zoom or video calls. It is classic, cool and very comfortable. She shares, “What I like about it is the versatility, it works well when I’m interviewing someone, for a panel discussion, for meetings with trade bodies, for meetings with the team. It is like my Zoom uniform! I normally wear tracks and a Tee at home, ready for a workout at all times. This is so that I can go for a run soon after I finish work. It ensures I don’t give in to any excuses, since I am already ready!”
As interviews, board meetings and panel discussions move online, video calls become the interface for critical decisions. Yuktie advises, “Dressing sharp makes me feel confident. Obviously, there are the hours of preparation that go into building confidence, but the outfit adds to it.”
A tip from Yuktie: “It is best to clarify before a call if it will be an audio call / video call. I have a Zoom corner, just near my work table and book case that has a clean, non-distracting background. This ensures I don’t need to change settings / position.”
Fazal, the Product Design Lead, has video calls thrice a week across a variety of people such as interns, staff, vendors and more. While in India vendors still prefer WhatsApp as a platform over Zoom, video calls are part and parcel of his routine. Polo Tees are his favourite with a navy blue one being his designated Zoom shirt that he wears for the exact duration of the meeting. He adds, “If nothing comes to my mind, a black round neck tee is a saviour.” Spoken like a true designer!
Namrata, the Community Manager, jumped at the opportunity to give herself an at home Lockdown Haircut back in March 2020. It was her hack to survive the hot Indian Summer stuck indoors. She too has at least 2 to 3 video calls per week. She has a couple of dedicated Tees as her go-to choice and to complement her haircut, dons some earrings. She shares, “The calls, though not too many, are often long. The simplest way to combat the humidity of Mumbai is breathable tees with attractive but not overpowering prints. The earrings are more for myself really, just a touch of confidence.”
Here are some tips from our team:
– Natural light is the best, preferably coming from behind the camera for the best output.
– Pastels & deep tones are good. Avoid bright or neon colours as they refract when viewed on a screen.
– Patterns & bold stripes should be avoided too, for the same reason. Since details are not visible on the webcam, focus on the cut & silhouette.
– Video calls are all about the waist up, but it’s always suggested to dress down till your feet for the extra bit of confidence, especially for interviews & formal meetings.
– For Women: Make-up should be light and even, avoid dark eye shadow. Accessories preferably sleek and not distracting. Opt for Button-down tops, solid pullovers, camp collar shirts over tops with gathers and frills.
– For men: Polo tees, Solid coloured pullovers, Mandarin collar shirts.
From timeless classics to comfy casuals, prepping for the day or just a few minutes prior, what is your go-to hack for tackling this online work mode? Share with us via the comments.