How to Dress When Giving a Virtual Presentation

With so many people now working from home, many of them permanently, Zoom meetings are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

While “above keyboard dressing” has been popular during the pandemic, it’s a proven fact that you’ll feel more confident if you’re dressed to impress.

Read on for simple, actionable advice on how to dress when giving a virtual presentation.

First, decide what your style objective is.

Start by asking yourself two questions:

1. Who are you presenting to?
For example: Are you speaking to a group of high school students, or an audience of high-powered executives?

2. What are you going to be speaking about?
For instance, are you giving a formal sales presentation or an informal talk?

This will help you decide if you want to convey authority and seriousness with your outfit or if a more laid-back look would be appropriate.

3 Tips for Successful Virtual Presentation Style

Next Level Wardrobe's Cassandra Sethi Wearing A Collared Shirt As An Example Of How To Dress When Giving A Virtual Presentation

Wear a Collared Shirt

When your audience can only see you from the chest up, you want to pay close attention to what you’re wearing on top.

Think of a collared button down shirt as the older, more responsible sibling of a t-shirt; a collared shirt looks more grown-up, professional, and put together.

It’s also flexible and versatile: Need to be more formal? Layer a blazer over it.

Don’t Forget Your Accessories

Stylist Cassandra Sethi Showing How To Accessorize When Dressing For A Virtual Presentation

It bears repeating: When your audience’s view of you is limited, pay close attention to what they are going to see — and this includes accessories.

For men, this might mean a stylish pair of eyeglasses.

For women, I recommend playing with lip color, earrings, or nail polish (for all those hand gestures).

I always advise experimenting with accessories to my clients because it’s much less of an investment than, say, buying a new sweater.

Since I wear a lot of core colors, I often swap out my lipstick shade and always wear a pair of gold hoops.

Make Sure Your Zoom Background is on Point

Obama Zoom Background For How To Dress When Giving A Virtual Presentation

Image: Zoom

There’s no use spending all this time looking your best if you have a video call background that’s too dark or otherwise distracting from your message.

Think of your Zoom background as the must-have accessory of 2021. It should reflect who you are and support your message — and yes, people are judging you on it.

Use your background as an opportunity to communicate who you are. Some things to consider placing in your background are your favorite books, travel mementos, potted plants or a vase of flowers, and/or framed photos.

And don’t forget to invest in good lighting, such as a ring light — lighting really is everything!


For more advice on how to look your best in professional settings, check out my guides to CEO Style and Male CEO Style.

Picture of Cassandra Sethi

Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created her business, Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals. Cassandra’s been featured in Greatist, Livestrong and NY Mag.

 

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