The Zoom boom

Everybody’s at it. But it’s all too easy to get video conferencing wrong. Consider this your ultimate guide.


Focus on the top half

As any newsreader will tell you, it’s the top half that counts. Bright colours add vibrancy – and give the impression you’re more alert than you are. Throwing a blazer over a T-shirt takes you effortlessly from casual to work ready in a matter of seconds should that invitation come last minute. Finally, patterns matter: avoid pinstripes or detailed prints such as herringbone, which can appear too busy on screen.


But don’t forgot the trousers

It may seem funny to sit on a Zoom call knowing what your boss can’t see, but, in the event of a fire or forgetfulness, it pays to have your lower half covered. The secret smirk you may enjoy is not worth the public cackle should something go wrong.

Wear trousers: the potential public cackle isn’t worth it should something go wrong.

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Accessorise to accentuate

Accessories are a great way to elevate a look. For women, a simple necklace and subtle earrings will tie together any outfit. A funky headband is the perfect way to save any bad hair day and add a bit of joy to a call. Gentlemen: the flash of a nice watch while you’re gesticulating helps to make the point, but steer clear of suits and ties unless they’re mandatory – no one wants to be shown up on a call.


Make-up to pop

The camera will make you look more washed out than you are, so embrace a bit of colour. Don’t bother with full foundation – no one’s close enough to see – but a pink lip and rouged cheek will instantly refresh your appearance. Men, don’t be afraid to lean in to make-up and use this time to experiment. A touch of concealer under your eyes will have you feeling ready for the day and hide any exhaustion from home-schooling your kids.


Raise your screen

A view up your nose is far from flattering. Instead, position your laptop camera at eye level with a few thick coffee-table books underneath – let’s face it, those hefty unread books you use to show off your smarts are better repurposed as a computer stand anyway.


Think about the lighting

If there’s no natural way to light yourself from the front, place a couple lamps either side of your screen. Never sit with your back to a window – you’ll either look like a mysterious silhouetted character from a cold-war spy movie or – worse – a boomer that can’t figure out Zoom.


Consider a virtual background

Where Zoom backgrounds were once a somewhat cringe-inducing way to display your technological aptitude, today that image of an almost forgotten holiday is just the thing to lift the mood. They also have the added benefit of hiding any unwanted background interlopers. Judge your audience though: a scenic shot of Provence lavender fields is lovely, the “I’m fine” meme is probably a little off tone.