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How to dress for success while working at home

I'm no fashionista.

Far be it from me to tell anyone what to wear. But when it comes to working remotely from home, I do have an opinion. It stems from all the experience I’ve had getting people “media-ready” for the dozens of videos I’ve produced and yes, all the time I’ve spent looking at myself in the mirror when I wake up (horrors!)

I’ve had a home office now for nearly thirty years. So, I’m no stranger to remote working. But now that Zoom and Teams meetings have become commonplace, perhaps it’s time to reconsider those sweats and jammies some of us have been dragging from bedside to laptop. I hate to say it, but I’ve participated in too many Zoom meetings that look like Hollywood Squares versions of “Meet the Bedheads” and “The Return of the Chicken Necks.”

So, since we seem to be in this for the long haul, we might want to rethink how we appear to others as we work at home, (and this includes our immediate family members).

You might think that “business casual” is what I’m aiming for, but you’d be wrong. I’m coming from the theory: if you look good; you feel good. And while it starts with proper hygiene (don’t forget to floss), I really want to talk about your choices as you dress for the day from bottom to top.

Waist down. Be ready for action

Include a little stretch in your seat. Literally. Exercise and movement is now more important than ever. No one should sit at a computer for more than an hour without moving. Every thirty minutes is even better. Hopefully, you are now integrating stretching and walking into your workday. If not, it’s time.

So, choose pants that have a little give. Yes, I’m talking spandex - be they jeans, sweats, shorts, or leggings. That way you are ready to do those knee bends or crunch those abs any time of day. No need to change to something more comfortable. You’re already there.

And oh yes, wear shoes that ensure you are ready for action too. Sneakers? Absolutely. Or at least keep them close by.

Waist up

People are looking at you. Your family sees you across the dinner table. Your friends, relatives, and business associates see you through your computer’s lens. So why not dress up a bit and wear something that looks a little nicer (and more professional) than your ripped Rolling Stones tee-shirt. Again, comfort is key, but make it flattering to you; no holes, no frays, no PJs.

Neck up

Makeup or no makeup? Well if you never use it. No need to start now. But as for me, if I look good; I feel good. That's why you'll usually notice a hint of color on my lips and cheeks and a little definition around my eyes. I feel I make a better appearance during my video meetings, and more importantly, people will recognize me as the healthy and happy person I am.

Fellows, if you look in the mirror and see a Civil War general staring back at you, it might be time to shave. Until salons and barbershops start welcoming customers back, we are still stuck in a "do-it-yourself" world - trimming our own locks and dealing with that white skunk line of grey along our hairlines.

To counter the latter, I’ve successfully recruited my husband (now referred to as Mr. Rob) as my new colorist using my favorite mail-order brand (Madison-Reed). But short of home coloring, consider these other ways to disguise gray hairs and root regrowth without booking an appointment. Hide your hairline with a headband or kerchief. Distract with a braid or hair ornament. Or try a root touch-up kit in your shade.

And if you need a little more help

Zoom also offers the “Touch Up My Appearance” option which automatically smooths out your skin tone on your video display and makes your expression seem more alert as you participate in Zoom meetings. It’s easy to choose this option. Click this link to learn how.

And that’s it. I’m not talking about a makeover here. I’m just reminding you to bring your best self to breakfast. Make the most of your days working remotely. And be ready for action. You never know where your good looks will take you next.


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