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Home / Brunch / The lessons learnt while suiting up for Zoom

The lessons learnt while suiting up for Zoom

On a video call for work or play? Here’s what we have learnt on how you can dress and virtually impress

brunch Updated: Aug 30, 2020, 08:09 IST
Shruti Nair
Shruti Nair
Hindustan Times
The right clothes, hair and make-up  can help you help you ace the virtual work to play game
The right clothes, hair and make-up can help you help you ace the virtual work to play game

“There are days when I change from one set of PJs to another, and then there are days when I put on jeans because I’ve missed being in them,” laughs celebrity stylist Saanchi Gilani when asked about her preferred attire to wear months after being in lockdown.

A lot of people seem to be echoing Saanchi’s thoughts. The pandemic and its consequential lockdown placed us in a spot of privilege with comfort clothing. However, work-from-home hasn’t entirely ruled out formal wear from our everyday wardrobe, thanks to the numerous video calls that we need to attend.

We have probably gotten friendlier with the camera than our neighbour in the past six months. From work calls to dates and catching up with friends, everything has become virtual and it is essential to look the part. So, we ask fashion and beauty experts to spell out lessons learnt while dressing up for video.

Sara Ali Khan’s textured hairstyle suits both work and play
Sara Ali Khan’s textured hairstyle suits both work and play

The WFH Wardrobe See-saw

While there are days when we want to just be comfortable, sometimes a kick for motivation comes just dressing the part, even if your work travel is restricted between the bedroom and your living room. And, as Saanchi earlier said, she’s been taking the day as it comes.

“I’ve always loved dressing myself and others up, but I’ve learnt to love the comfort side of fashion,” she shares.

Day dresses and track pants are now Saanchi’s go-to pieces of clothing. But when it comes to video calls, she says it is important to look prim and proper, not just waist-up.

“When you dress a certain way, you are able to emote in a particular manner, especially when it’s a virtual interaction,” the celebrity stylist advises. “A lot of people believe that since only the upper body is visible, you can wear pyjamas, and that’s fine for a one-off meeting. But the way life is going, dressing the part actually helps you deliver more than you know.”

Celebrity stylist Saanchi Gilani (inset) advises avoiding printed outfits on a virtual date
Celebrity stylist Saanchi Gilani (inset) advises avoiding printed outfits on a virtual date

As far as virtual dates go, expressions should be doing the talking with less busy clothes. Avoid going overboard with prints and patterns, Saanchi warns.

“When you dress a certain way, you are able to emote in a particular manner during a virtual interaction” ­—Saanchi Gilani, celeb stylist

“A nicely cut top with a detailed neckline paired with hoops can make for a great date night outfit!” she says and adds: “Less is more, so focus on light make-up and an easy-going hairdo. This is mainly because everyone is at home. But effort is always attractive, so make an effort for yourself and your partner.”

The make-up question

The work-from-home culture, even if a few months old, is relatively newer to us as compared to the blogger-influencer industry which has always been at it.

Beauty blogger and YouTuber, Debasree Banerjee says one of the earliest lessons she had learnt when she started blogging independently was to wake up and dress up for work. “It only helps you complete the to-do list and makes you feel motivated,” she says.

For video calls, Debasree recommends going minimal with make-up and suggests skipping foundation entirely for the perfect no make-up kind of make-up look.

Beauty blogger Debasree Banerjee in a minimal make-up look for a work call; Tops with a detailed neckline and simple accessories suit work calls
Beauty blogger Debasree Banerjee in a minimal make-up look for a work call; Tops with a detailed neckline and simple accessories suit work calls

“A simple yet elegant look is the way to win that business deal on a video call,” says Debasree. To bring everything together, she advises finding the perfect spot which has lot of light pouring in front of you. “I have a desk at home where I usually work from,” she says.

“For a virtual date, I would choose a more comfortable spot, like my sofa or the bed.” It is not only how you look or what you wear that matters on a video call, but also about positioning yourself aesthetically for the camera.

The hair-raising issue

“On a Zoom call, since the only communication is through video chat, it is imperative to present yourself well to be taken seriously,” says celebrity hairstylist Anchal Morwani.

One tiny detail that goes a long way in creating a well-rounded look is your hair which people often skip. “Experiment with hairstyles,” Anchal suggests. “Use chopsticks or have a half up-do or just braid your hair.”

Celebrity hairstylist Anchal Morwani says a half up-do or simple soft curls can glam up your hair; (top left) Debasree Banerjee shows how to create the perfect frame by positioning oneself in front of a source of light
Celebrity hairstylist Anchal Morwani says a half up-do or simple soft curls can glam up your hair; (top left) Debasree Banerjee shows how to create the perfect frame by positioning oneself in front of a source of light

A fan of texture, Anchal says it works both ways – for a work call or a virtual date. “It is easy to create and makes you look like you’ve put in effort. All you need is a pair of tongs to look super glam,” she says.

What is that one rookie mistake that people have made during the lockdown that she disapproves? People cutting or trimming their own hair during the period.

“Hairdressing is an acquired skill. It takes years for your muscles to learn the movement. The chances of going wrong are very high,” she says. “If, however, you’re daring enough to accept that most probably the haircut will go wrong, go ahead.”

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From HT Brunch, August 30, 2020

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