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    How To Ride The ‘Zoom Shirt’ Wave In 5 Unique Ways 

    T
    echnology is playing a more integral role in our daily communication than ever before.  From regular Zoom meetings, to brainstorming sessions on Slack or Google hangouts - fundamentals of everyday work communication and collaboration have shifted to the digital windows on our screens.  As imperative to basic WFH functioning as your go-to white shirt - staying online has become more commonplace than ever for most professionals.  Let’s face it - video calls and meetings are here to stay.

    So what does it all mean when it comes to getting dressed for work every morning, if we are no longer going into a physical office?  Well - it's kind of been “business on the top and party at the back” for many of us so far!  With workwear dress codes in most corporations radically shifting to be more comfort-oriented for their WFH employees, many professionals have adopted the ‘business on the top, casual comfort on the bottom’ approach to WFH dressing.

    Enter the ‘Zoom Shirt’.  The Urban Dictionary defines the term as a ’shirt or blouse that’s kept on the back of your desk chair to quickly be presentable for video conferences’ - and frankly, we couldn't relate more if we tried.  Sometimes we’ve even got TBD’s classic ‘Visionary’ blazer draped across the back of our work chairs to whip up and wear top of PJs for those spontaneous meetings.  However, on most mornings, you, me and everyone else in the world of work are reporting for daily updates on video conferencing in that favorite zoom shirt.  Yes, that one.  We know you’re thinking of it as you read this!

    Seasons change, moods swing, markets go up & down, things fall apart and build back up - change is constant.  However, timeless workwear style, looking put together in your professional life and good self-presentation, are enduring trends even in the new world of work.  We’ve always believed in putting our best foot forward in any work occasion & we’re here to share some styling secrets on how to appear as put together as ever for your professional commitments virtually !

    Here’s 5 unique ways to ride the current ‘Zoom shirt’ wave in workwear fashion: 

    Opt for interesting necklines: 

    The ‘floating head’ syndrome is quite unsettling on work calls (ahem, cue in the rigid chin-swallowing turtle-necks) and can be easily avoided by showcasing a bit of your neck in a crisp, well-defined neckline, while keeping things more comfortable and relaxed.

    However, it is not always possible to do that if you are on call with important people who could potentially make-or-break your goals professionally.  To look more put-together and buttoned-up, opt for a zoom shirt in an off-beat neckline with a more unique or open design rather than simply going for the traditional button up white shirt. 

    Here are some kinds of unique collars or necklines to consider for work shirts:  

    Mandarin collar - Pick a shirt with a mandarin collar, that’s not too thick or rigid. Attractive and chic, this style maintains a crisp and sharp shape in itself even when buttoned down!

    Polo t-shirt collar - Polo t-shirts are the natural choice for those who would like to keep that t-shirt comfort and familiarity, even while attending numerous calls and video-chats in their WFH day!

    Peter-pan collar - A little nostalgic, childlike whimsy alongside crisp and statement workwear? Yes, please. The peter-pan collar is as crisp and sleek as it is whimsical. Where do we sign up for this one?

    Cut-out collar - An easy fix to showcasing a bit of your neck without listing the sharp work-collar appeal, a zoom shirt with a cleverly designed cut-out in the neckline is your go-to antidote. 

    Intrigued by this list? We have the best of both worlds for you - all wrapped up in one shirt! Keep it ultra-professional and buttoned-up with a crisp mandarin collar, while keeping the ease of an open neckline with our bestseller in this category - the ‘Legally-white’ Shirt. 

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    Frame it with a signature accessory: 

    Ah, accessories - an easy, bright and fun way to add your personality to any look - be it for work or otherwise! The accessories we choose say so much about us in such subtle and ‘less-is-more’ kind of ways.  Pairing a signature accessory that frames your face in a flattering manner with your zoom shirt elevates your appearance and sends out the message that you put thought into your self-presentation.  Especially for the big meetings or when attending important virtual events that require you to be memorable, signature accessories can make a huge difference.

    Here are some unique and work-appropriate ideas for accessories you can experiment with when styling your zoom shirt:

    Airpod jewelry - Make always wired-in chic and elevate your workwear style by adorning air-pod or ear-pod specific jewelry.  A hybrid kind of ear accessory, these go with classic white shirts for WFH like coffee goes with all-nighters!  We're currently crushing on uber-chic pebble pods by Misho.

    Statement headphones - Essential for avoiding that annoying echo on video calls and one of the most functional accessories in the WFH era, a statement piece of headphones to accompany your zoom shirt is the surest way to look professional and sleek during your meetings.  With so many styles to suit everyone’s preferences as well as price points, we’re truly spoilt for choice.

    Computer friendly eye-frames - With significantly increased screen-time and so many of us taking our work to digital platforms, it's always a good idea to invest in a sensible and chic pair of anti blue-ray eye frames, that are guaranteed to protect you from digital eye strain as you continue to work online.  Choose a pair of these that frames your face nicely, and add a stylish and work-appropriate touch to your Zoom shirt.

    Stand-out earrings - When it comes to the face, there is no other accessory that is as ubiquitous and noticeable as an earring. If you’re the kind who loves to style your looks with quirky & one-of-a-kind earrings, look no further.  This is totally your time to shine!  Don't go too overboard though - we absolutely adore Unbaked for their offbeat polymer earrings, that are sure to blend in perfectly with your zoom shirt for a unique but work-appropriate edge.  Also, we most certainly love supporting a local, small business run by a passionate & creative working gal - hard relate!

    What’s a great canvas for these accessories, you ask? Well a clean and elegant white formal shirt fits the bill like no other. If you’re looking for an easy-breezy zoom shirt in a soft, natural fabric to go with your signature accessory, we recommend our ‘Tie-up’ white shirt for the win! 

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    Freshen up with minimal grooming: 

    Styling a garment, especially one like the ‘Zoom shirt’, that is all about the face and top profile of a person; involves a lot more than fashion items.  Synergistic virtual styling always involves the work clothes, but doesn’t rule out aspects of grooming - such as hair, skin and nails.

    One may think that these things won’t matter on video call - but in fact these aspects are at times amplified.  We’re definitely not recommending the everyday grooming and salon level styling that we were all used to in pre-covid era & most certainly, no one should feel any kind of pressure to look a certain way when going through such stressful times.

    However, if your goal is to style your zoom-shirt in a quick way that leaves you looking ready, presentable, professional and dependable in your video meetings - be it an interview, everyday check-ins or big events - basic grooming and freshening up with beauty styling can make a world of difference! 

    Here are some things to look out for:

    Hair - Ensure that your hair is neat before you log in - we recommend a slick-back bun or ponytail, as it is easy to look disheveled in WFH calls with open hair that falls on the face. 

    Skin - We’re of-course sure you know the basics, but when the distance between work and home is barely a meter, it is very easy to forget to freshen up your face between meetings!  Take a relaxing 5-10 minute break between calls and remember to refresh your skin with a minty face wash or a spray-mist that will leave you looking and feeling brighter.

    Make-up - While make-up styling is certainly optional and it is not advisable to go overboard for professional meetings and purposes, it can make the world of a difference on video calls.  Since this your face and the way your lighting contours it is a focal point, this step can help you look more put-together and on-point than ever.  Just a little bit of liner, a wash of blush & swipe of lip-gloss that flatters and compliments the color of your white formal shirt can go a long way.  We love Ruby Organic’s multipurpose blush range that provides eyes, cheeks and lip tint - all in one product.  Also if you would like to look into this more - here’s a tutorial for a chic and simple 5-minute make-up look that is sure to look great with any Zoom shirt! 

    Look well groomed, elegant and put-together in no time with our ‘Offbeat’ white shirt. The style might be off-beat, but the sharp shoulders, sleek lines and classic appeal will ensure you don’t miss a single beat when it comes to WFH styling! Ideal with a cup of coffee, blushed cheeks, middle parting and an easy, low-neck bun.  

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    Color-block your virtual work-style:

    Color blocking outfits is one of the most effortless ways to stand out and look fashionable, while still maintaining professionalism in your choice of work clothes.  Color blocking is a method by which two or more colors are juxtaposed with each other and mixed in a complimentary fashion.

    This technique can be used in a few easy-to-do ways in order to breathe new life into your zoom shirt styling:

    Color-block with a scarf - accentuating the focal point of your WFH outfit that is bound to be visible on camera, a contrasting scarf can bring your look together nicely.  If your zoom shirt is in a neutral tone, go dark-toned with your scarf.  If you are wearing pastel shades, color block your scarf in white or beige hues to bring about a subtle charm to your zoom outfit.

    Wear a white collar shirt that includes color blocking elements in a subtle, sleek and clever manner.  You can go for styles that have a minimal contrast in the shoulder yoke or collar to achieve this look online.
     A very minimalist and subtle way to color block for a zoom meeting is to wear a headband or a color-blocked scarf as a headband before logging in.  Capable of taking style cues as well as making up for bad hair days, this one is a unique way to elevate your zoom shirt look.

    At TBD, we make it so easy to look sharp and professional without being boring and repetitive. Check out our ‘Caffeinated’ white shirt - with its subtle two-toned & unique collar, it is poised to be your go-to WFH shirt. P.S: This collar pattern falls at a very comfortable neck-line level - making rigid button-ups redundant without compromising on the workwear appeal!

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    Harmonize with background and lighting:

    Your background and lighting are some external, overlooked aspects of your WFH styling - that when ignored, will make even the sharpest of zoom shirts look frumpy & forced!  It may seem like these factors are not a part of your look, but as we know from years of shopping and ordering items online, the way a garment is worn, its environment and the care with which everything else is curated, plays an equally important role in its appeal.  Here are some important things to note when ensuring that these are up to par:

    While backgrounds of course depend on personal preferences, home environment and availability of resources in order to make them camera friendly, there are always things that we all can do to ensure neatness and present-ability in professional settings.  Avoid unnecessary clutter and mess in your background.  Even if it’s not too fancy, looking neat is paramount.  The best thing to do, if possible, is to keep a wall as a background, so that there is a solid color instead of a clutter of objects.  You could also try some of these virtual backgrounds in case the above suggestions are not accessible or just too much work!

    Plants can play a very big role in elevating your background.  Propping one up in corners visible on your screen can help clean up the space.  Greenery has a soothing effect on the human eye and can help facilitate calmer and more pleasant conversations subconsciously.  Also - may we add how pretty a green leafy accent looks with a solid toned wall background and a crisp white collar shirt?  Easy-peasy.

    Everyone looks better during a Zoom meeting with proper lighting.  If possible, ensure that there is enough sunlight when you are conducting your video calls.  If that is not possible, we couldn’t recommend a small selfie light or a small ring light enough for any sort of video session.  Made to offer even lighting and clarity for the camera lens, it is one of the best investments you could make if you’re looking at prolonged WFH and video conferencing. for a photographer or videographer where the camera could be inside the ring and focus on the subject. 

    Once you have given your background a thought and overhaul - be it physical or virtual, get your lighting right & shine through with the ‘Exaggerated’ white shirt. The perfect top for WFH - it features a fresh pop of coral color in the shoulder area, that is sure to give your overall image on video calls an elevated feel.

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    According to this LinkedIn poll, a staggering 42% of professionals already own a zoom shirt. If you’re looking for one - we’ve got quite the choices for you (in buttery-soft fabric, might we add); but we don’t like to brag, the shirts do that for us!

    As they say, ‘the show must go on’ and climbing the career ladder is now happening through our screens, on video conferencing more than ever. So if you haven’t already curated your own zoom shirt look with chic styling and presentable grooming yet - get, set, going!

     Author: Neha Sane - September 2020.

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