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Joanna Lovering, Dressing for an Interview in 2020

Posted on September 23 2020

Joanna Lovering, Dressing for an Interview in 2020

We are so excited to have Joanna Lovering, Founder of Copper + Rise on as a styling expert and guest blog post. Joanna founded Copper + Rise to teach women what no one teaches them about leadership. Women have to look, speak, and act like leaders--and that’s where executive presence comes in. Joanna
defines executive presence as how you speak, how you act, and how you look. Joanna’s background in psychology, leadership development, and fashion styling is the trifecta she brings to this work. Listen in as she dishes out her styling tips when dressing for an interview and in particular a Zoom interview. 

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Here’s a secret: most of us encounter the same wardrobe challenges. Especially when we’re getting ready for a high stress, high stakes situation, like an important meeting or interview.

When working with a client, I always share my “words to live by” with them--aka the styling tips that will help them create outfit magic in any situation. The advice is easy to remember and execute, and clients have said they feel really empowered to have these tricks up their sleeves. 

In 2020, your “need-to-know” style advice is a little different than it used to be. That’s because most of us are living our lives on Zoom: dating, dining, and yes, job interviewing over Zoom. If you’re getting ready for a Zoom job interview, you need the “Three C’s.” 

The “Three C’s”

The “Three C’s” are based around a simple fact: we’re using low-quality laptop cameras. For the most part, we’re in our homes, using the equipment we had when the pandemic began. We’re working with what we’ve got!

The “Three C’s” stand for color, contrast, and confidence. Focusing on these three concepts will help the essence of you stand out, not the stuff that doesn’t matter. In an interview, you want your personality and your skills to shine. Your outfit is important, but it’s really playing a supporting role. The most important thing is that it doesn’t distract from you in any way.

Here’s how to make that happen when you’re dealing with a finicky laptop camera: 

Color 

When choosing your outfit, go for earth tones and softer, lighter colors. Think tan, light gray, soft pink, mauve--colors in those families. Skip brighter colors, especially reds and oranges--they can bleed and give off a haze. Even bright white can be a problem--it might cause you to glow. 

You’ll want to avoid black too. Cameras can’t see the folds, seams, or textures of black garments, so you can end up looking like a floating head on a black blob. That definitely has the potential to be distracting--it’s the kind of thing the interviewer can’t unsee if they do notice it!

Contrast

Laptop cameras are notoriously bad at deciphering large patterns with contrast. Plus, you’re very small on a Zoom screen, and you don’t want your clothes to overtake the main event: you! 

In particular, it’s good to stay away from high-contrast patterns, especially those on opposite ends of the color wheel. Black and white patterns are also not your friend. 

When in doubt, try to evaluate the size of the pattern. Is it big and bold (like large stripes or large polka dots)? That’s a no-go. Small patterns or micro prints (like a micro floral) are safer.

If you want to be totally in the clear, solid-colored tops are preferred--there’s just less room for the camera or the lighting to get funny on you. If you like patterns and they’re part of your personal style, that’s fair! Go for one that has a small pattern with similar colors (like this one). 


Confidence

No matter what, the most important thing is to wear whatever makes you feel confident. It is an interview, after all! Here’s how to ensure you feel good and ready for whatever comes your way:

- Fit. Nothing’s worse than tugging and pulling on something that doesn’t fit you well. While you’re expending it subconsciously, that’s precious mental energy you should be using on your interview. And since you’ll be sitting for your Zoom interviews, there’s no reason to wear pants that don’t quite fit in the waist anymore. I don’t recommend wearing sweats, but don’t wear the most uncomfortable pants you own, either! 

- Add uniqueness. Add your signature to an outfit with a fun accessory that shows your personality. Perhaps it’s a fun earring, a headband, or a statement necklace--whatever it is, you want to make sure your essence comes through. That’s the kind of thing that’s easy to show in person, when there are so many more opportunities for casual conversation and communication through body language. On Zoom, it has to be accomplished other ways, and little style flourishes are a great way to do this. 

Want to own the [Zoom] room? 

Email Joanna at joanna@copperandrise.com to sign up for her email newsletter, chock full of executive presence and style tips! Visit her website at Copper and Rise.

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