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How to look put together for a virtual meeting while still wearing PJ pants

Elly Bethune

In the year 3000, robots will replace humans, and we’ll all be out of work, relying on the mercy of our machine overlords for our survival. OK, I’m being dramatic, but is it really that far-fetched?

We’re already seeing the prelude to the robot revolution in our growing remote workculture. It’s changing the way we do business, and our professional fashion sense.

Gone are the days when getting ready for work meant putting on a full pantsuit or skirt-and-blouse ensemble. Now we can work from the comfort of our Victoria’s Secret PINK sweatpants, occasionally throwing on a collared blouse and cardigan if we need to jump on a call. Personally, I need full office attire to get into work mode, but plenty of people are comfortable working in their pajamas. To each her own.

But if you want to continue climbing the career ladder without giving up the remote-working perks, you still need to rock a sleek, professional look from the waist up, especially when you’re in a virtual meeting.

Live it up in yoga pants or college sweats all you want. Just make sure these five essentials are on point because your boss and clients can still tell the difference between “savvy businesswoman” and “just rolled out of bed,” even over a fuzzy Skype connection.

  • Hair: Your hairdo should be styled to the nines, and the look should reflect who you’re talking to. Chatting with a buyer from New York? Go with a high bun, a la Carrie Bradshaw. Loose, beachy curls work best if you’re doing business with someone on the West Coast.
  • Eyes: Your eyeshadow-eyeliner-mascara combo should say, “I’m a thoughtful professional,” not, “This is what I look like shooting tequila at the club.” Use neutral colors with bold accents for a chic daytime look.
  • Lips: I’m a sucker for hot pink or a fiery red, but choose a shade that works with your skin tone and the time of year. A fun, flirty pink might be suitable in summer, but a warm merlot is more appropriate for autumn.
  • Nails: Even if you can’t afford a pre-meeting manicure, make sure your nails have a fresh coat of polish (or are at least neatly trimmed). People notice the little things. Dirty nails shouldn’t be one of them.
  • Accessories: I’m not just talking about a pair of tasteful studs or a statement necklace, though you’ll want to wear those, too. A cool coffee mug with a sassy quote or an artsy phone cover are great tools for injecting some personality into virtual meetings, and for standing out from other vendors or job candidates.

And here’s a bonus must-have: perfume. Never mind that the person opposite of you on the computer won’t smell it. Scents affect self-confidence, and perfume is an important component of how you present yourself professionally. Dabbing on a touch of your chosen perfume will make you feel more polished and self-assured when you sit down for the call.

Like it or not, clothes really do make the woman, at least in your colleagues’ eyes. Showing up for a meeting looking wrinkled and disheveled will make you feel like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman“: dismissed by the shopgirls because you don’t have the right look. Besides, putting yourself together in the morning sets the tone for the whole day, and we know that so much of our success is based on how we see ourselves.

Take a minute each morning to think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world, with or without the computer screen.

Image: Fuse/Getty Images

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