What you wear on Zoom matters. Here’s why.

Color has power. It impacts our moods, emotions, and behaviors, and can be a potent source of information. Have you thought about the colors you wear and what they say about you?
January 25, 2021

Color has power. It impacts our moods, emotions, and behaviors, and can be a potent source of information.  Have you thought about the colors you wear and what they say about you?

Wardrobe colors hold meaning and symbolism in the physical world.  Similarly, in the virtual world, the color of your clothing can set you apart, complement your story and convey subliminal messages.

Let’s take a cue from last week’s historic inauguration, which, according to Harper’s Bazaar, marked an iconic moment in the use of fashion as commentary.

Members of the Biden and Harris families, as well as key attendees, were dressed from head to toe in bold solid hues—undoubtedly made to stand out on video screens and convey powerful messages.   

Vice President Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton each dressed in a shade of purple, a mix of the political party colors– Republican Red and Democratic Blue, and evocative of bipartisanship and unity.  

First Lady Jill Biden wore a monochromatic ensemble in ocean blue, chosen because the color signifies trust, confidence, and stability.  

While the Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,”  was filled with references and symbols, her outfit was also packed with meaning.  Gorman stepped onto the inauguration stage wearing the brightest color of the day, a sunshine yellow coat which likely signified power, light, and joy.

The inauguration outfits in vibrant colors made for stunning images on TV, computer, and smartphone screens.  It was a visual feast filled with significant meaning related not only to the transfer of power and solidarity, but to peace, women’s suffrage, and equal rights.

What color should you wear on Zoom?

The lesson for everyday people engaging in back-to-back video meetings is that colors matter.  What you wear for a new business presentation, a job interview, a press conference, or shareholder meeting can signal your values and world view.  Color plays a large role in how you are perceived… and believed. 

Some colors show up better than others on Zoom and streaming calls in general, but a rule of thumb is to wear solids versus patterns.  Avoid stripes and busy floral fabrics.  If you are using a greenscreen or chromakey, do not wear green.  Make sure there is substantial contrast between the color of your garments and the green of the screen behind you or the virtual background will not work.

Best colors for Zoom and their common meanings

In brief, here are the best colors for Zoom and their common meanings, based on the science of color and color psychology:

  •   Red: Passion, power, love, anger

  •   Orange: Energy, happiness, vitality

  •   Yellow: Joy, hope, deceit

  •   Green: Abundance, nature, new beginnings

  •   Blue: Calm, responsible, sadness

  •   Purple: Creativity, royalty, wealth

  •   Black: CrMystery, elegance, evil

  •   Gray: Moody, conservative, formality

  •   White: Purity, cleanliness, virtue

  •   Brown: Earth, wholesomeness, dependability

  •   Tan or Beige: Conservative, piety, dull

  •   Cream or Ivory: Calm, elegance, purity

The color of what you wear can boost your spirits and make you feel energetic and zestful or have the reverse effect.  Just understand that what you choose matters. 

Colors also play a role in your choice of virtual backgrounds and the elements you select to curate your living set.  You may want to pick colors that evoke your industry or the palette of your company’s graphic identity.

The relationship between color, marketing and branding has been determined by countless studies.  According to the design website Canva, colors influence more than 85 percent of shoppers’ purchase decisions and increase brand awareness by almost as much.

In a visually supercharged medium like Zoom, color takes on added importance.  Tap the power, meaning and symbolism of color.  Experiment with color to animate your Zoom rectangle…and let me know what happens.

For more insights on video conferencing mastery, take the ZoomScore™ quiz which will open your eyes to the visual cues that matter most in visual communication. 

Rosemary Ravinal

I teach business leaders how to shine on video calls and have more productive virtual engagement. As Founder/Chief Trainer at RMR Communications Consulting, I also help executives master the art of public speaking, inspiring presentations, and authoritative media interviews online and in person. My company’s services are available in English and Spanish in South Florida and elsewhere.

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Your success in the new normal of work depends on how well you navigate virtual and in-person communication.

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