Well, here we are. Week 2,057 of working from home. How’s it going? Is your posture resembling a crumbling question mark yet? Have you become depressed because the biggest dilemma of your day will be which flavour crisp you’ll go for? Are you a millisecond from Googling “quickie divorces”?
One person who is loving this strange era must be Mr Zoom. Despite many of us wanting to silently scream at every new invitation link, video conferences and meetings remain inescapable. And the platforms proliferate. There’s your Google Meet, your BlueJeans and there is Zoom – the one where the etiquette still confuses me. Am I allowed to change my background to a wall-sized photo of the young Drew Barrymore at Studio 54, or is that considered rude?
I’m also confused about clothes. It’s hard to know where to go, now that the jig is up for the “Zoom shirt” (you know, the clean white shirt that you slip on for business meetings; once you’ve worn it three times, people begin to wonder if you actually have any other clothes).
Relaxed, comfortable outfits are where it’s at, but they can look slouchy under the harsh analysis of an HD screen (especially when yesterday’s pasta sauce stain is noticed 10 minutes into an impromptu brainstorm). So what to do? Top-half dressing has thus far been too broad and vague a concept to guide us. We need specifics. The look we want is one that says, “I’m very serious”, while being so visually enticing that your boss won’t notice you’ve been saying the same thing, in different ways, for the last seven minutes.
The best way to achieve the former? Glasses. Anybody brought up on Gossip Girl knows that glasses equal cleverness. Today, I’ve popped on a pair that signify nerdy cool without being creepy. Or perhaps that’s for you to decide…
And now for the visually enticing part. Rather than accessories (which are generally complicated on a man, and tricky to get right for a boxy computer screen), I’ve opted for a multicoloured ombre turtleneck that doubles as a tricksy, Magic Eye-style picture. It looks as pretty and hypnotising as a 1980s test card, I could be saying anything, I could be saying nothing – either way, specs plus a distractingly good jumper mean it’ll all sound on the money.