Efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus have forced everyone to carefully decipher essential gatherings from nonessential gatherings, posing a new struggle if you happen to be single. Meeting up in-person with a stranger you’ve recently met online may not exactly be at the top of the list of reasons you’re willing to risk leaving the house. Instead, as the online dating scene buzzes amid social-distancing protocol, Zoom dates are replacing sit-down dinners and other activities you may find yourself engaged in on a more traditional first meet up. First impressions in mind, deciding what to wear on a “normal” date is challenging enough. The new task is finding what to wear on a Zoom date when it’s just you, your date, and your tech device of choice.
Your upper half naturally becomes the point of focus on a Zoom date, though that’s not to suggest forgoing your outfit from the waist down. With the nature of video calls being up close and personal, experts recommend first gravitating towards an outfit that leaves you feeling your most comfortable. “I would have my clients choose an outfit that best feels like a representation of their personality,” says Carmelia Ray, celebrity matchmaker and TV personality. “I also like to dress people according to what impression they want to make and what message they want to send through their clothes.”
For a base point, consider asking your date what they'll be wearing. This can be a casual exchange akin to the “Are you wearing heels tonight?” question you may ask on a night out with the girls. Collectively agreeing on dressing down, nice but casual, or doing the whole shebang will help lift any anxiety around wondering “how much is too much?” From here, you can focus on what you typically find you are wearing when you’ve felt your most confident. Think about what you want to accentuate. If it’s your shoulders, go for a spaghetti strap top. If it’s your bust, go for a v-neck. If it’s your collar, add a dainty necklace.
In general, you want to show up for your Zoom date the same way you’d show up for a date IRL. “If you put less effort into your date, that will likely show up,” Ray says. “I have my clients prepare for their date as if it were real, because it is real.”
Though it’s completely possible to make a genuine connection on a video date, the practice does warrant reconsidering a few wardrobe choices that wouldn’t typically cause hesitation. Julie Spira, digital matchmaker and creator of Dating in the Age of COVID-19, suggests avoiding large prints that could be distracting, and certain kinds of jewelry that may cause a glare in the camera. Sandy Wiener, a Connecticut-based love coach, recommends avoiding colors that could wash you out on camera.
Once you’ve given a couple of outfit choices the green light, Melani Robinson, a New York City based writer and online dating expert, recommends creating a dedicated first date wardrobe capsule, even if you’re not betting on starting over with a second first date. Ahead, here’s four more styling tips experts say will reduce your first date jitters as you navigate finding love online during a pandemic.
What To Wear On A Zoom Date: Going Red
Sorry, black-wardrobe enthusiasts. Spira says that the go-to color pick for a Zoom date should be red. A virtual date still constitutes first impressions and, in general, you’ll want to show up in a memorable color. She relates the suggestion back to the importance of color in your online dating profile photo. “There is actually research that backs up that women who wear red in their dating profiles get more hits,” Spira says. If you’re not a fan of red and you don’t plan on becoming one today, then Spira next recommends the color fuchsia, which tends to work just as well for all skin tones.
What To Wear On A Zoom Date: Ditch The Sweats
This may be the first time you’ve ever gone on a date from the comfort of your couch or kitchen, without your date physically present in front of you. It’s foreign territory, so maybe you’re tempted to hop on Zoom wearing the same thing you'd wear to answer a quick FaceTime call from your BFF. However, Robinson suggests saving the sweatshirt and yoga pants for another occasion and wearing what you would actually wear on a first date. “We’ve spent all of our time at home cloistered for months,” she says. “Now’s the time to break free and go for it.” Because you may have taken advantage of online retail sales as a pastime while social distancing, Robinson even recommends pulling out something new to wear if you have the option.
What To Wear On A Zoom Date: Dress Like Yourself
Whether you land on a head-to-toe ensemble for your Zoom date, or decide to only get dressed from the waist up; whether you go with full-on makeup, or an effortless ‘no makeup,’ makeup look; or whether you settle on sexy or conservative, Laurie Edwards, founder and CEO of E-Flirt says that however you show up should be authentic to you. “You should wear something that’s going to look like yourself, and is a reflection of your energy,” Edwards says. Similarly, Ray says to stray away from wearing something that is so far off from your personal style that your date would never actually see you in anything like it again.
What To Wear On A Zoom Date: Accessorize And Add Texture
As with bright colors, another way to ensure your first impression is memorable is through jewelry and finding a way to incorporate texture into your outfit, Ray says. Playing on the idea of femininity, Ray suggests chiffon tops, ruffles, or even going outside of the box with broad shoulders. Sandy Weiner says that “what you wear can help you tell stories.” Dig up any accessories in your stash that may serve as a conversation piece, like a seashell necklace from your last trip to Mexico, which could sway the conversation away from prolonged small talk.