What to wear on a panel discussion
What to Wear on a Panel Discussion
December 22, 2021
Making Numbers Count on a Panel Discussion
Making Numbers Count on a Panel Discussion
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What to Wear on a Zoom Panel Discussion

Now that we have talked about what to wear on a panel discussion, let’s chat about what to wear on a ZOOM panel discussion (or another videoconferencing platform!)


While the factors to consider when selecting the perfect outfit are the same for in-person as well as participating remotely, there are a few distinct differences that I wanted to highlight. After all, your profile is being projected as a “Hollywood Square” vs. a full view of the entire stage! (Actually, these tips also work for anyone who is a remote panelist as well!)

General Tips on What to Wear on a Zoom Panel Discussion

Contrast Colors. Wear a color that contrasts with the background. If you use a virtual background, do a trial run to make sure your “shape” doesn’t flicker when you move! Smooth away those flyaway hairs with a bit of hair cream or spray.

Pop of Interest.  Add a bit of interest or intrigue (e.g. your shirt, tie, scarf, pocket scarf, necklace, brooch).

Fit Right. Make sure your clothes fit properly. For the most attractive clothing shape for video, choose tailored, form-fitting “toppers.” Fashion show producer, Amy Olsen says, “If your tops still appear loose on camera, you can pull a fashion-show production trick and tuck excess fabric behind your back and into your waistband.” In the Zoom world, you’d be amazed at what a bobby pin or clothespin can do to bring in extra fabric!

Do a Quick Check. Look for visual distractions including loose buttons and threads, visible undergarments, sweat stains, and distracting/noisy jewelry. And don’t forget to remove the clutter/distractions in your background.

Get Inspired! Watch a few news shows and see what the hosts and guests wear. You’re bound to pick up some ideas and inspiration!

Makeup. Yes, men and women need to pay attention to the savageries of high-definition cameras! There is a function on Zoom called “Touch up my appearance” which you should definitely turn “on.” 🙂

Tips for Women

I honestly believe that men have it much easier to figure out what to wear on a Zoom panel discussion, whereas women have many more options. So, I thought I would add a few tips for women as well.

Color. Jewel tones near your face look best. Sapphire blue, emerald green, amethyst purple—the more vibrant, the better. My “go-to” color is cobalt blue!

Frame Your Face. Retailer M.M. LaFleur encourages you to “Frame your face. Details like pretty collars and notched necklines put the emphasis where it should be (on your mouth and the words emanating from it). While a super-low plunge is a no-no, a deep V-neck can draw eyeballs upward to your face.”

Accessories. Wear one eye-catching detail to your blouse or accessory, such as a necklace, earrings, or pin.

Makeup. Foundation and concealer along with a red lipstick that is in your color palette – and that you actually like and feel comfortable in. Do not use pink or mauve as they provide low contrast.

What NOT to Wear on a Zoom Panel Discussion

Here are a few big no-nos, so you’ll want to avoid these:

  • Show Too Much Skin. Avoid bare shoulders, plunging necklines and potential wardrobe malfunctions.
  • Strain the Eyes. Busy patterns, floral prints, or fabrics that shine may clash with everything else going on.
  • Over the Top. Unless it is part of your brand, stay away from big earrings, over the top necklaces, oversized scarves, hats, dramatic eyeglass frames, or a raft of bracelets. (They make too much noise, anyway!)

Remember, you want people to pay attention to what you are saying rather than be distracted by what you are wearing. Follow these tips on what to wear on a Zoom panel discussion and you’ll definitely impress the audience!

How Panel Moderators and Panelists Impress the Audience and Leave a Lasting Impression

Alter Your Appearance to Excite Your Panel Audience

How to Dress Up a Panel Discussion

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF | Master, professional panel moderator, and high stakes meeting facilitator is on a quest to make all panel discussions lively and informative. Check out her free 7 -part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.

Photo by Istock

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Kristin ArnoldKristin Arnold
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.
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