The Writer

BUILDING AN on-camera WARDROBE

I never thought I’d want or need a personal shopper or stylist. I write books about fashion! I’m perfectly capable of dressing myself. And, unlike a lot of people who seek out these services, I genuinely love shopping, both online and IRL. The idea of letting someone else do it had never made sense to me.

Until COVID-19 struck.

With a new book coming out and no way to promote it in person, I began filling my calendar with virtual readings, lectures, Q&As, and other events. I could put together a head-to-toe look for any occasion, but I had no idea what to wear on Zoom. Everything I knew about color, proportion, and accessorizing went out the window; suddenly, I was dressing for a webcam, not a live audience.

I was just tech-savvy enough to realize that a lot of my existing wardrobe – dizzying retro prints, sleeveless dresses, noisy statement necklaces, and lots of black – wouldn’t work well onscreen. Black (and white) wash us out; busy patterns or stripes can look wavy; sleeveless tops widen the torso and pull the focus from the face. As a solitary scribe who hadn’t spent much previous time in daily videoconferences, I wasn’t familiar with all the possible fashion pitfalls, and I worried about striking a balance between looking like the main attraction and looking

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