The most important thing about getting people to pay attention to you and what you’re saying is to help them focus on your face and your torso by standing out from your background.

Stand out as much as possible

The best way to accomplish this is to wear a different color from your background – one that is brighter, more vibrant or just plain different.  Think of everything in your zoom box, including yourself, as a painting with a foreground and background.  You should always be the main focus in the foreground.

best colors to wear on zoom zoom makeover expert Shelley Golden

Having lived in Amsterdam for 10 years, I studied the Dutch Masters and the Impressionists and approach each Zoom Makeover as an artist, creating a painting, drawing the viewer’s eye toward your face and body using color and contrast by creating a bullseye.

This is the best way for people to pay attention to you, read your non-verbal communication and increase engagement.

best colors to wear on zoom executive presence expert shelley golden


Wear solid colors

Wear a solid color that is a different color than your background. You will act as a color block in the middle third of your zoom box to attract attention away from what is behind you and have people focus on you.

Avoid larger patterns, ie, checks, plaids or abstract prints, so you are not just another pattern in your painting. This makes it more challenging to focus on you.  Eliminate any distractions to draw the eye elsewhere. You want all the attention on your face and torso.  After all, isn’t that what we’re aiming for?

Be aware of the colors in your background to avoid blending in.  You want to be front and center in your zoom box.

best colors to wear on zoom executive presence expert shelley golden

What colors work best on Zoom and what colors to avoid?

“No white”   You want your face and eyes to be the first thing people notice, not your clothing. The camera focuses on the white and light areas in your zoom box and darkens everything else to adjust for the light…so don’t wear white!  Avoid mostly white, very light blue, pale pink and ivory, which often appears white on camera.

“No black” and other very dark colors.  Black, navy, dark grey, dark burgundy, brown etc…will all appear black and make you fade or blend into the background, making you appear smaller. This will detract from people being able to easily read your non-verbal communication, unless you’re sitting in front of a (mostly) solid white or light background.

Best colors to wear on zoom - zoom makeover expert shelley golden san francisco

 Bolder, brighter solid colors

The best colors to wear are bolder, brighter solid colors that contrast your background, often red, fuchsia, blighter blue, turquoise, teal, purple etc…. Small to medium size patterns as well as tone on tone are OK as well if you have a relatively plain background.

Most people don’t have a large selection of bolder colors in their closet since the color palette available in the stores these days is relatively grey and muted.  This is the Zoom dilemma.  What to wear to improve engagement?  It’s a bit of a challenge to find brighter colors. Be persistent and keep your eyes open for those pops of color. They will pay off in the end.

YOU want to be the “main event” in your zoom box, so sit up, stand out, and be noticed.