What to wear to a video-conference

Our recommendations for Tere Stouffer. Primrose & Wilde Classic Silk Shirt and Skinny Scarf teamed up with a pair of dark jeans and designer sandals.

Our recommendations for Tere Stouffer. Primrose & Wilde Classic Silk Shirt and Skinny Scarf teamed up with a pair of dark jeans and designer sandals.

The new economy is digital, independent, entrepreneurial.

As many of us operate globally and interact remotely with our clients, partners or vendors we spend increasing amounts of time on the phone or in video conference rather than face-to-face. This obviously changes the balance of how we present ourselves visually and verbally, so we turned to digital marketing expert Tere Stouffer to find out more about how to present yourself in a video conference and how to dress to meet clients. Of course, Tere is bursting with ideas and gave us far more insights into business, dress and digital marketing than we had bargained for.

Who is Tere Stouffer?

Born an engineer, raised in publishing and emerging as a tour de force in digital marketing, Tere has carved out an enviable career, breaking gender barriers, winning prestigious awards and earning a reputation as a leader in her field, all while maintaining a beautiful work-life balance, flying across country to meet clients, running her digital marketing business from her home office and spending quality time with her dog.

Creating Success

Tere's success reads like a text-book of good moves, but is a story of hard work, long hours and a dedication to excellence. Starting her ground-breaking reputation in 1990 Tere was hired as an engineer at Alps (the company behind Alpine) a company with over 10,000 employees as the first female engineer that they had ever employed. 

After a leap into publishing,  she found herselfhired to oversee the publishing of new materials for Girl Scouts of the USA which evolved into a position as Digital Content Strategist and the brand began to flourish at a tremendous rate. After her work being selected as the “Overall Grand Champion” of the inaugural Global Social Media Leadership Awards run by the Wharton School of Business and Ernst & Young, Tere realized that she was really doing something right and a few months later she set out as an entrepreneur.

Do you think this is representative of a new economy?

Yes. The contract economy is a thing and it is here. It is a good fit for me I get to combine all the things I love and this is more and more how people want to be running their lives. But it is not a good fit for everyone. I think it is a younger generation who are less afraid of a life without security, but see the gains of flexibility and the opportunity to define yourself in a new way. As a GenXer, I see Millennials chaffing at job titles that do not adequately define them – they don't want to be pigeon-holed, we are multi-faceted as humans and we want our work-lives to fit in with who we are, rather than fit in with a job title. The contract economy allows all of us to piece together a career that fits fits all those facets.

As an entrepreneur how do you interact with most of your clients?

I try to fly out to meet them in the beginning to put faces to names. After that, we use phone, email and video-conferencing.

How do you dress for a video-conference?

For the most part, I can get away with jeans or a fun skirt, a jacket and nice jewelry. But my clients work in a great range of industries and I need to be cognizant of what is appropriate. When I fly to meet a client I now call and ask “how do you dress there” and pack accordingly. Image and perceptions are very important, but not always in the way you may think.

What do you mean by 'how you may think?'

When I was working at Alpine, I went for an interview at a competing company. I had an interview with the CEO and thought I had nailed it. I looked the consummate professional in a suit, silk shirt, I projected well and had great answers to all the questions.

At the end of the interview, the CEO told me, 'Well this has been one of the most enjoyable hours that I have spent. You are an excellent candidate but...you haven't got the job. I was astounded, but decided to take the opportunity to find out why. He told me “your fingernails aren't dirty. I just don't see you working on the manufacturing floor here, you're too clean” and I realized that I had dressed very professionally, but for the wrong job – he wanted to see how I would fit in with his employees, so if I gone straight from my current position in a greasy work smock I would have appealed as more suitable for the tasks ahead.

How do you suggest dressing appropriately?

Call and ask.  I learned that as much as under-doing it, you do not want to over-dress either. In this entrepreneurial economy you want to fit in and stand out, but every company and industry has its own culture and you want to be aware of that before you approach them for a first meeting. First impressions really do count.

Coming soon...Tere Stouffer's digital marketing strategy advice to small businesses

How to dress for an interview

Let's start with the premise that interviewing is fun. It really is – you are creating your best “you” and taking it to meet other people.

Have you ever packed for a solo trip to another city? You pack your favorite “you”, your ideal version of yourself (or even a fantasy self) – you browse through your favorite clothes, or shop for new, you choose ones that you know will look great on you. You are creating an image, you have no history and no future – all that exists is the “now”.

  "You are creating your best you"

 

Going to an interview is the same. You take your sharpest mind and your sleekest look and wrap them with the ribbon of self-confidence.

#getdressedforwork

No matter what the position you are applying for, it's a no-brainer that you want to look professional, crisp and confident. Any other website is going to tell you how to don a dark suit and a white shirt. But more than that you want to look interesting. While you need to fit in, you really want to stand out as someone ready to attack any problem head-on – so you want to incorporate your own style into your interview outfit and show a little of your personality in your dress.

Know your body type and dress accordingly.

A sleek, well-fitting suit is a go-to solution, but maybe an office-chic dress with a coordinating jacket or a long-sleeved classic shirt with a well cut skirt. What looks best on you will be determined by your body type. We don't need to tell you that your shoulders should always be covered, you should not be showing cleavage or any thigh above the knee. Dignity is key, but the super-fun part is that you are going to enjoy dressing up.

Look like you

Dressing the part, is dressing as “you in the part”. Take time to savor the process of getting dressed in the morning, choose the right bag and shoes, the earring and necklace. What can you include that gives a hint of your unique style? You are not imitating someone else, you are bringing out the best “you” so don't hide beneath your interview costume.

The people who are sitting across the desk, throwing questions at you, are hoping that you will be the right person for the job. It's a game. A high stakes game, but undoubtedly one that you want to win.

Interviewing is the sales job of a lifetime.

Get dressed. Work Hard. Have fun.

Find us on facebook, twitter or instagram and tell us how you dressed for your best interview.

What To Wear To... A Pitch Meeting

As an entrepreneur you are, at some point, going to come face to face with an investor or a client, you are going to pitch your business and you need to be able to look professional, polished but modern and stylish – just like your business model – streamlined, modern and efficient.

Huge amounts of money can change hands and you need to look as if you are as professional and responsible as your awesome pitch presentation.

So what to wear?

We asked, Brigit, Kalena and Eleni and from PR agency Antenna (antennagroup.com) for some expert guidance on what to wear and when.

“As a PR company we are constantly pitching,” says Senior Account Executive Brigit, “we mainly represent tech, energy and life sciences companies, so we find ourselves in front of clients that range from very traditional to very relaxed. You need to do your research and find out who you are pitching to and how they dress. If we are meeting a client in the financial sector, we have to dress appropriately in a blazer, heels, skirt and very polished hair. But this can be a turn off in a different sector, for example if we are at a tech meeting then the look is going to be much more relaxed.”

“My go-to look is a pencil skirt and one statement piece that pops, but does not distract” adds Kalena Gravina, “with a well-fitting, chic pencil skirt you can fit into almost any meeting. You can dress it up or dress it down as the occasion demands and you will always look professional.”

“Read the situation,” says Eleni Polychroniadou.

If you are meeting at an investor's venture fund office with partners or to make a presentation, you will want to be dressed in a way that at least meets the dress code of their office. You want to look like a professional who will responsibly spend the millions that are on the table, and will be able to increase the investment in spades.

But if you are having a casual coffee around the corner then you can afford to be a little more relaxed, but still professional.

They all agree that you want to have a flexible wardrobe – a handful of key looks that you can make work for the clients that you are meeting. It makes a difference whether you wear a straight or a flowing skirt. A woman just has to be more conscious about how she looks, “I changed between events once,” says Brigit, “I realized I was the only woman and felt out of place in a skirt. My go-to tech pieces are chic skinny black jeans, a nice shirt and a pair of stylish flats.”

What is their best advice for a business woman pitching to clients or investors?

“Make sure if you are the youngest person in the room, you don't dress as if you are the youngest person in the room” says Kalena.

“And be certain that your words are the most important thing that people are going to remember.” adds Brigit. “Dress to show that you are a talented professional who has earned her position at the podium”

Thanks to Grind Spaces for their help, and for providing a great space for entrepreneurs to work in NYC!

 

We live in a brilliant era of entrepreneurial development, as an increasing number of women are breaking with convention, quitting the corporate world and driving change in the free market.

We work out of Grind Spaces in NYC's garment district and are honored to be surrounded by so many brilliant people who are building new companies that can and do change the world. And when we all work in our chic co-working office or on days when we work from home offices, gathered around our laptops on someone's living floor we can dress as we wish. The entrepreneurial world is famous for being low-key and casual, but the truth is, we all need to know how to step it up when necessary.