“Initially I would look in my closet for them,” Ms. Young said. “Then I said, ‘I’m hanging them on my bedroom door.’ Then I just had them sitting on a chair in my dining room where I set up my desk.”
Choosing a Zoom Shirt isn’t simple. Ironically, a garment that rarely leaves a single room needs the same qualities as a travel shirt: durable, easy to store, able to front in a variety of social settings. It also must come on and off in a flash. The Platonic ideal of the Zoom Shirt stays mostly buttoned all the time, with just enough of them undone to get the thing over your head.
When my J. Crew button-downs started to look wrinkled after a few uses, I settled on a cheap, casual, basic H&M number that was made to maintain its cheap, casual, basic look. But I’m considering upgrading to one recommended by Daniel Zisman, the public relations manager at the men’s wear start-up Proper Cloth. It’s a $175 merino wool dress shirt that he promised would “hold its shape” even after being thrown on the sofa near my laptop.
I was particularly sold after I asked him the most important question about any Zoom Shirt.
“You can wash it maybe every week or two, honestly,” he said.
Zoom Shirts are really the first and last word in Zoomwear. Zoom Jackets, I quickly discovered from looking around large Zoom calls in the early pandemic weeks, are vestimentum non grata. Zoom Ties look even more ridiculous. Everyone knows you have your laptop set up on the dining room table, with dishes just out of sight.
“When people overly dress up, I find it a little pretentious,” said Kevin Murray, a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s board and chief executive of the Weingart Center Association, which serves the homeless. Mr. Murray has been dressing less formally for Zoom calls, partly because they’re Zoom calls and partly because he has bigger things to worry about right now.
But while it can’t be too formal, a Zoom Shirt can be accessorized. “Wear statement earrings,” suggested Sarah LaFleur, the chief executive and founder of MM.LaFleur, a maker of stylish office wear for women. As for the shirt itself, she advises pastels to brighten your face.