How To Dress For Public Speaking

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Dressing for an occasion is never easy, but at least when you’re a wedding guest, a festival goer or attending a conference you know, there’s a general dress code and what’s expected. But what if you are hosting or speaking at an event? What do you wear, then? How do you set yourself apart from everyone else while still being true to yourself and feeling comfortable? How do you dress for success and power but still look approachable and likable? Walking out on stage is nerve-wracking enough, and people make an assumption of you within the first 15 seconds of you walking out on stage, meaning that you only have one chance to make a first impression. 

It doesn’t actually matter how intelligent you sound and how interesting your topic is, if you look disheveled, then your audience will be uncomfortable, and your words will go unnoticed by the distraction. So, to make sure that your audience is listening to you, then make sure you follow these tips on how to dress:

Be Comfy

You need to be able to move on stage, so don’t wear anything restrictive that makes you feel uncomfortable. For example, in her solo show, Staceyann Chin sought help in costume design by Akua Murray Adoboe and went for something that she could be herself in at the same time as looking smart and feeling comfortable. 


Dress Like An Adult

Your outfit needs to be appropriate to your age and your style. Don’t try to dress like a hip teen if you’re over 30 and are talking to a high school audience.  Act and dress your age. Remember that you want to make an impression, and you want to make the right impression. 


Dress For Your Audience

If your audience is fashion, then dress accordingly, if it’s business, then you know you need a well-tailored suit of high-quality fabrics. You should know your audience, know who will be there and who will be judging you and if you’re not sure, then have a look at similar talks online and see what other speakers have worn. 


Be Smart

It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing but make sure that it’s smart, so skirt and trouser hems should be secure, shoes should be polished, and heels secure. You don’t want your audience to remember you for your missing button, ripped shirt, or spilled soup down your front. Take pride in what you’re wearing and how you appear.


Be Yourself 

You need to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, and that’s not just comfortable as mentioned before, making sure that your clothes fit you and you can move in them, but being yourself and not wearing something that makes you self conscious or that’s not ‘you.’ Don’t go for something you wouldn’t normally wear; it will show if you’re not relaxed when you’re on stage and with the pressure of speaking already you don’t want to be worrying about what you’re wearing too.


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