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Of all the issues the public speaker has to deal with…here’s one more.  What should I wear?  It’s a real conundrum. If you’re ever thought about that you’re clearly not alone so let me offer some guidance.

My perspective is geared towards females so male speakers may want to follow-up with me to address specific concerns that are not addressed in this post.  Here are some pointers to consider regarding how to dress.

  1. As part of finding out about your audience, inquire as to what they typically wear or what they’ll probably wear to your event.  Once you know that information, do your best to dress at least at the same level or even slightly better.
  2. Remember that you’re seen as the “expert” for your topic so it’s important to dress the part and that may mean being in more formal attire.
  3. With that in mind, be sure that your outfit is still fashionable vs. something that went out of style years ago (e.g., padded shoulders, pantyhose with open-toed shoes, pants that are not the right length, etc.).
  4. Since you’re probably thinking about your garment ahead of time, be sure to have it laundered or dry-cleaned to remove any stains or discolorations.  Then be sure to check it in the event that there is a button missing, shrinkage, ripped hem, or some type of problem that you’re not expecting.
  5. Once you’ve selected what you want to wear, try it on before you leave for your presentation.  Be certain it fits you well and isn’t too tight, too big, too short, or doesn’t allow you to move easily.
  6. Your shoes should be polished and in good condition.  If you have scuffed or old shoes it will take away from your attire.
  7. If you’re going to speak with a microphone, I suggest wearing an outfit where you will have a waistband or a sturdy lapel.  This allows for easily attaching a lavaliere microphone (clip-on).
  8. Avoid jewelry that may be a distraction for you or your listeners.  Sometimes jewelry may look great with your outfit but isn’t ideal as a speaker because it is too long, gets in the way or makes too much noise.

The clothing you select makes a statement about you as a speaker and therefore you want to feel comfortable and confident.  Please feel free to call me (518-664-6004) to discuss your clothing concerns as I’ve helped many of my clients with making this important decision.  I’m happy to offer you any assistance.