7 Top Presentation Wardrobe Tips


Traditionally, the passing of Labor Day has signaled banishment of all white footwear to the far reaches of closets across the country. While runway trends and local mall offerings gradually chip away at the no white shoes rule, the following wardrobe guidelines have withstood the test of time. Consider deploying these tips before your next presentation:

  • Dress for the position you WANT, not the one you currently have. Want your boss’ job? Dress like you have it today.
  • Ties or t-shirts? We see it all these days in organizations; your best bet is to know the audience. When you present outside of your organization or group, research the audience culture and dress one notch above their default attire. Too many notches above, or below, can create an instant disconnect.
  • Sweat the small stuff. Think presentation nerves might make you “glow?” One small detail can keep you a step ahead. Wear a white shirt and/or a dark jacket to help camouflage this symptom of nervousness.  Normally we encourage you to be yourself and not hide your quirks – this is one exception.
  • To lapel or not to lapel? Will you need to wear a microphone or name badge? If yes, those lapels will come in handy.
  • Don’t sacrifice comfort for fashion. The blisters aren’t worth it. The shoes or skirt might be smashing in the dressing room, but will they be comfortable for the day-long meeting you’re leading? Opt for fashion AND functional.
  • Leave the big jewelry at home. Whether presenting virtually or in-person, dangling charms and flashy jewelry can distract your audience, getting in the way of them hearing what you have to say.
  • Don’t forget to wear a smile – Participants in a University of Pittsburgh study rated people who smiled more trustworthy than people with non-smiling facial expressions. Also, a group of researchers from the University of Montpellier in France concluded that smiling is just as effective when demonstrating leadership as other characteristics such as confidence and compassion.

We’ll leave those white shoes up to you, but be sure to follow the above tips to put your best presentation foot forward – in every season.

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