Giving a Big Presentation? Wear This.

presentation outfit

My lack of style intuition is no secret to most of you.  Twelve years of wearing a school uniform coupled with a super practical mama who wore scrubs everyday didn’t leave much room for fashion inspiration. Sure, I read magazines, but with no basis for creating a style, I was trapped in the land of buy and return. Until almost ten years ago, when I learned about the option of having a personal wardrobe stylist. From that day forward, my clothing and shoe choices largely fall into her purvey. It’s a total win. I look stylish every day and the time spent shopping and returning has been put to much better use.

Time and again, I’ll have a specific ask – like this one.  I’ve got a huge presentation or meeting coming up and I want to wow the crowd.   Maybe you do too.  I asked expert Darcy Camden (and my favorite personal stylist) for her insights below. You might be surprised by a few!

Don’t wear all black. While black feels slimming, chic and safe, it’ a recessive color, which means if fades to the back and downplays you and what you have to say. Try adding a pop of color to say your favorite black pants, skirt or blazer.

Be careful with white. Besides the fact that white (and other light shades of white including cream, ivory and tan) doesn’t always photograph well, the likelihood of spilling something on yourself is exponentially higher when you’re nerves are on high alert.

Make sure you can function and pass a “sit test” in your outfit.  Whenever you are in front of a crowd, remember that people will be watching you from different vantage points in the room. Pictures from the crowd may come from any angle. And, if you are on a stage, people will be looking up at you. Many skirts and dresses that look great standing up can creep up on you when you sit or walk. You don’t want to be fidgeting or pulling at your skirt or (worst of all!) give people a peep show! You should also be able to easily go from walking to sitting and vice-versa in your outfit.

Think about wrinkles. Plan for the whole day. We often make the mistake of considering only the presentation and not the time leading up to it or following it that is equally important. Your outfit should be able to go the distance without ending up a wrinkly mess after a few hours.

Don’t run out and buy a whole new outfit. While a new outfit might seem like a good idea, it’s usually better to wear something you already own and have experience with than something all-new that is an unknown (that could stretch out, wrinkle, photograph poorly, become uncomfortable, etc). If you want the excitement of something new and fresh, pair it with an “old faithful” item to minimize surprises.

When in doubt, build an item from the ground up – starting with your shoes. Think about which shoes will be the best/most stylish/most comfortable option and build an outfit around them.

Now that you can confidently tackle what you’ll wear, we’re fans of practice, practice, practice your presentation (I even do it front of a mirror or my family if they’ll humor me)!

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