How to Dress to Impress
During an Important Presentation

See also: Personal Appearance

Whether you frequently give presentations or are only required to do so occasionally in your line of work, you’ve probably wondered how you can ensure that every part of your presentation goes off without a hitch.  While the content of your presentation, your confidence levels, and how you hold yourself can all contribute to your success, there’s also the matter of your outfit choice.

Because everyone’s attention is on you during a company presentation, take the time to consider the following ‘dress to impress’ tips.

Man dressed smartly in a suit and tie.

Identify Your Weaknesses

Even before you contemplate your outfit choices, it can be a good idea to identify the things you know you might do or experience that might be distracting for yourself and those you’re presenting to.

For example, if you know you’re prone to sweating when you’re nervous, premium nose pads for your glasses might be how you stop them from slipping off your face. You might also refrain from wearing colors that show up sweat patches or materials that retain heat or don’t promote superior breathability. By solving some of these problems before your presentation, you might be more comfortable and confident in yourself as you present in front of your peers.

Wear Clothing That Makes You Feel Good

You might assume that the best way to feel confident during a presentation is to dress in the sharpest, most well-tailored outfit you can find. While dressing nicely can be crucial, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your comfort. It’s essential to strike a balance between feeling good and looking good.

Wear clothing that feels comfortable against your body, fits snugly in all the right places, and doesn’t irritate your skin. Many business people have a go-to outfit for important meetings, and if you have such an outfit, there’s no reason why you can’t use it for an upcoming presentation.

Get Help If You Need It

If you’re rarely called upon to lead a presentation or even give a speech in front of your colleagues or business clients, you may not feel confident in making the right clothing choices. You likely have more skills than you think you do, but you might see the value in asking for help if you need it.

You might have a co-worker you can rely on for helpful advice, or you may even like to visit a local professional clothing store and have a shop assistant help you pick out an outfit. Both are suitable solutions for your wardrobe woes.

Dress for Your Audience

Most business professionals used to have no issues deciding what to wear for an important presentation or meeting. A business suit and tie or an office-appropriate dress was almost guaranteed to be suitable for any occasion. However, workplace dynamics are changing, and the people or organization you’re presenting for may not have a strict dress code as they might have done in the past. As a result, if you were to dress in a smart suit and tie in a room full of casually dressed employees, you might feel largely overdressed.

If you’re presenting for your own company, you’ll likely know exactly what dress code is required, which can make choosing your outfit a much easier process. However, if you’ll be presenting for another business, research can be necessary. Don’t be afraid to view company websites and talk with employees you already have connections with. You can then make sure you stand out for what you’re presenting, not for what you’re wearing.

Let Your Outfit Reflect Your Brand

Alongside ensuring that your outfit suits your audience and confidence levels, there’s also value in ensuring that it reflects your own brand, especially when presenting to prospective business partners, clients, and colleagues. While you’ll still want to look professional, making sure you’re able to tell a story about your company while presenting information about it can be crucial.

For example, delivering a speech on behalf of a law firm might see you wearing a tailored, sharp-looking, and commanding suit, but you might feel more at home in semi-casual trousers and a shirt if you work for an edgy marketing company.

Be Careful with Accessories

When you’re delivering a presentation, you want the focus to be on what you’re talking about and showing, rather than what you’re wearing. However, if you were to over-accessorize, you run the risk of your shiny gold Rolex watch or oversized cufflinks becoming more important to your audience than the message you’re trying to get across. Generally, conservative cufflinks, a simple necklace, and a pair of earrings are all suitable accessory options for any sex to pair with their outfit.

Don’t Wear Brand New Clothing

While there’s nothing wrong with going clothes shopping before delivering an important presentation, you might see the value in wearing your new outfit at least once or twice before your big event. By doing so, you can establish any weaknesses and areas that might pose problems. You’re also able to create a small amount of wear that gets rid of that ‘new’ look.

Most importantly, wearing new clothing before your presentation can mean you’re aware of any features that might cause irritation, such as a tag that scratches your skin or an in-seam that causes itchiness.

Don’t Neglect Your Footwear

You might put a lot of thought into the color of your suit or dress, the best tie to match your shirt, and accessories to tie the look together, but don’t forget your footwear. You might have the smartest tailor-made suit, but all eyes can be drawn to footwear that’s dirty or imperfect in another way. If you’re purchasing a new outfit for an important presentation, consider purchasing shoes to match. You can then be sure they’re fresh, polished, and ready to tie in with your flawless look.

Preparing for a presentation or speech can be about more than making sure you’ve written informative notes and have all your slides in order. What you wear can be equally crucial. Take the time to think about your audience, what’s currently in your wardrobe, and the outfit that will make the most impact without distracting from the content of your presentation. You can then be ready to present to your colleagues or clients with confidence.