I’ve been speaking at conferences for just about a year now, and over the course of that year a lot has changed in what I decide to wear when speaking. I’ve gone everywhere between going all out with a blazer, to rocking that nerdy t-shirt. With everything I’ve tried, I’ve discovered some things about what I like along the way.
I started off my journey always wearing a blazer. By dressing the part this way, it helped boost my confidence. I grew up dancing, and from that I know that putting on the costume adds a whole new level of feeling prepared before going out in front of everyone. By seeing myself looking sharp in my outfit, it helped me feel ready to walk out on the stage.
It also helped teach me the value of layers. When wearing a lapel mic, the wire that leads to the box tends to annoy me. By wearing layers, I’ve found that I can easily run the wire under the top layer, to keep it hidden and out of my way.
Wearing layers can also help serve another purpose. If you’re going to wear a lapel mic, you need a good place to clip it onto. Whether you’re wearing a blazer, button down, or cardigan, these all provide an easy place to clip that mic.
Another thing to consider with that mic — you need someplace to put the box. A pocket, belt, or waistband is perfect for this. Just be careful about sitting if you’re putting it in your back pocket!!
Now, I don’t always wear a blazer every time I talk, I’ve gotten much more relaxed. You should still do your research to see what speakers tend to wear at a given event so you know you’re dressing appropriately (I’ve found looking up videos from past years to be a great resource), but you should also make sure you’re wearing what makes you comfortable.
I recently bought a new T-shirt that I’m enjoying wearing to speak when the environment is relaxed enough. This shirt gives a little piece of me (my favorite animal, and admitting to the anxiety I have), and I think that’s fun. I’m all for dressing to your personality, or the theme of your talk.
What people might wear differs across people, conferences, and industries. I heard great things from people on Twitter about what they wear when they’re on stage. There are also some great posts that talk about it from others.
What do you like wearing when you give talks?