What Should I Wear for a Presentation?

As it pertains to your overall executive presence, these are the most common questions participants in my live seminars ask about what to wear for a presentation:

  • What should the presenter wear when the meeting is described as “business casual” for attendees?
  • How do you know ahead of time if you are dressed appropriately for your presentation?

Below are guidelines for general do’s and don’ts for dressing for a successful presentation. I believe it all begins by asking the question:

“What does my audience expect me to wear?”

  • When in doubt, dress one level “up” from your audience.
  • Avoid busy patterns and multicolored suits. Solids look better and often more professional from the dais.
  • Wear darker colors when speaking in front of a large audience; surprisingly, this helps them see you better.
  • Press your clothing.
  • XYZ: eXamine Your Zipper before going on stage.
  • Remember to remove your nametag before you speak.
  • Check the mirror immediately prior to your talk.

Next week we’ll look at specifics for both male and female speakers when faced with the question of what to wear and feeling confident about dressing for a successful presentation.


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

“Own” the Room Before, During, and AFTER Your Presentation

How to Make Natural Eye Contact With Your Audience

4 Steps to Ace a Proper Speaker’s Stance

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