December 11th, 2009
Q: I am a college student that is a business major. As finals week slowly approach, I have presentations to present. What should I wear to the presentation? My dilemma is that I don’t want to look too overdressed or underdressed. Would a simple black dress and a boyfriend fit blazer with black flats be okay to wear?
Pictured: Wool Gabardine One Button Jacket | $235 at J Crew.
A: Whether it’s a presentation during finals or a boardroom presentation in the workplace, the key to dressing well is to wear something that you feel confident in. We all have outfits (and shoes) that make us feel good - and ready to take on whatever the day throws at us. For a presentation where it’s important to make a good impression, tip the scales in your favor by wearing a tried and true favorite. Or if you’re buying something new for the presentation, make sure to try on the whole outfit to get the right fit - and feel - before the day of the event. That way, the day of the presentation, you can focus on what really matters: your message.
For a college presentation, you’ll want to keep your look professional, but still youthful. If you wear a suit, keep it fitted and feel free to take some liberties with your shirt - you don’t have to wear a plain white or striped button-down. Try different fabrics (like the chambray shirt, pictured), colors, or silhouettes. You can also choose to go the dress route and wear a simple dress, as you suggested, with a professional looking jacket. You may want to mix up the colors - a heathered grey dress with a navy blazer, for instance, would be both professional and a little more visually interesting.
For a workplace presentation, a good rule of thumb is to dress a level or two above your position. That way, you’ll be sure to look polished, but you won’t be overly dressy.
If you’re being filmed, here’s a couple of extra style notes:
(1) Bright, vibrant colors work best for TV; they look good to the eye - and the camera.
(2) Try not to wear white clothes - it’ll wash out the lighting.
(3) Same goes for pure black or navy clothes. While they look good to your eye, they tend to look like a solid patch of darkness to the camera’s eye.
(4) Fine patterns like herringbone and small checks can cause a wavy effect; avoid these patterns where possible.
Have a great tip about what to wear to a presentation? Share it with us in the comments!