Style Tips For Public Speaking

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The act of speaking in public is considered one of the greatest fears that people have. Besides preparing your speech, rehearsing it and doing relaxation exercises, your outfit can also boost your confidence level significantly.

How to Dress for Public Speaking

I am a professor, so “public speaking” is almost my everyday task. And as an academic, I participate every year in conferences and events where I present my research articles. That’s why I’m pretty used to prepare my conference speeches but also my outfits. Read the following ideas that will help you have a great outfit that boosts your confidence level and attitude.

Know your audience

Whether it is a presentation to your work colleagues or a conference, try to get to know your audience. See how your boss and colleagues are usually getting dressed for meetings. And if it’s a conference, check out photos of the previous editions and investigate what the participants’ style has been.

That means that you should previously analyse the way your audience usually dresses. Each company and industry are different, and not all have the same standards or requirements when it comes to dress code.


Comfort over trends

Be comfortable with what you are wearing.  You don’t have to wear a 2.000 dollar suit to feel and look more important. The key is to look professional and not trendy. That’s why it’s important that your shoes are comfortable, and your dress lets you breathe normally.

what to wear at the conference

Avoid messages or bold patterns

Don’t wear shirts or sweaters with printed words. Depending on the event, I would even avoid any anything where the brand logo is prominently visible (for example, Ralph Lauren shirts). Remember that the focus should be on what you say rather than on the things you are wearing.

what to wear to a ted talk

Avoid the extremes

Don’t wear stuff that’s too loose or too tight. You’ve worked hard to be there, and you’ve probably been preparing the last couple of weeks for it. Now don’t let people stare at your tight dress or sheer shirt.


Be bold so people remember you

I can’t forget when a friend showed me a photo of a diplomatic event and everyone–men and women–was dressing in white, black and grey, except one lady: she was wearing a beautiful red dress. As you can imagine, she was the first thing you would see when looking at the photo. I also love to wear bold colors such as red or blue because it stands out, and it’s easier for people to remember you. (“Ah, that lady in the red dress“).  So, don’t forget to add something personal to your outfit!

woman in public speaking wearing fuchsia

Simple, small accessories

Avoid big and noisy accessories, such as big earrings and necklaces, or noisy bracelets. They can distract the audience from your speech, and they can create a problem when the microphone is catching their sound.

Emma-Watson public speaking

Prepare alternatives

If you travel, take along two possible looks for your conference. You should go a day before (or several hours) to check the stage, the lighting, etc. You can even change from white shirt to red one if you notice that there is a lot of white behind you. Or use a black dress instead of a white one when the light is weak.

green elegant dress when going to a conference

Outfits For Speeches and Presentations

I’m a huge fan of Queen Rania of Jordan. She is professional, respects culture, and even a bit trendy. Other women to get inspired by are Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, and Sheryl Sandberg.

queen rania of jordan style

queen rania of jordan public speaking

queen rania of jordan style

queen-rania- and style for public speaking

Michelle Obama giving a speech

michelle obama in blue dress public speaking

ceo talking in red suit


Please share with us: Do you have any tricks or tips that help you when giving a talk?



  1. Jessica C

    at 7:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! Staying professional but not trendy is definitely the key as you outlined! But I also love how the icons you named are the ones that pull outfits off that have trendy elements but still are elevated and highly professional. It’s really not easy!! Awesome article!!

    Jessica ||

    • Style Advisor

      at 8:52 pm

      Hello Jessica,

      Thank you very much. Happy to see that you share my opinion. Let’s keep in touch!!
      Hugs, Andreea

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