What to Wear Onstage as a Public Speaker

Your keynote is ready, you’ve traveled to your public speaking gig, and now it’s time to get dressed. What should you wear onstage as a public speaker? Not only is your onstage outfit as a speaker important for comfort while you deliver your keynote talk or workshop, but it also acts as the very first impression your audience receives about you. The audience will see what you’re wearing before you even begin your talk, so choose wisely. If you’re standing stumped in front of your closet, keep these tips in mind when choosing your onstage outfit. 


When it comes to choosing the color and pattern for your onstage outfit, don’t blend in and at the same time, don’t be distracting. If possible, ask the event for the stage background color so that you don’t wear the same color. Pops of color and jewel tones stand out well onstage, while black tends to blend in with a dark stage setting. Stay away from busy patterns and distracting jewelry. After all, you want the audience to be listening to what you’re saying, not getting distracted by a loud pattern or shiny necklace.


Once you’ve chosen a potential outfit, always try it on and test it out. Move around to make sure you can comfortably walk and stand up straight. As you move, you’ll get a feel for whether your outfit will show sweat. Test out different lighting. Your bedroom lighting might look vastly different than bright stage lights, so stand in front of different lighting sources to ensure nothing about your onstage outfit is see-through. Also, keep in mind that you might need to wear a lapel microphone. Where will it be clipped? Loose fitting tops don’t work well with a heavy clipped mic, so wear something sturdy or form fitting to ensure a lapel microphone stays firmly in place.


Lastly, remember that comfort equates to confidence. The more comfortable you feel onstage, the more confident you will come across to your audience as you speak. The best way to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible is through your outfit and your shoes. If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing and how you look, that feeling will impact your confidence level as you speak. The best onstage outfits show your personality and also keep you comfortable and confident. 

When in doubt about what to wear for your next public speaking gig, our Speaker Sisters have your back. Enroll in Mic Drop Workshop and get access to our community of over 1,400 women with a range of speaking experience to help you decide on the perfect onstage outfit.

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