What to wear?

I was selected to be a presenter at two upcoming conferences. One is in my hometown and the other is in lovely San Francisco. I have been working hard on the presentations, trying to cover everything that needs covering in the allotted amount of time. But over the weekend, I had a panic attack because I have nothing to wear to these presentations.

Before I moved to ABQ, I lived in Washington, DC where I worked as a research librarian for a lawyer who went on to be Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff. The law firm was posh to the max. All of the employees looked like they had stepped out of GQ or Elle. I spent a ton of money on my wardrobe because it was the kind of work environment where this was expected. Every day, regardless of the weather or mood, I wore hose and heels.

Now that I live in the Southwest and work at a place that doesn’t really have a dress code (it’s common to see scientists and engineers wearing cut-off jean shorts, Hawaiian shirts, and flip-flops), I realize how much of a slacker I’ve become in the wardrobe department.

For the most part, I have a “uniform” that I wear every day. It consists of Levi’s jeans, a pair of Dansko clogs, and a warm and colorful sweater in the Fall/Winter, or a cute short-sleeved blouse in the Spring/Summer. Sometimes I’ll mix it up a little and wear a Levi’s jean skirt. I like to show off my tanned legs every now and then. 😉

But my point is, I’ve really come to enjoy the “casual Friday” everyday aspect of my job. If you told me I was required to wear heels and hose again, I don’t know how I would cope.

Do you think it’s acceptable for me to wear my “uniform” when I make the presentations? Or should I hit the mall and search for a dress or pants and a blazer?

Be honest: Would you think poorly of a presenter who was wearing casual attire?

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2 responses to “What to wear?

  1. I teach a class on presentation skills and I use this stat on one of my slides. It’s kind of scary! “The impact of a typical presentation is 55% visual (how you look), 38% vocal (how you talk), and only 7% verbal (what you say).”

    It’s from this article: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/07/124present.html?page=0%2C1

    Congrats on the speaking engagements! Hope this helps 🙂

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