9 Things to Wear (and 3 to Avoid) for a Presentation

While the occasion may not come around too often, more likely than not, you’ll have to present your own ideas at work at some point. And before you’re standing in front of your bosses and colleagues sharing that business proposal or pitch, figuring out what to wear for a presentation should be the least of your worries.

Once you’ve practiced your speech a few times and prepped the room, all that’s left is to dress the part. To take away the added stress of finding the right outfit for your big moment, we tapped Lauren McGoodwin, founder and CEO of Career Contessa, for her best advice on what to wear based on your work environment.

“When dressing for a presentation, it’s important to wear something you’re comfortable in, and something that makes you feel confident,” says McGoodwin. In a formal setting, she recommends a full suit. “I’d recommend going with a fitted black or navy suit, comfortable heel, and classic hair.”

If your office has a more creative flair, don’t be afraid to let that show through your look. “There’s room to experiment, but you still want to keep it professional with fitted pieces, such as a colorful pencil skirt or a long-sleeve dress,” McGoodwin tells us.

Working at a startup? A casual environment still calls for a level of professionalism during certain moments, and a presentation is no exception. “Denim is pretty widely accepted in the startup environment, but keeping the professional tone, I’d recommend a dark wash and adding a great blazer.”

McGoodwin also suggests leaving anything that restricts your ability to move at home—after all, this type of meeting requires gestures and movement in the room. She says to leave those ripped jeans, loose-fitting tops, and teetering heels at home for another time. Now, shop our favorite looks to ace your next presentation.


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

When working in a more formal environment, it's important to dress the part—especially when it comes to giving a presentation. Show your colleagues that you mean business with suit pieces like a blazer and tailored trousers.


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

If you happen to work in a more creative environment that allows a bit more sartorial freedom, let your personality shine while staying polished for your presentation. A textured skirt or pants will pair so well with an easy and chic button-down.


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

Just because you work at a casual startup company doesn't mean that you have to dress the part. Stay stylish and professional with a streamlined ensemble of skinny jeans and a top with an unexpected detail.

With these pieces, you’ll be sure to command the room the next time you’ve got a presentation in the books.

Dale Arden Chong