How to Dress Up for Public Speaking

One of the many questions asked all the time is,

“What kind of dress should I wear?”

Many speakers on television and other occasions are showing good and bad examples of what to wear and what not to wear during speech delivery.

One good example is during graduation ceremonies where you see the guest speaker wearing some kind of gown and toga to match the occasion.

A bad example can be seen on television all the time when a preacher or a speaker speaks in front of a crowd wearing jeans, a baseball cap, and a slipper.

Almost everyone in the crowd is wearing a nice and formal dress appropriate for the occasion except for the speaker.

The question is, is it really necessary to wear a formal dress when you give a speech or talk in front of people?

Imagine your teacher came to class with improper attire wearing shorts, a slipper, and a sleeveless shirt, how would you feel? Would you be able to focus on the lesson or not?

The same thing with the audience, they see you and your dress before they listen to your speech, the way they perceive you affects the believability of your speech.

“What kind of dress should I wear then?”

Every occasion is different and each requires a different dress code.


In a classroom speech competition

  • Wear something you are comfortable; it does not need to be expensive, fancy and elegant. Dress like the other students in the room.

In a formal event like local or national speech competition and other formal events

  • Dress up formally in a suit and tie or other formal dress. The informal dress has no room for this kind of event.
  • Do not follow what you see on the internet or television like wearing a baseball cap in a formal event.
  • Jeans are an informal and casual dress; you can wear them on some occasions, but not in a formal event.
  • Make sure to wear the appropriate shoes and dress.


  • Do not wear a suit with rubber shoes as some are doing.
  • Rubber shoes go well with Jeans but not with suit and tie.
  • Black shoes go with a suit and tie.
  • Dress not too fit and not too revealing, especially for women.
  • Make yourself comfortable on the stage as well as your audience.
  • Not all dress that makes you comfortable is acceptable.
  • You may be comfortable, but the audience cannot focus because of your outfit.
  • Dress modestly and appropriately.

Now, you are all set, get your dress ready and be ready to deliver a powerful and meaningful speech!

18 thoughts on “How to Dress Up for Public Speaking”

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