Q&A – Dress for Success on Stage PART 2

In any situation you have only 90 seconds to create a good first impression, according to Presentation Magazine. So as you stand in front of your audience you need to ensure you are giving the right signals. You need to“Dress for Success on Stage”.

In part one, I covered general guidelines for dressing for success on stage. This post covers specific answers to questions posed by some of Marriott’s executives during my visit last Monday.

Marissa Mayer president and CEO of Yahoo  Photo Credit

Question 1 – While we present, close-ups are being projected of us on the big screen yet the stage is far back. How do we balance this? What wardrobe choices can we make to avoid getting lost on stage or being too “in your face” on the big screen?

Brooks Jones, personal stylist manager at Nordstrom’s Tysons Corner, suggests bright colors since typically the background is dark or black. He also suggests sticking to solids unless it is the underpinnings (the shell or shirt that goes under your blazer).

If you decide to go with a pattern, try for a medium-sized one, and ideally one with blurred edges, a watercolor feel, or an abstract design, advises stylist and author Sally McGraw. See my example of  Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s president and CEO, above?

Additionally, Presentation Magazine suggests finding out what color the background is and wearing a complementary color. For example, you do not want to wear a red dress on a purple background.

Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook Photo Credit 

Question 2 – It’s hot on stage. What are some tips to negotiate this? Also, it will be winter (February) so we will be wearing winter fabrics. Any tips for staying seasonally relevant, yet not overheating?

Jones suggests wearing layers. This way, if it is super hot and/or you are nervous you can shed layers but still look put together. Try to avoid heavy bulky fabrics because you will sweat and it will add bulk to your look.

Make sure the materials of your outfit breath. So that means made of a fabric that lets in air, or you will get sweat stains. Also stick to deeper shades rather than lighter ones if you are worried about sweat stains. The stains won’t be noticeable with darker shades, for example jewel tones.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund Photo Credit

Question 3- What do you recommend for lipstick choices on stage/on camera? 

Add lip color but avoid super-bright and super-dark shades like fiery reds and deep purples, suggests McGraw. Instead try pinks, berries, and dusty corals, or anything that is just a bit brighter or darker than your natural lip color.

All the lights tend to wash people out, but we are also living in an HD world. It is important to go for a color lipstick says Jones, but being overly made up can age you onscreen.

The bottom line is, if you had to choose between looking overly made up and washed out, it is better to look a little washed out. source

Michelle Obama, First Lady Photo Credit

Question 4 – Hair and makeup. Any tips for negotiating this experience?

Do not let them (the hair and makeup stylists) go wild with hair and makeup. People tend to want to get creative. That is not the time before a big presentation, Jones recommends. Keep it clean, simple, and understated.

On a side note: I’ve got it – my New Year’s resolution- hit the weights and get those Michelle Obama arms!

Last tip: Keep your hair off your face – pull it back if necessary.

What tips can you add?

xo, Jamie

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