What to wear for a TEDx talk

What to wear for a TEDx talkSo, today we’re delving into what to wear for a TEDx talk a bit more, in light of my TEDx Malvern talk that’s fast approaching. Today I’m actually going to focus on the top half. I was going to do top, middle and bottom but it felt a bit too ‘The Price Is Right’ so I went for top and bottom. I probably didn’t need to explain that. I might have shown my age a bit. You know, with Michael Barrymore? No – let’s crack on…

What to wear for a TEDx talk – the top half

In this blog, I’m talking tops, blazers, jackets, ponchos, shirts and jewellery.

If you haven’t see my first blog about how to dress for a TEDx talk, then you can follow the link and have a read. It introduces ‘the Glam Squad’ without who I would probably be sat in a corner rocking. They had a really tricky brief.. mainly because I’m a complete nightmare when it comes to clothes, but to recap on a few things before we carry on…

  • The background of the stage will be black
  • The talk will be filmed
  • I’m ‘aware’ of my height and don’t wish to look any taller
  • I am rather conscious of my stomach area (I blame my children) and would like to avoid any attention being drawn to that

On top of this, I think when you’re doing any form of public speaking, meeting people for the first time, presenting a professional, you want to look ‘right’. This doesn’t mean a suit. It doesn’t mean black. It means smart but, more importantly, authentically you.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m wearing something I feel awkward in, the day/event doesn’t feel good. You know when you’re made to go to weddings and social events and you wear things that make you feel odd but you think you have to? Yep, I’m talking about that. And I for one am done with feeling awkward because of what I’m wearing. Of course, the people who have come to see the TEDx talk, well, anyone who has given up their precious time to see any talk, deserves respect. You should make an effort. They have given up their most valuable commodity and while you need to plan and prep what you’re going to say, I also think it’s important to show effort in your appearance. But not at the expense of feeling odd, because you just won’t do your best work. But there’s a happy medium. And that’s what the ‘Glam Squad’ – Karen and Sophie – and I had in mind.

The top

We talked about the top… layer one if you will. There was the stomach issue to contend with, but apart from that it was pretty fair game.

I’ve always loved the Joules Rosamund Top and the shape of the neckline and the way the shirt falls ticked a lot of boxes. Each season they have different prints and there have been some completely gorgeous ones in the past (I mean, I’m cross I didn’t buy them then!), but that’s just life! At the time of writing this, there are three prints available in the Rosamund: Blue Bird Blossom, Cream Dog Walkers and Navy Poppy. They’re all lovely, but the cream one did it for me. I also felt that this option would contrast enough with the jacket options I was looking at but wouldn’t compete. The hemline was also nice as it worked tucked in or hanging outside trousers… some shirts work much better tucked in, but this is really adaptable. So that was on the possible pile.

Next up was a top from Boden. Karen suggested something with my brand colour in, which is maroon. Until I spent most of a weekend looking at maroon tops, I didn’t realise how many different colour maroons there were! They vary hugely from proper red to deep and dark, like red wine. I much prefer the wine end of the spectrum… I’m a bit pale for full on red. Anyway, after a lot of searching, I found two possibles on Boden’s site and they were both on sale. Yay. By the time I pulled my finger out one was available in my size. Egged on my Karen and Sophie it was ordered and appeared two days later. The top in question was Aurora and I picked Black Forest as a colour. They also did/do (depending on when you read this!) a really lovely green that I’m tempted to buy too, but that’s another story! The main body is jersey fabric, it has a simple round collar and semi-sheer sleeves with a spot design. Is it something I would have normally looked at? Nope. But when Karen suggested the colour choice, that was my focus and it made me think outside the box. The colour is absolutely lovely and although a touch more pinky than my maroon, it feels like it’s very much from the same family. It’s very different to the Joules shirt, but really nice.

Last but not least, the third contender was a navy and white striped shirt from Crew Clothing. This was, again, in their sale section, but we all thought that the vertical stripes would be slimming and that navy and white is a classic combination.

What to wear for a TEDx talkThe jacket

We discussed jackets, blazers, coats, capes and ponchos for a while. Now, as I have said before, comfort is important to me… so that was at the forefront of any decision. In order to address the stomach issue, any top jacket/cape/poncho would need to be of a suitable length to finish below my waistline, and this would also help to soften the height issue. Nothing says ‘you’re tall’ than a jacket that looks too short!

We discussed different ideas and agreed that the blazer format was best. This is smart and shows a serious-ness, which you want. Professional but when teamed with other garments, gives a relaxed and friendly feel while still showing respect.

When we agreed on this, I called on my friends at Butler Stewart and they very kindly agreed to loan me two different jackets. Both are cut to the Jemma pattern, which is single breasted with two buttons. I’ve always loved the shape of this jacket, and the length too. Its cut means it looks great buttoned up or unbuttoned, and the shape of the jacket when buttoned means  you can still see the top underneath, which is nice.

Anna said she would send me two different options – both the Jemma Jacket, but two different colours: Pearl Grey and Willow Green. Both colours are really lovely and completely my taste. The grey will clearly work well with stronger colours (like the Boden top and the Crew Clothing shirt), but the Willow Green has orange and pink detail in the tweed, which will also work well with the Boden top and also the cream Joules shirt too. I also liked the fact that Butler Stewart is a ‘friend’ and Anna, the lady behind it, is a member of the Small & Supercharged group. Wearing a tweed also gives a strong nod to my countryside roots, but the way this tweed is would mean it works really well in a more ‘corporate’ setting too. A MASSIVE thank you to Butler Stewart for letting me loan these jackets.

The jewellery

I’ll put you out of your misery – I’ll be wearing Hiho Silver!

As you know, I work with Hiho Silver, own lots of the pieces they make and love the range. Emma, the MD, kindly said I could loan anything I like, so I chatted to the Glam Squad. I asked to borrow the Long Chained Cherry Roller (three and five roller versions), a Bobbly Necklace, and a circle necklace too, which Michelle (the Countess of Contentment) sent with two chains. I do also have my own Double Chained Cherry Roller that I wear all the time too. As for my wrists, I always was an old sterling silver bangle I was given as a gift by my grandmother (no idea of its origin), a Springy Bangle, Cherry Roller and Foxtail. I also have a Foxy Roller that comes out on special occasions. Ring wise, my Snaffle Ring never leaves me, and neither does my wedding and engagement ring. Last up – ears. I always wear diamond studs. They were my other grandmother’s and I wear them all the time. I kept them ‘for best’ for years and then decided that was a rubbish policy.

So, why did I chose the pieces I did?

The Long Chained Cherry Rollers were chosen so we could experiment with jewellery over the top of a shirt. I’ve seen the five roller one look gorgeous over chunky knits as well as shirts and tops, so that was a must. The shorter one makes a great addition too and can be worn on its own or layered with the longer one.

What to wear for a TEDx talkThe Bobbly is a true statement piece. I adore this piece of jewellery. It’s a great weight, is beautifully made, moves is a really lovely way and is thick enough to be seen from afar. I like the detail of the balls and the links and I like the story behind it too.

The ring necklaces were something I asked for at the last minute. As I was sending over my list, I recalled an image I had seen from a recent Fairfax & Favor shoot where the ring necklace was used on a longer chain and I just loved it. I thought it might work with the two shirt options because of the ‘v’ shaped neckline that could be created… well, that was the thought.

Although the Long Chained Cherry Rollers have rose gold plating detail, silver is my colour really. My wedding and engagement rings are white gold, and I’ve just always been drawn to silver. I love the rose gold detailing on the Cherry Rollers and my Foxy Bangle, but I am more comfortable with silver being the key colour. Again, you have to feel comfortable. I’ve never been a huge fan of yellow gold – I don’t think it really goes with my complexion…

All my hand and wrist jewellery is special to me, so that was always going to come with me! I’ll talk you through all of those pieces another time! You can find out more about the story behind the Cherry Roller here though!

And if you’ve got to here – WELL DONE YOU! I would love to hear your thoughts on what to wear for public speaking… what do you feel comfortable in?




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