What to wear for TEDx

What to wear for a TEDx talk – part 2

What to wear for TEDxToday, we’re looking at what to wear from the waist down, when giving a TEDx talk. If you didn’t see the first post about what to wear on your top half, have a look here – what to wear for a TEDx talk – part 1. But now we’re onto shoes, boots and trousers.

Trousers or a skirt?

I think this goes back to the comfort angle again. Some people are a lot more comfortable in a skirt, some trousers. I’m going for the latter. Actually, I’m going for dark blue skinny jeans because I like them a lot. Some people might wince at the thought of jeans for this kind of talk and I would agree if they weren’t smart. But they are. They are hole free, they’re a dark colour… and I like them. So I’m wearing jeans.

This was one of my non-negotiables when I was talking to Sophie and Karen initially (the ‘Glam Squad’). It was going to be jeans. I can wear skirts and dresses, I do occasionally, but I’m a lot more comfortable in jeans.

Footwear

Ah… footwear.

You might remember for ‘what to wear for TEDx -part 1’ that my height is a bit of a thing for me. Well, one that I don’t want to draw further attention to. So flat shoes. They’re all I own to be honest. So that was a given. But there were more considerations too…

  • Comfort – always
  • Smartness
  • Soles
  • Colour

So- comfort. Why? There will be walking and standing involved. I have instructions on where to park and where the venue is, but I want to wear something that will mean wherever I park, I can happily walk to the venue without developing a limp. This isn’t just because badly fitting shoes hurt, but you know when you’re in pain and it’s all you can think about? I need to give a talk and I really need to focus in on that… not if my feet hurt. They won’t…

Smartness. Is that even a word? But yes, the footwear choice has to be smart. I have plenty of boots and shoes that are not smart, that I walk the dog in, but that’s not right. No one wants a trail of mud across the stage.

Soles. Soles need to have some form of grip, whether that’s caused by wear (in the form of a leather sole) or rubber. I’m not exactly sure on the stage surface but I really don’t want to be landing on my face/backside mid talk… it would distract for the overall message a little.

Colour. It goes without saying that I need this to coordinate with everything else.

So I have two contenders. Both from Fairfax & Favor

Henleys

I bought these at last year’s Badminton Horse Trials and love them. They’re made from suede and have really good rubber soles that are grippy but not clunky, so that’s a big win. I like the plated cord detailing, the casual yet smart overall look… and did I mention the comfort?! They are so comfy but also tick every other box. My Henleys are navy (they do come in other colours too!) so will coordinate with my jeans really well as they’re also that kind of colour. My gut feeling (and from talking to the Glam Squad!) is that I will wear these in the end.

Fairfax & Favor Regina BootsReginas

These were always a contender… actually, I thought that these were the only contender for a while before we got into outfit detail. I wear these a lot and I love them. The only thing about them is they’re tan, so they make quite a statement without really meaning to. This works really well if a stronger colour is being worn on the top, or something with tan/brown detail because it carries the colour through. One of my jacket options is grey – so they won’t really work with this – but the other option is a green tweed with orange detail, so they could look really smart with that.

The other great thing about these Fairfax & Favor boots is that you can change the colour of the tassels to bring a look together. So, if I went for this and the green blazer, I could switch the self coloured tan suede tassels with forest green. Or I could pick up the pink or orange from the tweed using tassels too. When I wear these I usually switch the self coloured tassel for the plum or navy to tie in with the rest of what I’m wearing.

Bag

This isn’t so much of a discussion as a statement! I will want to take my phone, purse, copy of my talk, cards for the talk… maybe even a back up of my slides, you know, in case, so I need something sizable to carry this in. So I’ll take my trusty Fairfax & Favor Windsor… and that’s in navy too.

Fairfax & Favor Windsor HandbagI’ve had this bag a while and I love it. I don’t use it all the time (I have twin toddlers!!) and it lives in its dust cover when it’s not in use, but I really do love it.

 

So that’s what I’m wearing for my TEDx Malvern talk. As I hope you can see the clothing and footwear choices are quite considered. I think when you’re working out what to wear for a TEDx talk – or any important talk or event – there are lots of considerations to take into account. And some that you don’t tend to think of in everyday life.

Another key thing to note is that while it doesn’t really matter what you wear – as in – it’s not a fashion show – it kind of does too. You want what you wear to represent you properly. You want it to be smart enough to show you respect your audience and the time they’ve given to hear you talk, but still you. And you want it to be comfortable so you don’t spend the whole time faffing around with in. You also want it to allow your focus, and your audience’s focus, to be on what you’re saying and the idea you’re sharing. That’s why you’re there, afterall.

If you want to see any of the items above or from my ‘what to wear for TEDx – part 1‘ blog in more detail, then pop over to Instagram and check out the ‘Speaker Style’ story highlight. There will also be additional non-speaker related information about some of my favourite pieces in future blogs.

A huge thanks to Sophie Callahan and Karen McConnell for their help in getting me to think about what I wear and working with me (and all my quirks).

My talk is at TEDxMalvern on Wednesday 25th April.

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