You’ve spent weeks doing your research, preparing your PowerPoint presentation, and practising your speech — you’ve even read our article on the essential ingredients of a successful pitch. In short, you’re as prepared as you’re ever going to be and ready to nail the big pitch. However, there’s still plenty you can do on the day to stack the deck in your favour, starting with how you dress.
While it isn’t something many of us like to think about after spending countless hours perfecting our pitch, first impressions count for a lot, and a big part of this comes down what we’re wearing. To help you out, here are our top tips on how to dress to impress, which will help you nail your big pitch and make the right impact on your audience.
Take your cues from the politicians of the world and choose a suit in a dark neutral such as black, navy, or charcoal. There’s a reason that men in high places always choose these colours — it exudes confidence and power and gives you an air of gravity. This can go a long way in a business meeting, where there can be so much at stake that it’s crucial that you stack the deck in your favour in every possible way.
Of course, there’s an exception to every rule, and if you’re feeling confident, a suit in a vibrant colour or interesting stitch can make you stand out from the crowd in the best possible way. However, there are some rules that should never be broken — The Huffington Post has an excellent guide on what to avoid when suiting up that can help you out if you’re unsure what they are.
Once you’ve chosen the suit, it’s time to move on to the second most important element of a formal outfit — the shoes. There are many formal options out there: you can keep it classic and understated with a pair of black Oxfords, or push the boundaries a bit with some brown brogues or a pair of patent leather dress shoes.
When choosing your footwear, make sure to match them to your suit; a black or charcoal suit calls for black shoes, while if you’ve gone for a navy suit, you can go for black, brown, or even grey footwear. Style can matter a lot too, and there are a few out there that work best with certain outfits. Charles Clinkard have a detailed guide to buying dress shoes, where you’ll find plenty of advice about choosing the right type to match your outfit.
The tie you choose to go alongside your suit can make or break it. A well-chosen one can complete a formal outfit and give you a cutting edge that is sure to impress. On the other hand, a garish, mismatching, or over-the-top tie can ruin the hard work you’ve put into choosing the perfect suit and shirt combination.
The main thing you should remember is to choose a tie that you like and are comfortable wearing — you need to project confidence to your audience after all. This guide from the Dark Knot has boiled picking the right colour and pattern of your tie down to an exact science with their colour wheel technique. It’s a great way to choose a complementary tie if you aren’t sure what works best with your outfit.
Choosing the right watch to match your suit, shirt, and tie is an ideal opportunity add a real touch of class to your outfit. A sophisticated timepiece on your wrist can communicate your confident sense of style.
The trick to matching the perfect watch is remembering a couple of golden rules. The first of these is to always choose a style that matches the occasion, as something too casual can look out of place. For your big pitch, you will want a classy dress watch, rather than a sports or diver’s model, as they tend to be sleeker and sit under your suit sleeve without catching.
The second rule is to select a timepiece that is the right size for your wrist, avoiding undersized or oversized models. Go for watch that allows a small part of the strap to sit flat on your arm and you can’t go too wrong — it might take some trial and error when shopping, but it’s worth it in the end.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re dressing to impress before your next big pitch or meeting, and you’re sure to look the part and give yourself the best possible chance of success. All that’s left to say is good luck!