So you're on a panel...what are you going to wear?

It is fall conference season and that means many of you will be attending conferences in full force both on the stage and in the audience. If you will be speaking at a conference, remember that your appearance often speaks louder than your words. Here is some advice about how to look your best:

1) What is your role? Are you a program associate or a CEO? Are you representing an established organization or are you with a start up? Knowing your role helps you determine what look you should project.

2) Audience Will there be 10 people in the room or 500. Knowing the audience size helps you pick an outfit that helps you stand out but not overwhelm.

3) Logistics Will you sitting in tall chairs or standing behind a podium. Figuring this out before will ensure that you don't wear a pencil skirt and have to try to jump into a tall chair or non-matching socks that show as soon as you cross your legs (I've seen both, by the way).

4) Colors Find out what the backdrop looks like (ask your friend that's on the planning committee). Try to make sure that you don't clash with the colors that they are using.

5) Be comfortable Speaking at a conference is not the time to try new clothes. The last thing you need is shoes pinching or a shirt with buttons that come undone. Wear something that you know feels good and that makes you feel great. Uncomfortable clothes can make you look awkward and people are less likely to listen to what you are saying if you are spending the whole presentation adjusting your collar.

For great advice on professional clothing choices, check out the Corporate Fashionista Blog.