WHAT TO WEAR: Presentation

Sweaty palms, heart hammering in your chest, the acute realization that every eye in the room is on you. Sound familiar? Let’s be honest, delivering presentations is not easy; in fact, it’s downright terrifying for some people. Nevertheless, it’s one of college’s necessary evils, like tackling your accumulation of dirty laundry (gross), forcing yourself to finish that textbook on European modernity (yawn) or politely confronting your professor regarding why he failed your last paper (I just can’t win…). But here’s one tip that will definitely help you out the day of your presentation, dressing to impress.

When choosing what to wear for a job or an internship, there’s less leniency with what’s allowed and what’s not. You’re there to exude professionalism, not be a walking distraction. However, for the scope of what you can wear for a class presentation (though obviously you’re attire should still be appropriate), you’ve got some freedom to show a bit of personality.

But hey, guess what? It’s still cold as the dickens outside. If you’ve read my other pieces, by now you’ll know that yes, I am a fan of layers, and yes, you should be too. Layers not only keep you warm (duh), but they also express multiple styles at once, add sophistication to an outfit and are an opportunity to show off your creativity. This week, Omolayo’s kick-butt outfit accomplishes all of the above. To start, a brightly-colored, double-breasted statement coat balances a nude trouser.  Look for a tweed pair, which is a fabulous winter fabric.  Directly beneath lies a navy blazer, which is an unarguable necessity for the office that goes with basically everything.

A hard-working go-getter, Omolayo works at both a paying job and an internship. Having explained to me the differences between how she dresses for a job or internship and a presentation, here she shows a prime example of how she likes to incorporate her own touch to an outfit. Let’s take a look at this marvelous asymmetrical blouse. Originally from Nigeria, Omolayo had it handmade during a visit to Africa. This pivotal piece can be swapped in from a subtler top to flaunt some flare for a class presentation. Also I love how the hemline drapes beautifully across her waist. There are countless ways to experiment with a playful hemline. Take a look at these options here, here or here.

Lastly, a crisp, well-made bag tops off such a smart and sophisticated ensemble. If you’re like me, you may be hesitant to shell out a lot of money for a purse. But invest in one of top-notch quality, and you’ll be rewarded with a bag that will last for years. If you can find a designer one at a thrift store or on eBay, more power to you.

One Simple Change: Looking for a quick swap from class presentation straight to your next job shift? Swap out the louder pattern for either a softer one or a solid hue to dial your outfit back down to professionally appropriate.