10 Must-Have Core Pieces Every Speaker Needs in Her Closet

Welcome to Step #4 in my 5 step system to “Attack That Closet!”

At this point, you know your best colors.

Your closet is clean, decluttered, and organized by category and color. Now, you can see that everything in your closet works for you, fits you perfectly, and is reflective of your own personal style.

The next step is to pull out the core pieces, to create what I call “capsules” that serve as  the foundation for a fabulous, functioning “Styled to Sell” wardrobe.

Identifying your core pieces is similar to creating an outline for your presentation, sales pitch or workshop. Just like outlining helps you organize your ideas and present your material, determining your core pieces will serve as a framework for your closet – and help you save time, money, and energy when it comes to shopping and getting dressed for both on and off the stage.

In this step of the process, you are building a foundation for your wardrobe, so that you can create outfits, or coordinate capsules, from your staple items ­ adding accessories, handbags and shoes to complete a perfectly crafted ensemble. These essential pieces will ultimately all mix and match to create multiple outfits, making dressing yourself simple and easy!

The big picture objective for pulling out your core wardrobe staples and create these capsules, is so that you can focus on your message and practicing your pitch, rather than worrying about what you’re going to wear on stage or to pack for the trip.

Maybe you can relate. You just got a last minute speaking gig and you’re not prepared (with your coordinating capsules). You are focused on getting your speech prepared and you hit panic mode with what to wear, so you run off to the store and you are desperately searching for that magically perfect outfit. You have an idea in your mind as to what you want it, or you, to look like in it, but you really don’t have time to shop. What happens at this point is you become desperate, so you just end up settling for something that is not ideal, that doesn’t fit so great because it was the only thing you could find in time. At this point, the cost of the outfit is not totally even factored in ­ you just need something! This is where you get in trouble. You’re adding more items to your collection that possibly you may never wear again because you didn’t really love it, it didn’t fit perfectly, the color was off and it truly did not reflect your true and authentic self. Then, when you get on stage, you are self­-conscious, worrying if the audience can tell the sleeves are too long or the skirt is too short or the top is too tight. Truth be told, there is nothing more distracting than seeing a speaker tug at their clothes, wobble in their too­ high heels or wear something that takes our mind off the message of what you are are really trying to convey!

Our goal here is threefold. One, is to never have that happen to you. Two, is to attract your ideal client by having the foundational essentials in your closet so you “look the part” both on and off the stage. Three, is to set you up for success so you can go on being the awesome speaker that you are, showing up in a way that people connect with who you are and for you to have to worry about what the heck you are going to wear for your next gig. No stress, no worry and no haphazard shopping!

These are the 10 key core pieces that every speaker must have in her closet:

  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 sheath dress
  • 2 jackets
  • 4 blouses

Pick out pieces that are staples for your desired look and that you LOVE to wear. Get creative! Look for new ways to mix and match what you already have creating various capsules.

Once you determine your core pieces, shopping and getting dressed becomes so much easier because you know what you’re working with in your wardrobe.  And when you need to go shopping, you can use the capsule framework to build upon and guide you so there is no need for over the top spending or excessive items that don’t work with the rest.

Case Study: Kelly’s Pantsuit

One of my new clients, Kelly, and I went shopping together for the first time. We found this amazing navy blue pantsuit for her. It featured a front zipper with a classic and tailored look to match her personality and style preference. The jacket had a little bit of peplum at the waist to highlight her hourglass figure. When she tried it on, we both knew right away that we had a great core piece on our hands that was timeless and stylish!

Next, we found a nice, crisp white blouse for her to wear under it. The blouse is yet another core piece that we can mix and match with other capsules in Kelly’s closet.

Then, we found some awesome accessories that expressed her personality and a beautiful pair of shoes to complete the look, and Voila! (We’ll talk more about coordinating your outfits in the next blog in this series.)

Now you can see why designating your core pieces is so important.

Your core items are the essential building blocks for the upscale, confident, and powerful image that you want to exude on stage. Set yourself up for success and apart from the pack with these staples, and you’ll never have to worry about what to wear for your speaking engagements and you can rock your presentation!