What I Wore as a TEDx Speaker
Comfortable, confident, not too dark
One of the challenges I faced in preparing my talk for TEDx Couer d'Alene 2020 was deciding what to wear.
Backstage, while chatting with some of the other speakers, I learned I was not the only one with wardrobe anxiety! We were given little guidance on what to wear: Something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Something with a little color, since the background is dark; not all black or all dark blue. Beyond that, it was up to us.
My goal was to choose something "on brand" for me. My style often involves bright colors and flowy skirts. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to strike a balance between professional and weird homeschooler. Jeans and a flannel button-up felt too casual (though at one point I almost gave up and went with them anyway...) No dresses; I needed to nurse my 9-month-old, but somehow still didn't own any good nursing dresses. I didn't want to wear anything too bright (so not my neon pink pants); I wanted the focus to be on me and my talk, not my clothes.
I was glad I was far enough post-childbirth that all my clothes fit again. But... options!
Ultimately, it came down to the shoes.
I am picky about my shoes. I rarely wear any shoe that I won't be comfortable standing and walking in all day long. In the summer, that means my Keen walking sandals. In the fall and winter, I mostly switch between my hiking boots and my waterproof tactical boots, depending on the weather.
I do have other shoes. But there were other constraints: It was winter—no sandals. Anything with heels was automatically out, too, because we had to give our talks standing entirely in a plushy red carpet circle. Plush carpet plus heels? No, thank you.
Then, we had a major snowstorm the weekend of the event. So... snow boots were in. Everything else was out. Unfortunately, the leather on my favorite tactical boots was starting to crack, which made them a bit less waterproof than they used to be. Given the the snow and slush, well, waterproof was necessary. I'd wear a pair of grey snow boots that I got from my sister, who didn't want them anymore.
At least the boots were comfortable! They did, however, look only moderately okay with most of my skirts. It depended on the style and color. The longer skirts worked better, as did darker colors, but not wearing a bunch of dark colors was one of the only instructions!
After much experimentation, during which my toddler probably tried on every scarf in my closet, this is what I wore:
Not exactly an expensive outfit! On brand for me, though. I do most of my clothes shopping at thrift stores.
Here's my talk: