Dress to Address

There is almost an art to dressing appropriately for various political functions. As a candidate, activist, volunteer, or party leader, you are going to need to become acquainted with the various types of appropriate dress at functions. This isn’t to say that you cannot add your personal flair to what you choose to wear, but there are a few things that need to be understood in what is commonly accepted in politics as appropriate. These guidelines will help you choose acceptable attire.

Know the group you’re speaking to

If you’re going to be speaking with a group of anarchists, you don’t want to be wearing a full suit and tie. Understand that these individuals are not as trusting of a person dressed to be another cog in the machine they want to dismantle. On the flip side, if you are speaking in front of a board of trustees, it would make sense to wear a suit and tie like you belong on that board.

It is important that you are able to know when to dress up and when to dress down based on the audience. In a general setting, where there is going to be a grab bag of people, the best idea is usually a jacket, jeans, and open collar shirt. This is a fairly good way to get around if you aren’t sure after doing some research.

Know your venue

Will you be speaking outdoors? Marching in a parade? In an auditorium? These are the questions you need to know beforehand. One of the biggest reasons to find out if the invite to speak is indoors or out would be in order to remain comfortable and within setting, appearing natural. For example, if you were to wear a black suit on a July day at a BBQ, you would be very uncomfortable and look out of place. It is ok to wear shorts and a t-shirt for these types of events. Setting up an outreach booth at a Pride festival would call for something a little more festive. Bright colors, and maybe even a splash of color in your hair would be acceptable.

Variety is key

If you are planning to make a run for office, a wardrobe should offer more than a couple selections. If you are always wearing the same blue sport coat, people will take notice. If you are always wearing a long sleeve oxford shirt, people are going to notice. The same blue tie worn over and over again will not interest anyone.

You should have at least two jackets, one darker and one lighter, like a gray and black, or tan and blue. This helps show variety. Also, a wider selection of shirts is good. Don’t be afraid to use color either. Color adds personality to your campaign.

Don’t forget about shoes and accessories either. Different belts, buckles, a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of work style boots, and a good pair of oxfords will help add variety to what you wear. Don’t be boring with the exact same outfit.