Many authors think that it is all right to dress as they please and that is part of their charm. I have news for you. Your appearance says much more than “he/she is cool.” You may want to dress to fit in with your readership. Say that your readership is mainly teenagers and you are over forty. There is an un-written rule that says that short shorts and cellulite don’t mix. After forty, coloring your hair in different bright tones will freak them out instead of helping them like you.
I sat once with six panelists in front of about thirty peoples of all ages.
There was a young man with his shirtsleeves rolled up and slacks. He looked sharp and cool. Two other panelists were in pants and a new t-shirt or blouse. They, too, looked fine. A young man with baggy blue jeans and a torn t-shirt that looked like it had been washed too many times sat next to them. I was in slacks and blouse and next to me a woman with a dress that looked big for her and like it had been bleached too many times. She had forgotten to do up the top buttons, as if she was in a hurry to get somewhere. Her long ash-colored hair hung down limply and some of it was still inside her dress.
It was my first time to see the woman next to me, and the young man in the blue jeans, and I can’t remember their names, but I have never forgotten the first impression they gave me. It was not good.
I understand that sometimes we come to these events from other places… like our work, but there is no excuse to present ourselves so poorly.
We can always take a change of clothes with us no matter where we are. Changing in the restroom of the event is better than presenting ourselves poorly. Make sure zippers are closed and buttons, too. Wash your hands and face, and run your fingers through your hair and you are ready to go. Hair should be over your clothes not inside them. Choose something nice to wear when you are going to be in front of people… it shows that you respect yourself and them. It doesn’t have to be expensive but in good repair and a proper fit. Avoid extreme fashions, such as baggy low riders, they are sure to alienate someone.
We owe it to ourselves and to our readers to be at our best, especially when we meet them.