It is a quite confusing for an owner of a startup to know what to wear while pitching to an investor. It is common for founders to go to a pitch either overdressed or horrible underdressed and make some common mistake during making pitches, either can turn out to be harmful to the overall outcome of your pitch. It is necessary to dress up just RIGHT to keep you comfortable and confident in front of your audience by calming your nerves before the pitch.
So how do you know what to wear for a pitch?
You need to dress for your environment. Your first step would be to research about the investor. This would enable you to understand his preferences and what he would expect out of the person he is planning to invest in. If the investor is a no-nonsense guy who appreciates sharply dressed individuals, it would become obvious that your choice of clothing should be formal. A good, well fitted suit and trousers/ skirt with a classic business shirt will go well in the books of any such Investor. However, if the investor is relaxed and wears smart casuals to work, it would be advisable to wear smart casuals as well.
Another point to stress on is to be comfortable in your clothing. Do not attempt to wear anything you are uncomfortable in. It will hamper your confidence and distract you while you are trying to focus, in turn leaving you unnerved and flustered. This casts a negative impression on your investor as they might misread your discomfort as lack of preparation or confidence. It is better to not wear a suit than twitch and sweat profusely throughout the presentation.
Many investors have claimed that they get put off by founders who wear ill fitted outfits. It gives them the impression that the person is unorganized and didn’t find the time or take the effort to find something that fits them well. Well-fitted outfits also imply that your message will be well organized, succinct and that you are on top of your game.
When it comes to colors, try to stick to dark or dull colors. Bright colors are too visually stimulating and invoke too many emotions. Wearing a bright color might encourage the investor scrutinize you more and expect you to come up with something extraordinary or grand. If you do have a trick up your sleeve, you can use wearing a bright colored outfit to your advantage. However, always wear colors that enliven your skin tone and make you look happy and confident. Stay away from the colors that make you look dull and depleted.
A very clever hack that will help you, when in doubt, is to get a tshirt with your company logo printed on it. Even though it is a T-shirt, it is a part of the sales pitch you are making and is acceptable to the investor. In this case a lot of your worries will disappear and you can be adequately clothed for the occasion!