PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

The word pretentious refers to someone putting on an air of importance, usually undeserved.  If clothes are part of the image, it has traditionally meant that the person is overdressing, most likely without good taste.  The goal is to get attention and come off as special.

After observing a few speakers show up at relatively formal business occasions dressed in Saturday-afternoon casual, I have decided that a kind of reverse pretentiousness has come into vogue.

Under the guise of not dressing to impress, someone practicing the new reverse pretentiousness sets out to be impressively casual.  The unspoken message is that they are so cool, confident, and important, they can dismiss the dress code expectations of others.

I understand that casual attire has become much more accepted and, to some extent, the norm in many environments.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about casual attire in places, and on occasions, when it’s not the norm, not acceptable, and intended to make a statement.

Pretentiousness is off-putting in whatever form it takes.

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