Tips on how to dress for a business idea pitch

AUGUST 17, 2016

When you dress to pitch, imagine you’re going for an interview to a top corporate, and have to make an excellent impact.

Evening wear and dress suits are out, but refined and quiet clothes are in, and this will show how serious you are about presenting your pitch. First impressions count – before you start your pitch, the investors will have already come to some conclusions about you based on your appearance, so it has to be absolutely suitable for the event.

Dressing to Pitch for the Ladies

  • Bra-straps: ensure they fit snugly; don’t fiddle with them, don’t adjust them, don’t let them show
  • Your cleavage: restrain it and put it to bed for the day
  • Long dangly earrings:  choose small neat studs that won’t shake, rattle and roll as you move your head
  • Mini-skirts: only acceptable if you’re a prepubescent teenager
  • High, high heels: Uh-uh – change them so you don’t wobble
  • Chipped nail polish; lipstick on teeth; laddered pantyhose; uncombed hair; suffocating perfume: avoid all these like the plague 
  • Demure make-up:  this beats gaudy colours every time

Dressing to Pitch for the Gents

  • Your fly: is it zipped to the top? Check and check again
  • Butt-cracks: not to be on view, and trousers must fit perfectly and be secured with a belt
  • Shirt hanging out: tuck it into your trousers – you’re not going to a picnic nor a braai
  • After-shave cologne: go easy on it, as too much is overwhelming
  • Deodorant: a must, and no underarm stains please
  • Shoes: must be polished if they can be, and washed if they’re sneakers
  • Ties: not necessary but shirt collars must lie flat
  • Headphones with earpieces: leave them at home

You’re almost there! You have enhanced your appearance so as to inspire the judges and the potential investors, and now they are eager to hear your polished pitch.

Engen Petroleum Ltd, Nedbank, Raizcorp and SAfm, as well as national partner the Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry, your hosts of the 2016 ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop and competition programme, look forward to seeing you dressed for polished pitching success!

BOOK NOW to participate in the 2016 ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme. SMS PITCH to 43719 (charged at 50c per SMS) or visit