For new members to speech and debate the greatest challenge is generally not writing your first speech, or even speaking in front of an audience. The real first challenge is deciding what to wear! Never fear, this guide is here to help you navigate the turbulent waters of your local mall, and create just the right outfit for all of your tournament needs.
Men's attire modeled by Jose, Erick, Zach & Myles 2013
As is normally the case, men have it a lot easier than women when it comes to fashion. The expected dress code foy a guy is pretty simple, slacks, long sleeve buttoned shirt (tucked into pants), tie, dress shoes, and dress socks. A suit is not required to compete in speech and debate, but the purchase of one is highly encouraged. General guidelines:
Women's attired modeled by Carli, Gracie & Cindy 2013
Ladies have more options. The general rule is business attire. This can mean a suit jacket, blouse, and skirt or pants. It can also mean a dress that is appropriate for an office environment. General guidelines:
Yucaipa Novice Tournament 2012
"Whether you like it or not, your clothes are part of your presentation at a speech tournament.
Take it from someone who wore a couple very unfortunate ensembles during her first month of competition before she noticed everyone else was wearing black business suits: your judges definitely notice what you wear, and the truth of the matter is that it definitely plays a part in how the majority of your judges will rank you. They would never dream of admitting it, they might not write about it on your ballot, and they probably aren’t even aware that they noticed your wrinkled shirt or the hair falling in front of your eyes, but they are subconsciously certain that something about your performance was somehow less spectacular than that of your opponent – who happened to be wearing the classic charcoal gray suit and tie.
Your appearance should never be the main focus of your preparation for a tournament. Always spend plenty of time developing your characters, studying your evidence for debate, and shaping up your speaking skills. But remember that your job at a speech tournament is to make sure that your audience stays focused on the quality of your preparation and your performance -- and if you look disheveled, it will distract from your hard work. The idea here is to look professional and put together. Do not go out and buy a three-piece suit from The Limited or spend $200 on a pair of shoes so you can be ready for the tournament. That is not what dressing for a speech tournament is about! You don't need to spend a ton of money; you just need to come across as a well-groomed person. This means: Take a shower. Clean yourself. And try to choose an outfit that is simple, polished and professional. If you're low on cash and you don't have anything that meets the requirements for your district, you can always find great dress clothes at thrift stores if you know where to look."
What our team really looked like in 2012-2013
You may wish to bring slippers or extra shoes, food or money for food, bandaids, and an emergency sewing kit (with safety pins) ... and don't forget your posters, stand and other props if you're presenting an Expos.
Cajon Academic Teams Booster Club is creating a lending closet of gently-worn suits and other business attire for those students who are unable to afford the appropriate clothing.
Taylor, Taylor and the CaKa sisters 2012
Kanani & Tori 2012
Sara & friends 2011
Sara & teammate 2010
Sara & duo partner 2009
no Cowboy outfits.