With several social media and blogging conferences on the calendar in the next few weeks, I’ve been fielding the “what should I wear???” questions often the last two weeks. Here’s a recap of TypeA Conference 2012: What bloggers really wear at conferences.
5 conference fashion rules to follow
Be you: Look for “networking-chic” clothing
Yes, I probably just created a new fashion genre, but this is key. A large portion of what you’ll be doing at conferences is networking–you’ll meet potential new clients and employers and other bloggers and social media professionals who will want to learn about you and what you have to offer. Yes, ladies, this is about first impressions. This is not a job interview, so you’ll be overdressed in a suit, but you do want to look professional–professional you, whoever that is. Jeans are fine (and you’ll see lots of them) as are t-shirts, as long as they represent you.
Think of it this way: if a large corporation sends a member of it’s team to scope out the right future spokesperson, you need to make sure you’re putting your best, most professional foot forward so that you’ll be remembered that way. You need to look the look and represent yourself and your brand that way.
So if your brand is arts and splatter-painted, by all means, wear splatter paint. If you’re glittery, wear glitter. If you’re all about natural, eco-green, then it would not be okay to wear something synthetic. Be you. Be your brand.
At every conference you’ll be blinded with bulbs. With that in mind, make sure you pack only clothing you’ll want to be in when you’re featured on websites, facebook, instagram, vine, twitter etc. I try to remember to do the picture-test before I pack: try on each outfit and take 2 selfies: one full length in the mirror and one silly close up. Make sure there are no over-doing it cleavage spots or anything showing that you don’t want.
Then, ask a friend, partner, spouse, kid, person at the bus stop… to take a full length picture of you hugging or buddy-shotting with another person (and by buddy shot I mean put your arms around each other and pose. Not body shot, people! That would require totally different clothes.)
Keep this in mind while packing pajamas: My very first conference, a group of us gathered late-night in someone’s room for a crafting party. Many of us were already in pjs and, yes, there were pictures. I almost always run to Target before a conference and get a new set of pjs.
Keep your shoes focused on a theme
While people are packing for the conference, it’s inevitable you’ll see at least 4 instagram shots of all the shoes people bring. I’ll share a little secret: I usually bring 3 pair–maybe 4, tops. This post on packing light shares how I get away with only 3 pair for most of my trips. It’s all about coordinating your outfits around your shoes.
For cold-weather trips, skip the flip flops and bring slippers.
If you don’t listen to any of my other advice, then, please, pay attention here. Many conferences this fall are in hot-weather towns like Atlanta and New Orleans. Ladies, please. Please please please prepare for the heat and humidity that you’ll face outside, but don’t forget that these conference centers and hotels keep their air conditioning running, often on high. And no amount of coffee will keep you warm enough.
And when you’re not warm, you don’t focus and BAM! you just missed an entire session because you’re shivering.
Pack a jacket or a sweater. Just one. you can wear it every day (no one will mind or even care.) A denim jacket works with almost everything. So does a navy, cream or gray cardigan or jacket. Last week I featured cardigans and jackets that will be perfect for fall conferences.
Along those lines, even though it’s hot, you may find that you’ll be better off wearing pants or a maxi dress. Check the schedule. If there’s a day that you won’t be outside at all, make that your long-bottoms day.
Do the comfort test
Yes, there is a test. But, luckily, you can do this from your own home and there’s really no studying involved. When you’re trying on everything to take pictures (above), make sure you sit in each outfit at your desk or at a table. Because you’ll be sitting, a lot, at the different sessions and some clothing sags or pulls when you sit. Or stretches. Or whatever. Just like you don’t want to be cold and distracted, you also don’t want to be distracted pulling your shirt down in the back, or pulling up your suddenly-too-low v-neck.
For example, pencil skirts, which look lovely and professional while standing, aren’t always so easy to sit in. Make sure to sit in your pencils before packing them to be sure you’ll like to stay seated for at least an hour.
Conferences are so much about learning and so little focused on what you’re actually wearing, but you need to make sure that what you are wearing allows you to feel comfortable enough to be able to learn. That’s a huge key we all should have learned in middle school. Heh.
No need to run to the store, here’s a collection of great looks you can shop online for 2013 fall and winter conferences
For more inspiration, visit the Conference Chic Board on Pinterest
© 2013, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.