Dressing for success at conferences is just as important as making sure you have your business cards. If you think the clothes you have on you do not matter; you are playing yourself.
You do not need to dress like you are dressing for the MET Gala, but you certainly do not want to dress like you are going to pick up some milk from the grocery store.
You will meet at least 1 person you do not know at this conference and you never know what that relationship with that person can lead you. If you look like I do not love me and why should you, that certainly will not be a good first impression.
First Impressions Matter
Most do not want to admit it, but first impressions always have and always will matter. There have been countless studies done to prove this. It’s just the way we as humans are wired. If you go to a store, you have never been before, and no one greets you and you feel ignored, you are going to remember that above anything else with that experience.
I do not care if you shop until you drop in that store, any story you tell about the store, you are going to talk about how you were ignored and not greeted. That was your first impression. I go more in depth on this blog post here about first impressions and why they matter.
The same can go with the first time somebody see’s you. If you look a mess the first time someone meets you, they will remember you as looking a mess, PERIODT.
So putting your best foot or at least a good one with your appearance at a conference whether you’re speaking or just attending I highly recommend.
Things To Consider Before Picking Out Your Outfit
I think you should represent your brand at all times, just because you never know who you will meet. But at a conference, you certainly need to represent your brand. If you have colors that your brand is known for, a certain print or symbol, I say wear it.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so you want to make sure that you stand out, wearing something that reflects your personality and brand to help build trust with the people you meet.
Looking a mess should not be your brand, so before you put on something that will “just do” for the conference, keep in mind that you will be in a room full of potential business partners or clients. You want to get their attention, so wearing your best to set you apart from the rest should be the goal.
Of course you want to consider the time of year when planning outfits for any event. But one thing to think about if it is cold outside, the location may have the heat one HELL on the inside and vice versa when it’s hot outside.
So if you may want to bring an extra layer just in case to put on or wear clothing that is breathable just in case it gets boiling hot at the conference.
Who all gonna be there
You want to get an idea of the demographic of the audience before going to a conference. Why? Because you do not want to wear anything that can rub a mass group of people you do not know the wrong way, remember first impressions matter.
For example, ladies, I advise not to wear red when speaking on stage or maybe even if you know the demographic of attendees is mostly men. Men can get the wrong idea when woman wear red and so can other women as they may see it as a threat.
Also, you might over or under dress for the event which can be off-putting to a certain audience or demographic. People judge people, lets just be honest and not that other people’s opinions matter, you still want to make a good first impression and do not want to offend anyone, so keep that in mind as well.
If you are not sure what the audience will be, try looking for pictures from previous years of the event if possible to gauge who all gonna be there and try to adjust your outfit appropriately.
What is the desired outcome of the conference
This one may sound weird, but why are you going to the conference in the first place? Are you trying to get clients, sell a product, looking to network with other business owners? Depending on what your goal is, your outfit may be different for them all.
If you are looking to sell products, wear blue since it’s a color of trust to seal the deal or help seal the deal with selling your product. Maybe you are looking for a man, then in this case throw on a little red to bring the boys to the yard. Whatever the case may be, dress intending to achieve your goal, because clothes matters.
Is the event indoors or outdoors
This can play a huge part in the clothes you wear. If it’s an outside event and it’s going to be hot, then you want to wear light colors to keep cool and you want to wear more breathable fabrics.
Indoor events are more easy to dress for, but even with that you need to consider what it is you will be wearing. Sitting through a conference that is 5-6 hours is miserable if you did not choose your wardrobe wisely.
Now that we addressed what you need to consider when dressing for the conference, it would not be right if I did not provide any type of examples. So let me do just that to give you some visual examples and inspiration to help you get your conference look together.
Spring Time Fine
At the top of the spring, why not come out like bright spring chicken in a look like this. Yellow represents happiness and sends good vibes in environments where you are meeting new people. This look would work if you are speaking at the conference or you are just attending the event.
Sleek and Chic
Dressed in all black like the OMEN, lol. Dressing in all black is not always the best for dressing on stage, but if you are only attending the conference, it can work. This look here screams you mean business but very fashionably. Ladies, you can dress professionally and still be cute. This look here is a perfect example of how to achieve that.
Keeping It Casual-ish
You can blend casual, professional and still look good. If you are going to a conference with a younger crowd, this look would work well. You will not stick out like a sore thumb for doing the most, but you still are showing up in a presentable way that is reflective of your style personality and brand.
Mixing Business With Pleasure
Let me explain, we go to conferences to learn and network with people, but also if we are single, we may meet BAE there as well. Let’s keep it a buck. If we are single and we go to any networking event, we are always on ready to meet a possible new BAE.
I normally shy against wearing red when doing business, but if you are going to a conference and single and ready to mingle, you can add a wildcard to your look with red. With this look, you still look professional and lets just trust that the men and women at the event will not feel some type of way because you are wearing red.
In Blue We Trust
Blue is a color of trust, so if you are going to a conference and you are trying to sell something, get new clients or build new business relationships, wearing all blue is not a bad idea. It also helps if you are slaying in the blue with an outfit like this one here.
Professional With A Twist
I call this professional with a twist because you have the classic button down blue shirt with a Khaki colored pant with a doghound tooth printed blazer which is the twist. I am all for you keeping your look simple and professional but I also am here for adding something to this look to add a twist, personality and color to it.
Crown Your Look Royal
Purple is a color of glam, luxury and royalty. If those things are a part of your brand or those are all a part of your lifestyle in general, then consider this color.
I love the contrast of purple and yellow together, especially with this look here. The shoes ties all the colors together from the shirt, skirt and accessories. You will certainly stand out for good reasons in this look here.
Autumn Conference Slayer
I know, I know, I say not to wear red as it can send the wrong image in certain settings, but if you’re not speaking and single at the conference, I say wear some red. If you know your stuff and can speak about business well in business settings, I think you should be ok to wear it.
This look here screams a fashionable woman in power. I would say this look here is a stage friendly look as well, so whether you ‘re speaking or just attending the conference, wearing this look will show you understood the assignment.
It’s A Wrap
A wrap-dress is the secret weapon in your closet that never disappoints. The look here screams summer conference. You wearing this will definitely be a vibe for the whole conference. This is another stage safe look depending on the gig. She shoes are the icing on the cake with this one here.
There you have it! 10 different outfit ideas for you to wear to your next conference. I hope you can get some inspiration for any of my outfits ideas to used to slay your next conference look. Please do not downplay your appearance when going to a conference of any sort.
How you show up for yourself speaks volumes about how you approach many other things in life, PERIODT! Just remember to have fun however you do decide to show up.