What Should You Wear to a Business Conference?

Contributed article in our entrepreneurial business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

biz casualConferences come in all shapes and sizes. Some are relatively small affairs designed to bring together a small group of people from a niche profession or business. Others are huge global events that take place over several days and attract big name keynote speakers. Whatever the size of the event, if you are a member of a profession or you work in a corporate environment, there will come a point where you are invited (or coerced) into attending a conference.

For a lot of people, conferences of one sort or another are a bit of a ‘jolly’. It’s an excuse to spend a few days out of the office, catching up with people in your industry or field, networking, and generally having a good time. Yes, you are there (in theory) to listen to some interesting speeches, but once the boring stuff is out of the way, it’s party on baby!

Make the Right Fashion Choices
Unfortunately, though, it isn’t all a laugh a minute because you are representing your business the whole time you are there, so image is extremely important. A conference is not the same as a low-key internal meeting with colleagues. You can’t show up wearing jeans and a tee shirt. For one thing you might be mixing with potential clients, and for another, if it is a high-profile event you could even end up on TV. So what are your options, sartorially speaking – is there a fashion etiquette for conferences?

Conference Wear for Women
Conference wear for women is usually business casual. You will never feel overdressed in a suit, but if a suit isn’t your style, there are plenty of other looks you can try. A classic conference outfit for women is a smart pencil skirt paired with a cotton blouse, but you can wear a pair of smart trousers if you prefer, and team them with a pretty top and a cardigan. Stylish dresses worn with a sweater or a jacket is another appropriate look for warmer weather.

Don’t forget about shoes and accessories. If there is likely to be a lot of standing around, either before or after presentations, consider wearing flats or kitten heels for comfort as high heels might begin to feel uncomfortable, especially on a hot day. Accessories are great for changing your look if you are staying for a few days and don’t have room to pack more than a few items. And don’t forget to wear a wrist watch so you can keep an eye on the time.

Conference Wear for Men
Men have far fewer choices when it comes to fashion: suits, shirts and trousers, and maybe a smart sweater. Like women, smart business wear is the way forward. Always choose something comfortable to wear – an important consideration if you are sitting down in a stuffy room for several hours at a stretch.

Figuring out what to wear at a conference is challenging enough, but if you are tasked with organising the event, check out Venue Search London for some great venue ideas.

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