I am attending a conference this week, and to say I’m excited about it is an understatement!
I’m attending Janet Murray’s Build Your Audience Live and there are a few reasons why I’m looking forward to it so much:
- I will get to meet people in real life, that I feel I already know as I’ve “met” them online.
- I will have the chance to listen to some great speakers who are experts in their field and whose knowledge and expertise will help me build my own business.
- I’ll be staying in London for business which will feel very grown up!
- I may get the chance to meet Janet Murray herself, who I have been following for a while. I get a great deal of value from the content Janet puts out, and have already learned so much from her. So it would be great to actually meet her.
My Biggest Challenge!
But one of the biggest challenges is what am I going to wear!
Now you may expect that as a Stylist that would be the least of my worries and I would have it all together!
But actually, I have a confession to make! Although I help other women with what to wear, I find it incredibly difficult to work out what to wear myself for these types of events!
I mean, can you imagine the stress of getting chatting to someone and when they ask what you do, you reply with “I help business women find a look that represents them and their business well and gives them a fantastic first impression”?
It’s incredibly scary as I know the first thing they will do is give me the once over to see if I’m walking the talk!
I Know I Have To Inspire People
As a Stylist I not only need to show that I know something about Style through my own clothing choices, but I also need to inspire them to want to look as good as me.
So this means not only getting the formality right for the occasion, wearing clothes that suit my own body shape, and showing off my personality so people can start to get to know me. It also means wearing the right colours that suit me well.
And there for instance is one of my problems. I obviously know the colours that suit me best, and I am a Spring colour season, which means a lot of my colours are quite bright. So do I wear colours that are right for me, and risk putting somebody off me at first glance because they only like soft muted colours. My bright green and purple outfit might be quite the opposite to inspiring for them, as they will run in the opposite direction, praying that I won’t ever advise them on what they should wear!
So What Has All This Got To Do With You?
So what’s the point of all this rambling of mine? What difference does it make to you?
Well I thought it might be helpful for you for any events you have to attend, if I run through the process I use to decide what I will take to the conference, or any other event I have to attend.
So here’s my top ten tips to help you decide:
How To Dress For A Conference
- Check with the event organisers, if there is any dress code for the event you are attending. The last thing you want to do is turn up suited and booted and find everybody else is dressed in casual clothing. Or turn up in your chinos and an open neck shirt and find everybody else dressed for business. In my case, the dress code is to come as you like and make sure you feel comfortable.
This is me in my pj’s, probably my most comfy clothes. I’m not sure this is quite what they mean though! Might need to think about it a bit more!
- Think about what temperature it’s going to be. This will obviously depend on the time of year, and where you are in the world. In my case, the event is in June and it’s in London. That isn’t very helpful to me as June in the UK can be cold and wet or hot and sunny! This time last year we were in a heatwave. The last two weeks here have been very wet and not very warm! So I’m going to look at longer term forecasts and see if I can get an idea of how warm/cool it’s going to be.
- Also in terms of temperature, see if you can find out anything about the venue of your event. For instance, if it’s a big exhibition hall, they can be quite cool as they are big and often brick buildings. Alternatively if it’s a smaller conference room somewhere, it might get quite warm and stuffy once they are a lot of people in there. Also bear in mind that if it is summer, there may be air conditioning on in the room, which can feel quite chilly. So it may be best to take a cardy just in case.
- If you can’t find out enough to make an informed decision in advance, then consider layers that you can take off or add on, depending on how cool or warm you are.
- Is your event going to include a lot of walking around, for instance at an exhibition, or is it going to be a lot of sitting and listening? This can make a difference to what will feel comfortable for a whole day. So if you are going to be on your feet all day walking around, then you are obviously going to have to consider your shoes and make sure you are not going to be in agony by the end of the day! If you are going to be sitting in a conference room for much of the time, a pencil skirt that may keep riding up, will not make you feel comfortable.
- Are you going to be eating during the day and if so do you know what that will be? I picked up an amazing tip from Bespoke Tailor, Dara Ford recently that I think is inspired. Always carry a silk scarf with you to a conference that compliments your outfit. If you happen to spill some lunch down your front, you can drape the scarf round for the afternoon and save yourself the embarrassment of having to explain your lunch stains to everybody you meet! It also saves you trying to sponge off the mess and walking round in a wet top for a few hours. Tie the scarf to your handbag until such time as you need it, and it will look equally stylish as a bag accessory.
- Are you going to be doing a lot of networking and therefore wanting to give a great impression of yourself and your business, or are you just going to wandering around on your own and comfort is your top priority? If you just need to be comfortable, this will obviously make choosing your outfit a lot easier.
Do You Need To Make A Good Impression?
If however, you are going to be doing a lot of networking and meeting potential new contacts and clients, you will need to put a bit more thought into the impression you want to create. Ask yourself questions such as:
- What are my brand values and how can I best express these through my clothing?
- Do I want to look highly professional or much more approachable?
- Is there a particular message I want to give before I even start to speak? If the answer is yes, then choose your colour wisely, as colours can give subliminal messages to the people we meet. For more information on this, download my free PDF guide to choosing colours to portray the right message here.
And because eleven points is not so neat and tidy, here’s a bonus instead!
Do you have any evening events as well as the daytime and do you need to change for these? Often the evening events can be more casual, but again it’s always best to check with the organiser first to make sure you feel comfortable on the day.
A Lot To Consider!
So, there’s a lot to think about! I haven’t done all of my research yet, so haven’t finalised my outfits for my conference. I will post another blog as soon as I have decided and explain my reasons for my choices, and hopefully this will help you with any events you need to attend in the next few months.
I have created a free pdf checklist for you to help with the next conference you need to attend. Download it and save it on your computer so you can print off a copy every time you need to attend an event and it will help you make sure you make the right outfit choices for each and every event you need to attend.