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Page 2 in the conversation "Conference dressing advice needed (ETA: photos added)" by Tanya
Thank you very much, Lisa, and I much appreciate our fun chat here and all of your advice! I have had the business cards printed this Thursday - my very first set of them ever
This is so interesting. I've been thinking about what I'd do and following the discussion with great interest. I think I would personally fall back on my preppy roots and dress like either a nun or stewardess: collarless jacket, straight skirt, fine jumper, block heeled court shoes. I'd be shy of wearing ankle straps ("too pretty")... Or I'd wear matched straight skirt and vest/waistcoat thingy (like a uniform), same court shoes...
Thanks for the input Rachy, I always enjoy reading your comments. I hope that I can get away with the ankle strapped shoes - pretty much all of my dressier shoes have them. Btw, I can not imagine you at looking like either a nun or a stewardess
I think we should all go to a conference together and represent the wide range of styles and sensibilities here
You have a lot of great clothes. Not my area of expertise, so I will leave most of it to the others.The wedge shoes in most of your photos are the only part of your outfits that to me look a little young/delicate/ ballet like to me for day to day at the conference, as you mentioned wanting to be taken seriously and to counteract the fact that you look young. They just don't have the same gravitas as the rest of your outfit.
I like the scarves for adding color near your face, but I love the memorable jewelry idea if you have any that works. I'm not sure I do. But I do love the idea mentioned above of jewelry as conversation starter.
Facinating discussion - mostly because I often face a similar dilemma. Its great that you don't have luggage limitations and the dresses you have collected are beautiful!
Anyway, the discussion around bags to carry has me thinking - would it be an option to use your bag to take your outfits a step below "business suiting"?
I would echo the "lighter the better" sentiment for carrying bags at conferences too. I like to take photos of the schedule/program and anything else that I can (or transfer pdf copies to my phone if possible) so I don't have to carry them.
Just for reference, I do wear hosiery (skin tone with a slight sheen - I have very shiny hair so they just seem right). I don't wear make-up (its just not me) but I do pin my long hair up formally.
Lol. Well, yes, at some point I explode and leave the rails... but can manage it for a few days. I think. Lol!
Shouldn't think ankle straps would be a *real* problem. Only an imaginary one. Hehe.
At my work place, women in the upper hierarchy also wear skirts and dresses - always with cardis, not jackets. Dress + jacket pairing looks really formal to me, even more formal than trouser suits. So I'd choose the cardis over blazers.
Really like the look of jacket #3 for a conference though, do you have trousers to pair with it?
Since your shoes are open in the back, your heels need to be well groomed.
First dress looks a bit va-va-voom without topper (bare shoulders, front slit).
You have a great wardrobe and lots of choices here. Regarding the toppers for dresses, do you have maybe softer blazers, like ponte or knitted? They look little less formal then those made from suiting fabric. I myself prefer blazers that have some tonal pattern, like tweed, houndstooth, herringbone or chevron, then it is easier to mix them with solid pants and dresses because they don't need to match exactly.
I am astounded at all this. It makes me realise how much effort can be put into professional dress and I feel amazed I have succeeded at all having clearly never paid enough attention!
So I may not give good enough advice, is my disclaimer. But FWIW: I like the Ted Baker cardi the best because it looks the most approachable, you look a little aloof in all black and you want to network. Then the bolero tweed and lastly the white Express which I prefer unbuttoned. Both black dresses are smart. I like the grey tote best to lighten your look, the black seems too floppy. The blush jacket should also be nice. The gala dress is good with all burgundy accessories. Hopefully with all that you look professional yet approachable. And I'm sorry they're mostly older men you have to network with . Roll on the days when the playing field is level. I used to wish that I had a wife.
Lots of great discussion here. Sorry I'm late to chime in.
Tanya, I'd stick to dresses for the conference for now since that seems to be the cultural norm, and you have many on hand for the current weather. Mentor said no suits - listen to him this time round. Then gauge for yourself next time round. You might see women in your field wear trousers as Winer hits.
As for hosiery. Bring it along just in case. I would try sheer black or grey - not nude. As we hit colder temps, we'll have the discussion again. Hose can be a SUPER fun addition to an outfit.
As for your fabulous outfits, these are knock-out Killer standouts: #2, 3, 6 and 7. Next are #8 and 12. Nice addition of the scarf.
Of course, the Gala outfit is STUNNING. I vote choose your favourite colour for the wrap.
As for the main bag, choose the most structured one that works with your outfits.
Again, this conference is a learning curve at this point, Tanya. Observe, feel your way, and listen to your emotions about your outfits. Then report back to us how it all went down. I'm sure it's going to go well!
Thank you very much for your comments, ladies! They have helped a lot.
Barbara Diane, I am going to have to wear those shoes this time as I have no other walk-able dressy black shoes option. I will consider something more classic for the future.
Aly, I will make sure to pack my bag as lightly as possible.
Skylurker, thanks! I do not have matching pants for jacket #3, but I do have pants that go well with it. I am getting a pedicure today. And I wouldn't wear any of the dresses with out the topper (minus the gala dress) at a work function anyway!
Anchie, I do have some ponte blazers, but they are on the longer side and thus not quite right for dresses. I hear you on the patterned jackets, I have found a perfect little cropped plaid one but have to consider really carefully what I need to buy first.
Jenni NZ, you must a be a natural at professional dressing, then Thank you for the gala accessories suggestion.
Angie, thank you so much for all the help! Yes, I will stick to dresses for this conference because of all the reasons you mention. I will also bring a mini separates capsule ( 2 pants, a blazer and 2 blouses) just in case. I will bring some sheer hose as you recommend. I will worry about dressing for colder weather later. My most structured bag is the bone BR, so I will bring that one - it will also lighten all the black nicely. I will report on everything when I get back. I am leaving on Tuesday evening and coming back in the night between Saturday and Sunday.
(Fixed my typos - sorry. Early Sunday morning comments......).
YOU ARE SORTED. All that's left to do is make an excellent impression - which I know you will. Safe travels.
I wish I had seen this sooner, because I just happen to be at a conference for work myself. The miss matchy business look is very on point at a congress, at least the past few years from what I've seen. I do wear a full suit on my most professional days but ONLY if it is a bold color, my current one is marine blue with epaulets and a lot of buttons, it's a bold piece. And my other "suit" on the road with me is a cobalt blazer and black trousers. Everything is bright!
I'm not a dress gal, but the dress options you have here will also work. I see lots of dresses too. I rarely see dark colors at congresses (at least not at my current one but I am in Europe and I always see more color here anyway). Also, shoes. Please make sure you can really, really walk in them. I've stopped packing heels because I am standing and walking so much that my heels never work! And I don't see others sporting heels very often either. You don't have to forgo your heels, just be certain they really can go the distance because you may be standing for a long time. I'm usually on my feet for 10-12 hours at a time at a congress.
Also, pick up some Blister band aids from the store. Keep them on you. Shoes have a crazy way of suddenly causing blisters when I'm on the road. Maybe it's just me but better safe than sorry! Finally, I do pack a pair of dark wash jeans. When going out to dinner with clients, most people dress down the pants part of the outfit. My go to is a blouse and dark wash jeans and another flat shoe. My ballet flats work overtime at congresses.
I bring 2 bags. I put my wallet and phone in a large bag to attend sessions, meet and greets, and walk the exhibit floor. Then I swap for a smaller bag for client dinners.
Have fun at your first conference with business cards. So exciting to be at a conference with a new role. Good luck!
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