What should I wear to a conference? What should I pack??
It’s a worthwhile question and since I’ve been going to professional conferences for the last twelve years I’ve got some ideas for you! Between book conference, blogging conferences, conferences for event pros and straight up business conventions I’ve seen it all. Lately I’ve noticed women on message boards frantically asking who’s wearing what and how many shoes they’ll need. Last week I stepped on to the elevator and a woman (who was attending my conference) had three full-size suitcases for her four day trip! Rather than pack everything you own, I thought I’d share some of my go-to’s when I travel for work or to attend a conference.
First of all, choose a color! Whenever I travel I pick one main color to wear all week. For my trip last week my color was navy blue. The other two that I usually work with are black and gray. By starting with a base color you can mix and match pieces and turn something into a whole new outfit with just a brightly colored accessory. In the photo above I’m wearing a simple sheath dress from the Gap with booties and a cute necklace.
For an entirely different look I put that same sheath dress over the top of this shirt dress. I added a pop of color with little belt and some nude heels because I wore this on a day I was doing press and needed to look a little fancier than normal. This would also work with the booties or flats I’m wearing in the other photos.
Jumpers and rompers are great option because you can change them up several different ways. This was an outfit I wore on a day I was giving a presentation and walking around a conference. A couple of MUSTs in this one?? Cute and comfortable shoes! I can’t tell you how often I see conference newbies limping around in heels that are painful. Most conferences and conventions are spread out all over the place and you’re walking everywhere. My number one tip when someone asks me what to wear to a conference is good shoes! And by good shoes I mean conference appropriate flats, wedges or low heels. Also, bring one great blazer that you can dress up or dress down. They usually have the A/C pumping for all it’s worth and even in hot climates you’re going to be freezing.
Don’t forget about parties and evening events! That same jumper is ready for evening by pairing it with nude pumps, a statement necklace and a great clutch.
The last day of a conference for me is always a little more casual, most of the time I’m headed home and I want something I can wear to the final classes and to the airport. In this instance I used the shirt dress from look number two and knotted it at the waist to create a little blouse. Another tip for conferences? You need a big tote bag! You’re typically hauling around paperwork, snacks, books and a laptop and it’s better to bring your own version than carry around the one you got at check in with the odd logo on it.
Need a great tote? Make one of these!
Need to know what to pack in your overnight bag? Check out this post here.