Fab Friday style tip: dressing for a conference

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 59 Comments

Have you ever been in a social or work situation where you know very few of the other people in the room?  It can be nerve wracking at best, terrifying at worst.  And what you’re wearing can make a big difference to how confident you feel overcoming those nerves and fear.

So it makes perfect sense that long before the 170 delegates arrive in Sydney for the inaugural Aussie Bloggers Conference, the talk on Twitter and on Aussie Mummy Bloggers has turned to the dreaded “what to wear?” question.

Lucy from Diminishing Lucy hit the nail on the head:  “I do not want to stick out like a fancy pants sore thumb, nor do I want to feel underdone and dowdy… and I got a sense last night on Twitter that I am not the only one!”

The group of mostly women bloggers will be descending from all over Australia.  The majority will not have met many or any of the other delegates in real life (IRL).   And as bloggers, they already have a “brand” out there in cyberspace.  Even if it’s a not-for-profit brand, it’s a brand that attracts readers all the same.

Putting my style advice hat on, I’m going to offer the same advice to bloggers attending this conference as I would any delegate attending a conference or a networking event where his or her personal brand is on show to a room filled with “friends they haven’t met yet”.

Firstly, we want to see that brand.

Your work – in this case your blog – is unique.  It’s a reflection of your personality so you should mirror that in the clothes that you wear.

Take your personality (or the one you’d like to project in this forum – I’ve got multiple wardrobe personalities so I like to mix it up – I give you permission to do so too!) and aim to fit that within the dress code.

For the Aussie Bloggers Conference we’ll be listening to panel sessions all day, followed by a conference dinner that night.

The day session is a Saturday so smart casual makes a lot of sense – and because I’m a cold fish I always have layers on hand to stop the air con seeping into my bones throughout the day.  The stylist in me says err on the smart more than on the casual. Add interest with accessories worn around your face – a coloured scarf, statement necklace or earrings – so that when you’re talking and networking with someone new you give that person a conversation starter to break the ice.

For some weekend daytime conference suggestions, check out this blog post I wrote earlier this week.

The conference dinner is a chance for us change out of our casuals and “dress to impress“.  There’s no official dress code but the general consensus is that it’s not often we get to have a night out in the city without kids and partners, so why not have fun with it?  If buying something new, the most wise purchase would be a little black dress that travels easily (see jersey options below), can be dressed up for this night and worn casually another time.  Make the look your own with accessories. Not a dress girl?  Black dress pants and an evening-style top would work just as well. I’m a heels’ girl for functions like this but if you’re “allergic to heels” (this terminology is copyrighted to Mrs Woog) then opt for flats with a bit of bling.

1.  Saba Victoria dress $179 – great for smaller busted women

2.  Sacha Drake Ultimate Black dress $289 – this is just one of the 20 plus ways you can wear this dress. Genius.

3.  Witchery Drape Jersey dress $99 – ideal for larger busts

4.  Country Road Antonia clutch $149 – downsize your bag at night and carry the essentials

5.  Jane Iredale Limited Edition Graphite Refillable Compact with Swarovski Crystal $45 with PurePressed Base $83 – for touch-ups in style (this is available in April/May for Mother’s Day)

6.  Peter Lang Art Deco Swarovski crystal ring $138 – I do love a bit of bling wrapped around my champagne glass

7. Mimco Orbit Eclipse necklace $329 – statement with a capital S

8.  Betts Romance heels $89.99 – don’t feel you need to wear black heels with a black dress, a neutral tone will elongate the leg

Now, if you’re thinking these suggested looks are on the conservative side, you’re right.  I’ve gone for a middle ground demonstration.  If you’re not conservative, then don’t go there.  Let your personality out and surprise us.

Whatever you decide to wear, put it on at home and ask yourself:

1.  Do I feel comfortable?

2.  Do I feel confident?

If you’ve answered yes to both then you’re going to be dressed perfectly for you – in this and any situation you find yourself.

I’d like to take this opportunity (geez that sounds formal) to announce that all my “what to wear?” issues have been solved for me – I’m very grateful for my wonderful Aussie Bloggers Conference sponsors.  Drum roll … please.

* Making my bum and legs look good during the day:  Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Australia.

* Helping me to look fabulous at night for the conference dinner:  Sacha Drake.

* Polishing both my day and night time looks and making me look 10 years younger:
Jane Iredale The Skincare Makeup

If you’ve got a specific question about what to wear to the Aussie Bloggers Conference, email me or leave a comment below.  The aim is that everyone feels comfortable and confident and that we all have a bucket load of fun!

(*The Fab Friday vlogs will return next week.  Mr 5’s been sick all week so my time working has been limited.)

FYBF

Comments 59

  1. Thank God for Ms Styling You! Am a tad more relieved after reading these helpful hints. Now to forage through the wardrobe to see what I can come up with to compliment my statement necklace – my Oprah Winfrey Kailis Pearl 🙂

  2. great advice! I actually had a makeover a few weeks and some spending money so my problem is actually which cute outfit to wear to the daytime session! But I totally agree you don’t want to stand out either as too dressed or too casual but I totally agree on the go more smart than casual!

    corrie;)

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  3. Brilliant advice Nikki. I’ll be wearing my sponsor shirt for the day so I’m planning on dressing it up with some funky earrings – I’m saving my killer heels for the night so that I can walk the next day 🙂

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  4. Great advice, I’m deciding between 2 dresses for the evening, a black strapless cocktail & A Wayne Cooper blue jersey.

    I’m also paying for luggage. But have some life saving vacuum travel bags. Love them… just wish they could flatten the amount of shoes I usually travel with!

    Also, if bigwords comes as gin, bags I sit next to her… I’ll be the one dressed as a glass of wine. 🙂

  5. Great post – I purchased a black jersey maxi this week online. Bit of a risk as I haven’t tried it on, but it looks a very flattering cut … also my legs are def. not my best feature so when I saw a more dressy maxi (and on sale) I just had to click buy! Also gives me the option to go heels-less, as I too am a hobbly heel wearer who tends to feel like a towering gigantor wearing heels.

    Although the getting rid of the heels after dinner and strutting the dance floor shoeless may be in keeping with my brand… still deciding. Looking forward to meeting y’all in a few weeks.

    1. Your case for the maxi is the reason I think they’ll be around for a long time. Also legs can be unshaven and hidden while still being a bit feminine. I bought the grey one in my autumn-winter 2011 post this week and love it! See you in 3 weeks.

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  6. So I’m a bit confused. My brand revolves a lot around gin. Do I need to wear a massive Bombay Sapphire print dress for the dinner dance or just drink the gin?

    Love the ideas!! They are really great.

    I’m also trying to work out how to pack all I need for three nights into carry-on luggage. That’s another tricky part of it. I can’t pack my whole wardrobe and decide on the night. xx

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      I think a Bombay Sapphire bottle is an excellent accessory and certainly a conversation starter … we’ll soon find out if you like to share.
      The packing bit will be tricky – the jersey dresses I featured work a treat for this. I’ll admit for this weekend I’m paying for the luggage – I can only do an overnight on a cabin bag because I like to have a shoe selection and half a beauty cabinet with me!

  7. I have a dress for the conference during the day (I think – it may change.) And I cocktail dress for the evening. It was $20 from Target, but I think it looks okay?
    I also have a purple dress like the Sacha Drake one, cost me $20 also from Trade Secret. I generally wear that one at night, but with black leggings underneath so no one has to look at my flesh. Is that bogan-ish though? Cos I don’t want to be boganish?

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      A dress for the day conference will be great (I’m just a cold fish in aircon so that’s why jeans work for me). The price of your dress doesn’t matter one bit – it’s how it makes you feel. If you feel more comfortable with leggings, then go for it!

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      I’m a huge fan of Sacha and am so excited that she is one of my sponsors. I’m also hosting an event with her as special guest for the Sunshine Coast Business Expo next month. She cuts all her patterns on a size 10 and 14 so when she designs for a 14 it’s not just a larger 10! I love that.

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      It’s so true, Kelly. If you feel comfortable in neutrals then that’s your thing; if you feel like blasting into a room with colour, then that’s ok, because that is you. Either way, if you’re true to yourself and work within dress codes then you’ll feel great – and that’s my aim with clients. I don’t want them all looking like cookie cutter versions of each other – that would make for a very boring world.

      1. Okay, I’m back here Nikki…with the conference just a few days away :S. I have a dress that I’m really comfortable in (for dinner). It’s black with beige detail (and I have the perfect shoes to match)…plus it will travel well. I’m pretty sure the shape works well on me, the only issue I have is it has detail under the bust area and I think it makes me look a little wide there. I wondered if I coupled the dress with a boloreo/cardi you wouldn’t see so much of the pattern around..just a small section at the front…or is that daggy? I plan to bring out the beige/gold with accessories…

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      1. It’s not the first but I’m not sure how many years they’ve been running. This is the biggest, about 700 people I’ve heard! It will be my first – so excited. Just need a babysitter… and something decent to wear of course.

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