How to dress for a conference

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 54 Comments

Last weekend I attended the 2015 Problogger Training Event – just a *wee* gathering of about 700 bloggers or people wanting to connect with bloggers.

The conference is the brainchild of Problogger’s Darren Rowse. It started with humble beginnings as a one-day event in 2010 and has grown to be Australia’s only annual blogging conference.

What goes down at a blogging conference?

A whole lot of fun, networking and learning, that’s what. This year – like others before – international speakers joined some of best on stage to share areas of their online expertise.

I’m someone who also sets out with the intention to learn something from everyone who I hear speak at a conference or a networking event.

There is ALWAYS something to learn. Always some little – or massive – aha moment to realise.

I just believe you need to be open to that.

On the networking side of things, I’m an extrovert. It comes easy to me to chat to people I’ve just met or have known for years.

I do have some personal tools that help me with this though as it still can be a nerve-wracking thing walking into a room where you don’t know everyone.

My number one personal tool, is outfit planning.

If I’ve put some thought into the outfit or outfits I’m thinking of wearing for the conference or networking event then I’ve probably created an outfit that I feel comfortable in and one that feels like me, not a version of myself I think I should be.

That’s the key to an outfit that works for you at any time but even more so if putting yourself beyond your social comfort zone feels you with dread.

how to dress for a conference  #everydaystyle #pbevent

These are my 7 tips for how to dress for a conference – or a networking event. I’ve enlisted a little help from the real women of #everydaystyle who shared their conference outfits across the Problogger weekend. (Make sure you follow them on Instagram for more of their style secrets)

1. Plan out what you’re going to wear, matched to what the conference schedule looks like, its location and the time of year it’s being held.

@toniawithaneye

@toniawithaneye

sugercoatit

@sugercoatit

sydneykidsfoodtravel

@sydneykidsfoodtravel

pagingfunmums

@pagingfunmums

2. Comfort is key. There is a lot of sitting down happening – not as much as a long-haul flight but enough just the same. Will you feel as great at 4pm as you did during the kick-off session at 8.30am.

prettychuffed

@prettychuffed

forty_up

@forty_up

emhawkerblog

@emhawkerblog

3. Conference climate control is a tricky thing. I’ve been to conferences in mid-winter where I’ve felt like I’ve been sitting on a tropical island (except no-one packed their swimsuit and the swimming pool is not in sight). I’ve been to summer conferences where I’ve wondered how I could have forgotten to pack my ski gear. And I’ve been to conferences where you can experience both these extremes all in one day. Make layers your friend and be prepared to add or subtract as required.

irismaystyle

@irismaystyle

kirstyashestyle

@kirstyashestyle

misschardy8

@misschardy8

mumscloset_au

@mumscloset_au

4. At most conferences it’s about casual instead of corporate. Most people will probably welcome that. For others, casual can be tricky if their work persona is tied up with wearing a suit. If that’s you, err on the smart side of casual. Add a structured piece to your outfit to anchor it in familiar territory.

beachstylemum

@beachstylemum

cloverandtwine

@cloverandtwine

kirstenandco

@kirstenandco

5. Don’t ignore the themed event. Well, you can if you’d like. I’m SO not a costume kind of girl but I always like to fit in so I will plan an outfit around any theme. Last weekend’s networking event theme was SHINE, so I just delved into the sequins part of my wardrobe. Don’t over-think the theme – unless of course you are a costume queen and need to uphold your reputation.

stylingyou

@stylingyou

redcliffestyle and @loveface_beauty

@loveface_beauty and @redclifestyle

styled_by_bec

@styled_by_bec

stylingcurvy

@stylingcurvy

digella

@digella

6. Do show your personality. Conferences are about learning but you can learn a lot from those who attend with you. If you want to connect with like-minded people, a good starting point is by staying true to yourself in what you wear. Dress so that we understand a bit about your personality from a first glance. Wear something – an accessory, a statement jacket or amazing colour – that highlights the real and fabulous you.

carlyfindlay

@carlyfindlay

aquirkybird

@aquirkybird

styleandshenanigans

@styleandshenanigans and @colourmeanna

soniastyling

@soniastyling

robynamummyandminx

@robynamummyandminx

7. Do pay others compliments on some aspect of what they’re wearing. This is an exercise I get women to do in my Unlock Your Style talks to highlight just how good it feels to give a compliment AND to receive one. It’s also a great ice-breaker if you find yourself meeting people for the first time. Do it and I promise you’ll feel all kinds of tingly on the inside.

Have you been to a conference lately? Share your tips on what to wear? Do any of the looks above reflect your conference style?

Comments 54

  1. Thank you Nikki for including me in your post. Sorry it’s taken me so long to catch up on posts. I loved all the shine outfits. Wished I could have talked to you more at the event. Xx

  2. Thank you so much for including me Nikki! This year was my first Pro Blogger and it certainly won’t be my last. It was lovely seeing you and you looked fabulous each day as always! x

  3. Great to see all these outfits again. I loved the chance to get out of my work at home uniform. But I realised that I need a good dress, not too formal but good for lunches, something fun but comfy. On the hunt!

  4. Such fantastic tips Nikki! Thank you for including us too 🙂 It’s always a blast catching up you with you! Loved seeing your gorgeous Louis Vuitton bag too! #bagenvy

  5. It’s so true about staying true to yourself and style instead of another version of who you think you are… there was one time I had to go to an event and I wanted to fit in by being all cool and fashiony and edgy, and I was sooooo uncomfortable. Doesnt matter how I looked..i hated it. Now I just wear what I love to those things and I’m more me:)

  6. It’s so true about staying true to yourself and style instead of another version of who you think you are… there was one time I had to go to an event and I wanted to fit in by being all cool and fashiony and edgy, and I was sooooo uncomfortable. Doesnt matter how I looked..i hated it. Now I just wear what I love to those things and I’m more me:)

  7. Great photos Nikki! Had the best time. Thanks for the mention. Can’t believe it was this time last week that I was flying down… gosh that has gone fast.

  8. I love all the outfits from Problogger,such stylish women and all so chic in their own way,great tips Nikki!
    I loved this post Xx

  9. Hi Nikki, some lovely outfits here. I go to conferences for work, normally a one day type but next year is going to be three, dreading it already. I firmly believe that you always always learn something too, even a small quote can make a massive difference. Got back from Thailand on Sunday, my partner was sick that night, now I am sick too, gastro bug/flu thing. Gah! I am dying to see what you have in the Styling You shop, sure to be lots of lovely things. Kathryn 🙂

  10. Great advice as alway Nikki. I was at a Food Industry conference last week at Luna Park in Sydney where I had to give a presentation. I was really nervous about giving the presentation so I thought as long as a I look good maybe the audience wont focus too much on the words! The skirt I’d bought didn’t match the jacket that I planned on wearing it with, so I went back to the drawing board at the last minute and chose the old favourites with a jacket I hadn’t previously considered. Can’t wait to see what you are wearing tonight. Good luck.

  11. Thank you for including me! I love the tip about paying others compliments – that is half the fun of dressing up! AlexxStuart said ‘Problogger is like being at a wedding where everyone is the bride’ and that’s so true!
    Good luck tonight x

  12. Thank you so much for the shout-out! This has made my morning (coincidentally, my last day on the Gold Coast). PS I loved your ‘shine’ outfit!

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