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Conferences: What to wear

This is a guest post from our style maven, Lee Heyward, the style expert and coach behind Style with Lee in Charleston, S.C.

How to Dress for a Conference

Attending a conference is a great way to market yourself and your business. Just by showing up you bring the best sales tool to help you achieve the results you desire: your image.

The way you present yourself is something you have complete control over. You decide which pants to wear, which shoes make you look like a power player, or what type of clothes make you feel cool and confident. What you pack for your conference is key for your success. As you decide what to bring keep these things in mind:

Consistency is key

Whether you meet someone at your exhibitor booth, at the hotel bar or in the elevator, what you look like matters. You have seven seconds (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) to make a first impression. In that short time a conference colleague will decide whether or not you are someone they want to get to know or do business with. Even when you’re “off-duty” you are still at work. Make sure what you wear portrays you as a confident professional. Here’s how to present yourself with impact.

Comfort rules

If you’re not dressed in a way that makes you feel comfortable that’s what you’ll be thinking about all day—not how to make the most out of the conference. Before you pack your suitcase, try on the outfits you plan to wear. Ask yourself, will this be comfortable for sitting or standing for hours at a time? If you know you will be on your feet most of the day be sure to alternate the shoes that you wear daily. This will help keep your feet happy and comfortable. Click here for tips on choosing comfy and stylish shoes.

Climate control

I’ve never been to a conference where the indoor temperature felt just right. It’s always too cold or too hot. Be prepared. If your plan is to leave your suit jacket on all day so nobody notices your shirt is a little tight—get a new plan! Or if you’re favorite dress is sleeveless, be sure to bring something to cover up with if it’s cold. This flexibility with your wardrobe is key for conference success.

Chart it out

The trick to not rolling around a suitcase that weighs as much as you do is to pack only what you need. Assess your wardrobe for each day and activity of your trip. Use a packing chart to help you choose only what you need and still feel like you have plenty of stylish outfit options.

Destination: Business Conference
Travel By: Plane
Trip Length: 4 days

Lee Heyward's style chart

Here's a sample wardrobe planning chart. Click image for larger view.

Carry On

When traveling to the conference, keep with you what you need in order to make a great impression the second you walk in the door. Also keep jewelry and medications with you, and a few items that will help you feel fresh. If you wear sneakers for airport comfort, carry on a pair of professional shoes to change into during the ride to the conference site.

Style expert Lee HeywardStyle expert and author Lee Heyward believes anyone can have great style. Lee teaches women how to make style simple and effortless. Her real-world approach shows women that great style isn’t about being egotistical, it’s about achieving the confidence and happiness you deserve.

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