Destination business events and conferences have become very popular all over the world. Planning and packing for these events can be confusing and overwhelming. There are several key goals most people want to acheive when they attend these events. Connect with leaders and influencers, meet potential clients and other professionals that are targeting a similar audience that you are, and meet folks who sponsoring the event for possible partnerships. In addition you are investing money and time to attend the event and want to get the most out of it.
Plan ahead and be strategic with your wardrobe. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you feel empowered and confident.
As a personal stylist I know how important it is to look put together and feel empowered when you are attending these kinds of events. Therefore I put together a list of tips and guidelines to help you pack for and dress for success for your next business event/conference. Your clothing choices should make you feel good and help you achieve your business goals for the attending the event. One of the keys to packing for any trip, is having a well organized closet. Check out this post to get my top tips for an organized closet.
Make your clothing selections by choosing and packing with a plan and strategy considering your goals for attending the event
1. When selecting your wardrobe for the event the most important considerations include:
- How do you want to feel?
- How do you want others to see you?
- What is the image you want to project?
- Where is the business conference event?
- What is the schedule?
- What is the weather forecast?
- How many outfits do you need?
Asking yourself these questions will help you focus on bringing the right things that will make you feel good, confident and empowered. Select your best go to pieces that fit well, are comfortable and make you feel great.
Pack by outfit, head to toe, so you remember every under garment, hoisery, bra, slip, shoes, wrap, jewelry, handbag, etc. for each outfit
2. Pack by outfit, and select undergarments, shoes, and accessories for each outfit/look. Take photos/selfies to help you remember each outfit/look. Plan each outfit so that you will:
- Look and feel your best
- Project the desired visual to non verbally communicate who you are and how you want to be seen by people attending the event
- Feel authentic
- Be comfortable
- Wear shoes that look good, feel appropriate, and are comfortable
- Choose outfits that can easily transition to dinner with a change of accessories
- Pay attention to fit. Wear clothes that fit properly. This means wearing the right size, pants, skirts and sleeves are the right length, etc.
Select a travel outfit that projects the right image upon arrival.
3. Select a travel outfit that projects the right image upon arrival. If you are staying at a hotel, you will most likely bump into others attending the same event. Thus, take advantage of making a good first impression upon meeting those new friends. It’s really tempting to be super comfy in the car or on the plane and go with your coziest sweat suit, but go the extra mile and put together a travel outfit that is polished. A blazer will elevate jeans and a tee, and many other basics. Another option is to pack a more polished arrival outfit in your suitcase, and change in the ladies room at the airport.
Check the schedule of events and plan for any formal or theme parties
4. Is there a theme party? Or a formal event? Check the event website or contact the organizers for details so you can bring the right garments. Look at photos or videos from the previous event on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. When I attended the Altitude Summit a few years ago one night was a Downton Abbey themed party. When in doubt, over dress. Nothing worse than entering a room and realizing you are completely underdressed.
Look sharp – If you are speaking or presently wear your power dress, suit or jacket
5. Are you speaking or presenting? Select an outfit that makes you feel powerful and sensational. A great dress, a power suit or jacket in a solid color will keep the focus on you. Prints and multi colored garment tend to be visually busy and distracting. Keep the focus on you, your presentation and message. Keep jewelry to a minimum so that it’s not distracting or jingling around while you make your presentation.
Leverage a colorful accessory to make it easy to strike up conversations
6. Bring and at least one item that is a focal point or conversation starter for each day: Colorful scarf, duster style coat, rhinestone brooch, colorful tote bag, etc. Be memorable by expressing or incorporating your brand colors into your outfit. You don’t have to go head to toe in brand color. It’s easy to flex your accessories muscle here. So go with a fun, piece that you really love wearing and it will not only help you feel good, it will help others strike up conversation with you.
Dress for your 15 minutes of online selfie fame – how to look your best
7. With so much online posting of selfies, selfies with besties and group photos, consider how your outfits will photograph. Pack outfits that photograph well. Avoid busy prints and better to go with solids. Take some selfies in while you pack to help you see how you will photograph in them. Choose your selections with the clothing that flatters you and makes you look your best.
Chic cross body bag can act as your assistant all night long
8. Bring a chic cross body style handbag so you can be hands free at any cocktail hour or after party. You’ll most likely need to carry a few things and this is an excellent way juggle handshakes, cocktails, business cards and cell phones.
Dress “on brand” both coming and going to your event
9. Pack a going home or next destination travel outfit – again something that makes you feel put together and is comfortable for car, train or plane travel. A nice blazer or jacket can elevate jeans, or relaxed elastic waist trousers.
Cheers to your wardrobe success at your next business event, conference, or meeting!