#FreshGrad Tips to Dressing up for Events and Conferences

Originally published at www.mediamice.com on September 3, 2014.

“I hope I don’t look weird…”

Dressing appropriately for events can be tricky.

Asia is leading the booming MICE industry. More and more events are lined up to occupy the large conference arenas. Professionally, this means that in the future, attending events and networking are likely to be part of your job requirements, regardless of your personal preference.

In this issue of #MICEtips we give practical advice on how to dress for events and exhibitions.

May you be a delegate or company representative, always dress sharp and leave a good impression. This goes a long way professionally. Looking good gives you a major confidence boost that makes you more attractive.

Image matters

As a general rule, always dress up to leave a good impression. First impression matters, especially if it can be a potential client or business partner. The opposite is dressing sloppily and also leaving a lasting impression. Unless there is a specific dress code, or you need to fit in with your team, always try to dress smart or cool.

For men: suits only or otherwise?

Always try to sport a jacket or blazer regardless of what you are wearing inside.

It always ups your style factor. We reserve commentary, however, if you fancy yourself the next Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs.

Get comfortable wearing bold or loud colors, especially if you want to make an impression.

Tailored suits fit well, but often aren’t as fashionable as suits off the rack. It’s the finer contemporary details that seasoned tailors often miss out.

Accessorizing is key. Try a lapel pin, pocket square, or cufflinks. If you like ties, try fitting matching interesting tie bars. Or take our advice and grab a bowtie.

While you’re at it, get a nice trim or haircut.

For ladies: LBD not!

Honestly, avoid the LBD (Little black dress) if you want to be taken professionally. After all, it’s a corporate event, not cocktail party with your friends.

Pencil skirts or pants work well.

Jackets are always good to have as event venues easily get chilly.

These occasions might seem to be the best time to show off those new heels you got.

But remember you are likely to be standing or walking the hall for extended periods of time.

We suggest low heels that still look great while increasing the comfort level tremendously.

In general, ladies’ accessories can be very prominent. So you might want to tone it down just a little. Consider accessorizing with a scarf.

Don’t drown yourself in perfume. Smell nice, but subtle.

Rock that great smile and influence decision-makers

Regardless of what you wear, your greatest assest and strongest demonstration of confidence is your smile.

Barclays’ recent research revealed that a friendly hello and simple smile are the reason 59% of consumers feel loyal towards the brand, SME or otherwise.

Freshen up once in a while

Some delegates really require breath mints.

After talking extensively to people for hours and consuming some snacks in between, it’s inevitable that our breath changes.

Have some mints handy or grab some from a friendly exhibitor. Rinse your mouth in the bathroom if need to.

The 3 types of delegates

1. Frequent flyer

You basically attend events for a living and network like a pro. You can be pretty jaded about it. You are likely to be outfitted with a standard set up for every event. You mix and match your suits but generally maintain a similar sense of style.

The challenge: Appear different and make an impression every time you appear, even if it’s to the same people you met last week.

Switch it up!

If you have to attend the conference more than once, be sure to prepare a different attire. If the event falls over the weekends, try going more relaxed. Jeans or chinos with more casual shoes. Instead of a jacket, try a cardigan over your shirt.

2. Occasional bee

You occasionally get called up for events.

Generally you have a few nice suits that would be great for any occasion. You feel that people don’t see you around enough to leave lasting impressions.

But you’d be surprised at the details people pay attention to and how the most minute things influence decisions.

3. Rare eagle

You literally don’t get called up for events. You could be very seasoned, or simply have a reputation for non-attendance. Yet, you are somehow compelled to appear at this event.

Either ways you would not have kept up with the latest conference fashion trends. Chat up a colleague or friend. Be honest with your intention to look presentable for the event and consider their honest feedback.

Closing notes

Good hygiene and being well-groomed might seem to be common sense, but they are sadly not necessarily so common, even at professional events.

It’s always good to have a friendly colleague to remind each other of the small details. Likewise, if you see someone with a wardrobe malfunction, be sure to politely inform them.

Have a funny story on dressing up for events? Share it with me below :)