What Not To Wear: Conference Edition!
While I prepare for my upcoming trip to conference, I have to think of what to wear. Do I dress up in business suits and heels, blue jeans and t-shirts, or something in between?
I don’t want to appear uppity in my apparel, but I also don’t want to seem country bumpkin either. So what do I do? I research. I look into where the conference is taking place, what they have in their information about dress code, and take a peek at past conference photos to see what everyone’s wearing.
Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference is held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The Conference center will have stairs, hills, and somewhat different walking terrain than I am used to (being I am a Pre Kindergarten teacher). What does this mean to me? I need comfortable walking shoes (Heels are out of the question!).
It is stated that the dress code is Business Casual for this conference. Business Casual Definition: relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression.
Did that help at all? Probably not.
For me, business casual means nice blouses, nice jeans or dress pants, and comfortable flat shoes. Even the conference website cautions to wear comfortable shoes because of all the walking and hills.
Past Conference Pictures:
Looking at past conference pictures basically showed me that everyone dresses differently. I saw suits and ties, blue jeans and T-Shirts, Skirts and blouses, slack and dress shirts, and any other combination you can think of.
For most of the conference, I am basically just another writer with a few hundred of my writing friends. There are a few times that I will be meeting with agents and editors, and I want to take that into consideration, but I want to feel comfortable and professional while attending conference so that I can focus on what’s important.
I was given a really valuable tip when I attended my very first conference back in 2013. A woman (I don’t recall her name) said that she’d learned to bring two or three tops, a black sweater, and one or two pairs of pants and to just dress them up with different jewelry to save of packing.
I am finally taking her lovely advice. I will be bringing to pairs of nice jeans and two pairs of black dress pants, and a few tops with a black sweater to dress them up a bit. I’ll also need to figure out what I’m wearing for Genre night, and how to dress my black pants up for the awards dinner, but that’s really just accessorizing what I already have.
As long as you aren’t wearing ripped jeans that make you look like a vagrant and shirts with stains from last years chili dog contest, use your own judgment on what you deem business casual. If you have doubts, as someone who knows where you’re going and can give you pointers.
Be confident…be yourself…be amazing!