In my recent networking posts, I talked about the advantages of having a business card and tips and tricks to network like a boss. But once you’ve booked your event, practiced your introduction and your firm handshake, there’s still one thing to get sorted – what to wear to your professional networking event. Whether you’re quiet around new people or a social butterfly, having the right outfit can help you shine at your next networking event. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to chic networking!
- The traditional skirt/pants + blouse + jacket combo never fails. Feel free to experiment with interesting cuts, like peplum top, tuxedo style blazer, or full skirt.
- Minimal cleavage please, ladies. If you plan on going out afterward (if it is a Saturday) and your top might suggest some cleavage, wear a scarf or a buttoned-up cardigan over it.
- If you are wearing a skirt or dress, ensure it’s an appropriate length and not too short. Keep your arms by your sides, and you place your hands up against your legs. If your fingertips are touching fabric, you are good to go. If not, wear something else.
- If you are wearing a skirt or dress, the rule about tights and hosiery is that if you are wearing flats and your skirt is around your knees, you are fine to go bare legs. If you are wearing heels or your skirt is above your knee, wear tights.
- Shoes should be conservative, but can still be “fashionably cute.” That means nothing open-toed, stiletto, or something you can’t walk in. If you are not a heels person, flats are fine. A nice pair of boots might fly as well (but use your judgement). Just please stay away from sneakers of all kinds.
- If you are wearing a long skirt, wear heels to not look frumpy. If it is above the knee, you can get away with wearing flats.
- Use accessories to make you stand out, but keep it simple. Try a chic scarf, cool bag, awesome shoes, or interesting earrings.
- In terms of colours, make the majority of your outfit neutrals: black, navy, white, khaki, or grey. Then add an unexpected colour somewhere, whether through shoes or an accessory. Bold colors like red, green and purple always seem to pop.
- Keep prints on shirts, dresses and jackets small. People should only be able to tell what your print is if they are standing right in front of you, not from across the room.
Be comfortable, confident, and chic. If there were three “Cs” of networking style, these would be it! Choose professional clothes that make you feel comfortable, and others will be able to sense your confidence. A well thought-out ensemble will make an excellent first impression. And finally, always remember to smile!
Top Image via Fashion Hippie