Wear This, Not That: Finding an Appropriate Networking Outfit

Ready to get start your fashion career? Join us at LIM College on Saturday, March 5th for #FindSpark Fashion Conference. Speakers from H&M, JackThreads, Time Inc, Calvin Klein, Refinery29, and more are dying to meet you! Learn more and register at findspark.com/fashionconference

The night before any big event, you can find me staring blankly at my closet. I’ve got the basics of networking down, but I will always spend hours flipping through outfits trying to decide what to wear.

Closet What to Wear - FindSpark

Photo courtesy of Javonni Christopher

This, I admit, is both because I love clothes and have too many, and because knowing what to wear to speak with a ton of professionals can be really hard.

When it comes down to deciding between full Wall Street suit and startup chic, I live by these rules.

1. Always shoot for overdressed.

Go big or go home! No one can fault you for looking too professional, right? It’s better to look more put together than the average, and the blazer only hurts if it’s 100 degrees outside…

2. …So wear layers!

Make an outfit that works professionally with or without the blazer (or suit jacket, gents). If it’s freezing, blazer on, you’re a boss; if it’s sweltering, blazer off, you’re still a boss!

3. Be deceptively comfortable.

Business wear isn’t known for being comfortable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Black silk “jogger” pants with nice flats and a blouse? Just as professional as the pencil skirt you can’t sit down in and 3-inch stilettos. Just stay away from sweats and sneakers. You are networking, not play-acting Forrest Gump.

4. Don’t be a model, either.

Straight off the runway looks and business attire don’t generally go hand-in-hand. Leave the crop tops, bandeaus, mini skirts and skin-tight dresses for the weekends. The attention should be on you and your incredibly awesome skill set, not on your wardrobe (or what it isn’t covering).

5. Pockets!

This isn’t so much a fashion tip as a life tip. Everything is better with useable pockets! When you’re networking, use those pockets for business cards. Use the pocket of the hand you shake with for your business cards, and store all the cards you’re getting in the opposite side.

6. Above all, feel like a boss in whatever you’re wearing.

Networking is about confidence, and so is style. If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, it will weigh on your mind and distract you from what’s important: meeting new people and discovering incredible opportunities. Let your clothes give you a boost of confidence and make you feel like the ultimate professional, and everyone in the room will notice!

Last, here’s a quick checklist for your night-before closet raid:

  • Comfortable shoes (but not sneakers)
  • Pants/skirt you can sit down comfortably in
  • Skirts your high school teachers would approve of
  • Blouse you can’t see through
  • Tie (always a nice touch, guys!)
  • Will this work with a blazer/suit jacket or nice cardigan?
  • Do I feel like I could run the world?

What’s your go-to business outfit? Share below!

 

Ready to get start your fashion career? Join us at LIM College on Saturday, March 5th for#FindSpark Fashion Conference. Speakers from H&M, JackThreads, Time Inc, Calvin Klein, Refinery29, and more are dying to meet you! Learn more and register at findspark.com/fashionconference

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