The Style Guide for Conference Clothing – By Ryan Zimmerman

by Colleen on April 27, 2015


As a kid, I remember sitting at the foot of the bed in my parents’ room, kicking my legs back and forth as they hung off the edge; trying to muster up some guilt-laden conversation in hopes of keeping my dad from going out of town.


It never took him long to pack. He would typically grab a couple suits, some button up shirts and ties, and that was all he really needed. This was his typical attire and all I saw him ever pack.

Now, conferences are full of an eclectic mix of style choices- from tees to tank tops and cargos to capris, the clothing carbon copy of yesterday is long gone. However, just because times have changed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that attendees should ignore certain fashion faux pas or common sense.

Here are a few notes to remember the next time you grab your lanyard and head out on the show floor:

1. Sunglasses. Sunglasses are fantastic accessories and have one main job, which is to keep sun out of your eyes. They enable the user to perform tasks like driving, skiing and other outdoor activities without being blinded by the brightest object in the sky; the sun. Wearing sunglasses indoors is reserved for costume parties, those who just had their eyes dilated or reenacting any 80s movie scene. That’s really about it. Walking around the exhibit hall floor with sunglasses on is a surefire way to get noticed, however, for the wrong reason.

2. Shoes. Wearing comfortable footwear is imperative at a conference. The miles you’ll end up walking during the show add up quickly, and the last thing you need are sore feet. Tennis shoes are common as are other “dress” shoes with a cushiony sole to aid in the pounding your feet are sure to take on. Flip-Flops, however, are ill-advised. Not for the comfort aspect, but mainly for the “feet are kinda gross” aspect. Not everyone feels this way, but I guarantee you that when you plop down in a chair with a client, they may not be too impressed. They’ll try to keep eye contact, but once you move a leg up and cross it over the other, revealing the pale and hair engulfed bare appendages just a few (no pun intended) “feet” away from their face, things can go sour quickly. Sandals are for beaches, not for business.

3. Shirts. To button or not to button? That is the question! Actually, it’s not and it’s rather easy to answer. The answer is “to button” and I’ll do a quick rhyme to remember in case anyone forgets: “If the hair from your chest is catching my eye, either button your shirt more or put on a tie”. Simple.

Please take these tips into consideration… or don’t… whatever you prefer. After all, I am the guy that had a faux hawk for two-years too long.

Ryan is a thirteen-year internet marketing veteran, focusing on lead generation and business development.

This article appeared in issue 30 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2015.

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