plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

September 11, 2008

what to wear to a 3 day business conference?

Filed under: shopping — Tags: , , , , — plonkee @ 11:05 am

Enough of this feminist nonsense, let’s talk about something exciting like clothes 😉 .

the problem

For my day job, I’m presenting a paper at a professional conference. It’s a 3 day event and it’s far enough away that I need to fly, I’ll be checking in to the conference hotel the night before. The programme is seminars all day every day, plus there’s a fun quiz(!) on the checking in evening, and a drinks reception and 3 course with wine dinner on the last evening.

I’m a naturally light traveller – in an ideal world I could do this as carry on only but I’m not wedded to this. The biggest technical problem that I’m having at the moment is that I’m not sure what to take to wear. I strongly suspect that most of the other conference delegates will be men. The last conference I went to it was at least 80% men and they wore suits, shirts and ties.

clothes that I already have

These are the work-related clothes that I currently own:

  • 2 suits, one herringbone, one very tiny houndstooth, both black and white that looks like grey. Not interchangeable.
  • 6 solid colour long sleeve or 3/4 sleeve tops (colours like soft blue, green, lilac, pink, red etc)
  • 6 solid colour short sleeve tops (similar colours as above)
  • 6 solid colour fine knit sweaters (similar colours as above)
  • 1 navy cord jacket
  • 1 black cotton a-line knee length skirt. Lightweight, goes with at most 1 of the suit jackets but I’ve never actually worn the two together.
  • 1 jeans (not really work related, but maybe to travel in?)

and the shoes/boots:

  • purple Doc Marten boots (they are slightly smarter than they sound, I wear these to work normally)
  • black Court shoes with pointy heel (very pretty/smart, but not great for walking)
  • flat black shoes (quite pretty/smart, ok for walking)
  • purple ballerina shoes (pretty but not leather)

I’m not sure what to take, or even, what to wear. The weather is likely to be 10C-14C (low 50s in Fahrenheit?) and probably rainy, but I will be indoors nearly all the time. Three days is a longer business trip than I normally do and I don’t know whether it’s ok to wear 1 suit for 3 days or is that skanky? Should I take both suits and wear one twice? I also have no idea what to wear for the dinner.

ideas and solutions?

I could buy a couple of things, but what? I’ve considered buying any or all of:

  • another suit but plain – black or charcoal
  • plain black trousers (or navy if I can find any?)
  • plain black (or charcoal?) fine knit cardigan
  • pretty/patterned top for dinner

Normally, I try and avoid black as it doesn’t really suit me as well as other colours (like navy). But when I perused the internet last night, for petite clothes it was all black. This is an improvement on the time that it was all brown. I don’t want to spend too much money on new things, but am willing to buy stuff that I’ll use repeatedly.

This is the first time I’ve presented at a conference, and according to my boss, I’m quite junior to have had a paper accepted. I’d like to make a good impression, and need to be well-dressed in order to do so (partially as a confidence thing). On the other hand, I am not made of money and want to get the most bang for my buck so to speak.

Help me please – leave your suggestions in the comments. Comments by men would be appreciated as much as comments by women.

If helping me with my fashion sense is not quite your cup of tea, I’ve got a post planned which will go with my comparison of taxes in the UK and US to compare expenses – hopefully you’ll find that more interesting.

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