This past week I got the opportunity to attend Retail Summit 2017 that was held here in Columbus at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. It was a business conference where different retailers could come and learn from some of the most experienced influencers in retail and also get a chance to network. I was fortunate enough to get a free ticket to attend from one of my professors!
Before I made it to the event, I was so excited to see how everyone was dressed. I figured since this wasn't just a regular business conference, people had to be dressed to impress and I decided to do the same. Boy was I surprised. If you had walked through there you would barely be able to tell the difference between the people there for the retail conference or those attending the electrical systems conference that was down the hall. This gave me huge inspiration to write about how you can dress fashionable at a business conference, stand out among the crowd, and have everyone come talk to you instead of you seeking them out. So here are a few of my tips on how to be fashionable at a business conference!
Find a Cool Blazer
At my conference, out of the hundreds of people who came, I only saw one other person who had on a unique blazer. ONE. That's crazy! To me, fashion and retail work hand in hand so I was very shocked to not see more self expression through clothes. Everyone had on either black, navy, gray or tan. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a girl who loves her neutrals, but a plain suit doesn't get me excited or give me any confidence. You can amp up your basic suit with some texture, pattern, or even a pop of color. I decided to do a pattern and texture combo in my blazer. I got mine at target from part of the Who What Wear collection. I decided to roll up the sleeves so that the blazer would be more proportional to my shorter torso.
A good pair of cute shoes can make a huge statement no matter where you are, but you will especially stand out amongst your business peers! Mine I got from a discount store for less than $20. So don't feel like you have to spend a pretty penny to find the right pair. I chose my shoes for this look because I loved how they play off of the pattern in my jacket. But beware, if you do choose to wear heels to a business conference, make sure they are comfortable because you will be doing a good amount of walking. Flats are also a perfectly acceptable option, but my heels gave me a huge confidence boost I needed to take on my day.
FYI: My business conference did not have a strict dress code (hence the ripped jeans lol) but you can always switch those out for some nice fitted dress pants or a sleek pencil skirt.
I kept my jewelry pretty simple with some nice gold details in my hoop earrings, layered chain necklace, and my ring. The one accessory which really made me stand out in the crowd was my scarf I tied to my purse. This scarf was passed down to me by my mom so its pretty special to me. Not only is it super cute, but it was another reminder to keep my confidence high and own the room.
Always remember that no matter where you are going, be yourself and show self expression through your clothes. It's the first thing people see and, unfortunately we live in a world where we judge by looks so give them the best impression you can. Have them look at you like you are the owner of the company, not the employee. But most importantly, make sure that your outfit makes you feel confident! People will see it and automatically show you respect and then become more likely to start a conversation with you that can lead to so many opportunities.
Hope you all have a blessed day and continue to express yourself through your clothes!