Packing for Success

26 Apr

Deciding what to wear to a conference doesn’t have to be stressful. Think of it as a job interview. If you want something, dress as if you already have it.

“But, I’m just going for the workshops,” you say. Maybe this time, but what about the next? You don’t want to be remembered as the writer who wore that! And you’ll feel better if you’re dressed nicely.

With a few rules and a little planning, you can relieve one conference stress.

The how-much-to-take equation. The number of conference days plus two outfits (incase of spills) plus extra events equals the number of outfits you’ll need.

Planning – I had a friend in high school who wrote everything she was going to wear for the month on a calendar. She’s probably the CEO of some major corporation now. I, on the other hand, went with the old standard—what do I feel like today? I’m not the head of anything, unless you count my two cats. Don’t worry, we won’t be that anal. Take inventory of what you have. Need something to match it? Take it along. Shopping will be easier and the sales person will actually be able to help you.

Rule #1 – don’t wait until the last minute to shop. What if you have to order something? What if you can’t find anything? What if…you get the idea.

Rule #2 – don’t take anything that isn’t comfortable, especially shoes. When your feet hurt, life is bad.

Rule #3 – dress like you’re going to a business meeting. Wouldn’t it be great to have an editor say, “Where did you get that great dress? And, oh by the way, tell me about your book.”


Tops — Layer—temperatures vary from room to room.

Pants – If you must wear jeans — no holes, faded fabric, skinnies, or low riders. Trouser style is best.

Better, cotton chinos.

Better yet, suit slacks. Some have stretch and are more comfortable than jeans or cotton.

Best, a dress or skirt. Yes, I know they aren’t pants, but dresses are professional.

Shoes – Pick ones that will go with more multiple outfits.

Combinations – Chose things you can mix and match. A blazer or sweater you can pair with a dress, pants, and a skirt.

Color – Keep the major items neutral. Add color and interest with a cami, shoes, or jewelry.

Accessories – Don’t leave the details at home. Scarves, jewelry, or purse. They’re little, easy to pack, but add a lot.

Everything picked?

One at a time lay each outfit on the bed.

Is it complete? Jewelry, scarf, shoes, jacket or sweater.

Put the small items for that outfit in a baggie. When you get to the conference you can hang everything in the closet on the same hanger.

The night before you leave, double-check everything. Don’t hang anything on the back of the door to put in the suitcase in the morning. The voice of experience here. Once in a flurry to get to the airport, I left all my bottoms hanging on said door. No, really. Okay, it was an opportunity to go shopping, but I wasted half a day.

Now, have fun, you’re going to look great.


Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Idaho


5 responses to “Packing for Success

  1. Janis

    April 26, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    Great tips. Thanks.

  2. Clarissa Southwick

    April 26, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Great suggestions. Let me lose ten pounds and then you can take me shopping.

  3. johannaharness

    April 26, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Oh to be so organized! Conference season is upon us, isn’t it? 🙂

  4. Liz

    April 26, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    This is exactly what I needed. Now, if I only knew an expert shopper to guide me . . . hint hint 😉 And I promise not to wait until the last minute.

  5. maryvine

    April 26, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Makes me wish I was going to a conference. Good tips. Thanks!


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