What Do I Wear at a Big Conference?

I’m going to a very big trade conference that’s being held in a major convention center. There’ll be a couple thousand people there at least. Do I need to wear a suit and tie, or just kakis and a dress shirt? (I’m not trying to get hired for a new job or anything like that.)

2 Replies to “What Do I Wear at a Big Conference?”

  1. It depends on the trade, of course, but for the most part I’d recommend dressing pretty sharp at a conference. You’re going to be making an impression on people in your business, whether you’re looking to actively change the way you personally do business right now or not, and you never know when those impressions are going to matter down the road.

    In some industries a suit and tie would almost be mandatory. In a very aggressively relaxed trade (something manual, or some software and tech businesses) a suit might be seen as too stiff, in which case I’d go with light-colored slacks and a navy blazer instead. Wear a tie that goes with the outfit, and if it turns out you’re the only man there in one you can always slip it off in the bathroom and pocket it.

    Additionally, pay attention to your details — make sure your shoes are shined, your clothes are neat and wrinkle-free (often a danger when you’re traveling), and grab a shower and a shave before hitting the conference floor. And be sure to carry plenty of business cards!

  2. Better to overdress than under! We cover the importance of conference dressing in this video from the Real Men Real Style YouTube channel:

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