Big networking event coming up? You’ve got the brief, now what to wear? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back…

‘Dress to impress.’ Quite frankly this phrase is entirely stupid and irrelevant when considered in the context of impressing someone else. It’s all about how YOU feel when it comes down to choosing your threads for a networking event. That being said, there are a few tips to help you seem (and more importantly, feel) really important. Channelling your inner Rachel Zane may seem harder than in looks, but with the right connections and a savvy budget, you’ll be well on your way to ‘slow motion walking for effect’ in no time. Here’s how you do it…

1. Buy something new.

If there was ever an excuse and you needed one THIS IS IT. Sadly, you can’t expense clothing to your business in New Zealand unless you’re a performer, need an outfit for a TV appearance or require it for safety and team members wearing your brand. If there are any accountants reading this, please start a giant debate in the comments, because this has been a serious element of discussion in my programme. We will all be on the edge of our seats with our fingers crossed waiting for someone to say ‘it’s all good, treat yo’self.’

2. Play to your audience.

This may seem like a no brainer, but read about the event first. Skimming the part where it says ‘90’s dress code now cancelled’ could really throw that whole fantasy collaboration ‘meet cute’ off track. Stick to the 4 C’s. Corporate. Cocktail. Conference. Casual.

Corporate – Clean lines, silhouettes and heels.

Cocktail – Go for colour and glitz.

Conference – Channel corporate, and bright, but remember you’re meant to be learning stuff, so should probably be wearing glasses and bring a pen or something…?

Casual – Track pants. Just kidding. Flats and colour should be all good for this one, but remember you’re representing!

To be honest, if you can incorporate your brand without a giant neon light hat, you’ll be sweet.

3. Be mindful of budget vs usage.

Whatever your budget, we have some pretty great options here in New Zealand. You can go all out at CUE or rent via Designer Wardrobe or even better, suss out another Mum with an SME supplying event wear. If you buy, make sure it’s re-wearable and versatile. If it’s something you’ll be wearing left, right and centre, then it’s worth that extra budget.

4. Nothing beats classic.

Despite the days of the Spice Girls being over, can we just take a moment to appreciate the utter legendness of Victoria Beckham?! She had it on point with the LBD and is still a corporate style icon of mine today. A clean cut, well fitted black dress is a total winner for most appointments. Make it a staple in your wardrobe right now!

5. Except comfort.

Slidey socks in shoes. Hair in your eyes. THE WRONG UNDERWEAR. Feeling good physically is the best you can hope for at an event, especially if it’s long, or requires a lot of darting from one new connection to the other. Make sure you’ve had a practice dance around the room in your clothes for said event, with an array of common bodily movements, to avoid slip ups.

Regardless of what you wear, attending events is awesome. The connections you make can be lasting in your business direction, as well as building social skills and confidence in a networking environment. Confidence is like a muscle; you’ve got to exercise it to get buff.

Feel free to go wild in the comments with your tips too, or come along to our Sales & Networking Session this term to get an edge for your next event.

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