If you are trying to build your business and connect with like minded people, as well as potential clients, it is important that you make a positive and lasting impression. Your personal style will tell a lot about you and your business ethics, so it is important that you think your wardrobe through before you go out there and meet new people in your industry. Below you will find a few tips on how to look your best and appear more confident.
Be the Boss Woman and Boss Man
It is often hard to look confident and convincing at networking events. You might want to create the boss woman look and add some smart accessories. You have to remember that you are not on a date; look professional, polished (pun intended) and determined. If you are a woman wearing a suit, think of a stand out color shoe or bag. If you are a man, consider a few John Henric ties for men so people will remember you after your networking event.
Smart Fashion Statements
It might also be a smart idea to make a few fashion statements. Whether it is a current handbag or a stylish jacket, you will have to make sure that your looks are able to impress. Be cautious not to wear something outdated as you will seem out of touch with current trends and what's happening now in your industry. I often like to wear monogram items at networking events - its a good way to help others remember your name and to add a stand out accessory. For a woman, a necklace, earrings, handbag or pin with their initials may be a visual cue to help others remember your name. For men, maybe its cuff links or embroidery on the hem so that when you shake hands, others can see your initials.
Smart accessories make a woman’s style. From earrings to necklaces, you can choose stand out hand-picked costume jewelry for your networking event. From bags and shoes that match the exact color of your outfit, you have to spend a few minutes choosing the perfect look that signals confidence and professionalism and important, comfort. You also should make sure the items you choose are easy to hold during the networking event. For example, a cross body bag may be easier than a top handle tote - that way both hands will be free to interact with others, shake hands and hold a wine glass. A big tote may be hard to maneuver so leave that for another day. Additionally, think about the shoes you were. You want to make sure you last throughout the event, so shoes you choose should be reasonably comfortable so you can walk around all night without your feet being crippled by too tight or too tall heels.
Don’t be afraid to wear bold colors when attending meetings and events, either. The more contrast you have in your outfit the more people are likely to notice you. This will help you make the most out of the couple of hours you are spending networking, connecting with fellow business owners and creating a lasting impression. The bolder your choices are, the more likely you are going to be to get compliments, too. Gaudy, however, is not the goal. My one rule of thumb is "ask someone" before you leave the house to make sure you stand out for all the right reasons. I do like to opt for darker colors rather than light colors - in case I spill anything, dark colors do not show that as much!
Avoid Blending In
The worst thing you can do is blending into your environment. While you have to match the style of the group up to a level, you still want to stay individual and unique. You should wear what you feel comfortable in, instead of what is expected of you. Just because the rest of the group likes turning up in jeans, you don’t have to, if you don’t feel good in them. Find a middle ground that helps you express your personality and values and most importantly, conveys the sentiment that you want to convey. For example, if you are a graphic designer and want to show your creativity, let your clothes be one sign of that with a fun pattern or colorful bowtie. Conversely, if you want to convey experience and confidence, a power suit would be a great option.
Choosing your outfit for the next networking event you are going to attend can be challenging. Make sure that you are looking confident and professional at all times, and you will master the
"style" of networking. We have some of our polished and professionals picks below. Just use the arrows to scroll left and right and click not the pictures to be taken to each piece!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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