So let's just dive right in, shall we? *rubs hands together* (Did you know I almost started my own personal consultation business, where I would basically charge a small fee to be a personal shopper and help people find flattering outfits? Random, I know. But I really do enjoy going shopping with friends and helping them find something that really makes them look awesome, that they might not have picked out for themselves. Anyway, I digress...On to the tips!)
First, let's chat about personal hygiene. You'd think this should go without saying, but let's put it out there, just for the heck of it. It doesn't matter how great your outfit is if you stink. Deodorant/Anti-perspirant is a must. Brushing your teeth is a must. Showering/bathing is preferable, if possible. Bring breath mints or gum (but spit it out before your pitch session) because after half a day of talking and candy and pop, you're going to need a little breath-fixer-upper. On the flip side, don't drown yourself in cologne/perfume. You don't want to make the agent's eyes water and their nose burn, right? A spritz or two should do.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, on to the fun stuff: the outfits!!
I might have gotten a bit carried away with this. I kind of love clothes. The idea when going to a conference is to look put together, professional even (especially if you are pitching your manuscript), but to also be comfortable in your skin. Don't buy a brand new pair of shoes the day before--you'll be searching for band-aids for your blisters by lunchtime. You will be walking A LOT at a writer's conference. Use your favorite, cute shoes that you know you can handle a couple of miles in. Or, if you want to buy new ones, get them a month in advance and break them in.
The point of the pictures below are just to give you a few ideas of what you could do. You don't have to go broke buying a new wardrobe for a two day conference. Look through your closet for similar items to help put your outfits together. And ladies remember: accessories make the outfit.Or your shoes. Anyone who knows me, probably knows how much I love shoes.
But let's start with the boys. You'll see a trend in this post of pairing casual clothing with a dressier item or two for a really great professional look that is still comfortable. For example:
Or you can go for a slightly dressier look, but still dialed down a bit with a nice pair of jeans. Comfy but still very professional:
If you're pitching to an agent or editor, these are some slightly dressier looks, without needing to wear a complete suit:
Or you could just totally go for it and show up like this:
Or, you could just be Chris Pine:
Okay, just kidding on those last two. I couldn't resist. ;-)
(BTW boys, these are all excellent suggestions for date night if you really want to wow your girl. Just sayin'.)
Now, on to the girls!!
This is a nice business casual look that is professional enough to pitch in, if you're not comfortable in a dress. You can rock a chambray shirt under a nice sweater--mix your casual items with nicer items and you have a great comfy chapter look! And as I said, the nice touch with the accessories really finish the look. It only takes a second to add a necklace and some earrings or a nice bracelet to an outfit, but it can make all the difference. (Side note: If your outfit is more neutral in color, you can odd pops of color with your shoes or accessories.)
These next few are nice casual outfits that are perfect for looking put-together but not too dressy at a conference, if you're not pitching to an agent/editor:
If you do feel comfortable in a dress, it's always nice to put one on for a pitch session. Here are a few ideas:
And finally, here's an example of finding an outfit you like and then trying to re-create it from what you have in your closet:
I saw this outfit on pinterest and really loved it. I thought about going shopping, but then decided to see if I could find similar items in my closet and came up with this:
So, in summary--try to go for a professional but comfortable look, make sure you don't stink, and have a great time!
I think I need to go shopping now....