Hey SWEsters! We are OFFICIALLY less than a week away to WE17, and if you haven’t started packing, fear not – we are here to help you. From what to wear for the conference or personal exploration, for how to pack efficiently, or what to bring to the convention center itself, we got you covered.
Assuming most of you are staying Thursday-Sunday morning, that’s about 3 days filled with formal interactions, nightlife, and down-time. First, let’s explore appropriate conference attire. WE17 published the following webinar to help provide guidelines on what is appropriate for the conference; the webinar will help you learn what to wear/not wear at the WE17 Career Fair, networking sessions, and professional development workshops. You will learn how to carry yourself with confidence and dress in a way that will highlight you in a positive, professional light.
We often face the struggle of sacrificing style for comfort and function. Flats have been an optional solution to this by providing all the aesthetics of a heeled shoe, but easier for your feet to wear all day. On the other hand, heels, for some people, provide a smart, polished, confident look. When packing for the conference, it is about your personal preferences, and your ability to be mobile. I often find myself being high-maintenance and have brought two pairs of shoes to the conference: my heels for during the career fair, and a pair of loafers or flats if my feet get tired. Boots are also a great alternative because it has the comfort of a flat, and the aesthetic of a heel (especially with the chance of rain this Saturday). You’re going to be walking quite a lot during the conference; so don’t feel disappointed if you can’t wear your cute new pair of shoes to the conference – save it for your personal time afterwards!
These pair of Aldo Biacci flats (left) have a low-heel that still make you feel dressy, and the chic gold-toned heel on these ballet-style flats help keep you feeling modern, yet professional. They also save space in your luggage!
Alternatively, these leather ankle tie boots provide the perfect fall feel, has a heel that is just flattering enough, yet functional to manage the weather and those anxious interactions. It also has a tasteful pop of color and texture.
When it doubt, black will always be a classic color. Loafers are now trending, and are professional enough; they are that sweet spot between a formal sneaker and a flat. These black, velvet cambrie loafers can go from the career fair, to networking, to grabbing lunch with other SWEsters.
The weather forecast in Austin, TX is low-80s/low-50’s for Thursday, and the upper-60’s/low-40’s from Friday thru Sunday, and overall sunny and dry. So, for most of us from the Golden West, it’s perfect fall weather. I’ve had a few questions come in regarding humidity – which will be about 30% on average for the conference; to compare, for those of you in Northern California, this week had about 40-50% humidity.
You will need 2-3 business casual outfits, personal outfits, the “essentials”, and perhaps 2-3 pairs of shoes for the trip. Mind you, this is just a modest recommendation, so if you’re like me and you’re a bit high maintenance, feel free to vary as needed. The key to packing for outfits if you can’t make up your mind, or you don’t want to take up precious luggage space, is utilizing multi-functional clothing, or mix-n-matching outfits. For example, a good quality blazer can go a long way, and you can pair it with different blouses; the same goes with slacks or a skirt – just change the top and shoes! In general, by investing in a high-quality, professional wardrobe, it’ll pay off in the long-run because those pieces will go with everything, and last a long time.
Other pairings could include a dress and a blazer, skirt and a blouse, or even rock the power suit. Overall, your clothes should fit well (i.e. not too baggy or not too tight); studies show that when you put 26% more effort into your outfit, your professionalism and confidence increases significantly. What’s extra effort? Iron/steam your clothes in the morning (hang your delicates in the bathroom as you shower), using a lint roller, wearing a belt, using tasteful jewelry, just those small things that truly go a long way. My piece of advice is to dress in a way that speaks to your personality – make it shine.
Casual outfits could be made up of jeans, tees/graphic tees, a light cardigan or silk scarf, sundresses, sneakers, flats, flip flops, or boots! Based on your Austin activities, it’ll help determine how to dress. If you plan to be mobile and walk a lot – dress for comfort and maybe choose one article of clothing that is slightly stylish/dressy if you want your pics to feel more put together. Dressing for the night out? Pockets and small cross-body purses are your best friend to eliminate the need for a coat, and can also carry your essentials with you. Also, it’s Halloweekend! So, perhaps bringing your costume may not be a bad idea.
We’d love to see your outfits, so tag us on Instagram (@swe.regiona) or email us and show us how you handle #WE17 LIKE A BOSS.
“I know everyone interprets business casual differently, but is it better to be overdressed or underdressed?”
My personal policy is it’s better to be overdressed, just because you probably wouldn’t feel as embarrassed if you were underdressed. I like to think of business casual as this happy medium where you would feel comfortable talking to your potential future employer in it, or dressing professionally in such a way that any interaction could change your life. I know we all have really cute pieces in our closets that we want to flaunt, but use discretion that perhaps the conference itself may not be the best place.
“How short is TOO short for a dress/skirt [ for the conference]”
Again, this is subjective, but a common rule of “thumb” that I’ve been told is if you stand straight, and let your hands fall to the sides of your legs, your middle finger is the length you’d like to aim for. If you feel like it’s a bit risky, then trust your gut. Also keep in mind how the length of your dress/skirt changes considerably based on the fit/fabric when you sit down and it rides up.
“Do I have to dress business casual the whole time during the conference?”
Not quite! It depends on the manner of your interactions; if you’re attending the career fair, interviews, or professional events, then business casual is definitely your theme. However, if you’re just attending sessions all day, or even volunteering for the outreach events, you may want to opt for a more casual outfit. Don’t know whether something is too casual? A great tip is that if you have SWE-related gear, those, most of the time, will always work.