People often ask me what they should wear when out networking. Although I am somewhat reluctant to be considered sensible, I would hate you to have another moment’s conundrum, so I will endeavour to be as helpful as I possibly can. Dress as you want others to perceive you; it is as simple as that. If you usually go to work in a tracksuit/jeans/scuba suit, go ahead. If you wear a three piece suit and sharp shoes, wear those. Remember that when you make connections, people can only make judgements on the short conversations they have, and what they see, so be congruent with who you are, and you can’t go wrong.
If an invitation specifies a particular dress code, then follow it. The female equivalent of lounge suit in the day is a smart dress or skirt and jacket. Revealing too much flesh is undesirable if you want to be taken seriously, however, this can be more relaxed and lower necklines are quite acceptable in the evenings. Dress up for any event on which the invitation specifies you should. Black tie can be interpreted in all sorts of ways, but James Bond gets it right every time. That means ladies should go for all out glamour.
For both men and women, take time to check your grooming. I know this may be obvious to most of us, but I really do need to mention the negative and long term effect of failure to maintain clean hair, nails and shoes…
Just remember, if you are comfortable, you’ll feel more confident and have a good time, you’ll be more outgoing, and make more connections. And that’s what counts. Oh, and as that irritating little urchin Annie once said, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”
Want to dress up a bit? The next Black Pearl Dinner is just around the corner!