Guys it is hot outside. And when I say hot, I mean H-E-L-L-F-I-R-E-A-N-D-D-A-M-N-A-T-I-O-N hawt. Oh, that isn’t how you spell hot? Well in the Devil’s kitchen’s inner chambers that is how we spell it. I should get to the point of this post, which is Conference Fashion; so I went out into hell’s kitchen to get a few shots of my Conference outfits for this post. Now I knew it was hot, but I had no idea until I came in after one picture drenched from the humidity boiling in the air. But I did it. And the main takeaway from this intro is that it. is. hot. M’kay.
So I went to BlogHer 2017, and it was the bomb dot come plus some! Seriously. And I promise I planned to share all the wonderfulness with you, but I have been busy implementing all the things I learned while I was at the conference to make my blogging and vlogging better for you… I know, NO excuses; but let’s start with fashion.
Why Is Fashion So Important at a Blogging Conference?
Well, it’s not. But it is. Because, let’s be reals – this was a conference chock-full of women bloggers, vloggers, content creators, and money-makers (see what I did there?); and you know that the number one thing on all our minds after ‘how am I going to pay for these tickets, and a hotel room, and gas, AND food?”… was ‘WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?’
Because we’re women. With cameras. Just saying.
Right. So I pondered this very question along with getting over my anxiety over meeting and ‘selling myself’ to potential brand partners during the expo. Because introverts just loooove expos. ::rolls eyes::
*bee-tee-dubs* The expo and putting your best foot forward is a whole other blog post that will come right after this one. I promise. No, really – I’m already writing it in my head…
Truth be told, choosing my outfits came after re-designing and ordering my new business cards, and finishing my media kit. I figured my highest priority was making sure my cards looked right, my media kit was on point, and my blog information pages reflected all that and a bag of chips. But only the kettle jalapeno kind.
I’m in a mood today, aren’t I? lol
So when the time finally came for me to pack, I took a deep breath and really put some thought into how I wanted to present myself.
My Struggle with Clothes
So, I have always had a love-hate-hate relationship with clothing and fashion. I definitely love being clothed. This is important. But I hate the way most clothes fit. And I really hate that most places do not offer my style of clothing in “plus sizing”. Right. So when it’s time to get dressed up to go anywhere, I have to talk myself down off that ledge.
You know the one.
That awful ledge of self-aware-anxiety that everyone there will look better than you and that because clothes don’t fit you like they do the size 4 bloggers and vloggers, that companies won’t want to talk to you so why even bother.
I know, crazy, right? Self-doubt is a beast.
But I often feel much more self-conscious (in a negative way) and uncomfortable in my own skin clothes than I look. Or act. So making sure that I look better than I feel is really important and sometimes even determines how confidently I converse with others. It is my silly little stumbling block – we all have them, okay?
Being that this was going to be my first conference, I wanted to represent myself the best way that I could as my brand while being as naturally authentic as possible as myself. So I started with my hair. Because natural hair blog.
Have you guys met me?
Natural Hair for a Conference
Natural hair is unpredictable, at best. And at worst.
Can you say ‘at worst’? Meh, it’s Monday. I say we say it.
So to review, the question for most naturals is a matter of styling. Do I style my hair the morning of? Or do I style it before I leave? Do I wear a protective style? Do I wear a wig? This can obviously get more ‘hairy’ than the clothing issue.
Since I am still rocking my little TWA, I decided against a wig; I would just wear my natural hair in it’s signature wash & go. After all, if I’m going to approach potential sponsors as a natural hair brand, I am obviously behooved to wear my natural hair.
Here are a couple of tips on wearing your natural hair to a conference. I talk about some of these in my How A Natural Blogger Prepares for a Blogging Conference post:
- Don’t try anything new. Save the new styles and methods for a Sunday when you’re at home doing nothing. Because if it fails and you’re not prepared for that possibility, you have to walk around all day with a ruined hairdo. And nobody wants that
- Walk with extra hairpins and bobby pins. Just in case you were stubborn and didn’t take my advice from above. That way if something doesn’t work out, you can fake an updo. They will be none the wiser.
- Don’t try new products. Why did I list this separately from the first one? Well because you can decide to do your trusty twist out, or whichever, and bring along a new product to try. Not. a good idea, friend. Again, put that away until Sunday.
- Be comfortable. Only wear a style that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
So my trusty TWA, styled in my trusty wash & go, using my trusty EcoStyler gel. No hair-drama the entire weekend!
The Two Most Important Things to Remember When Dressing for a Conference
You want to be
- Comfortable, and
That sounds easy, right? Well, it isn’t always.
Comfort is a state of mind that comes with how you feel. So not always in your mind. But if your body feels good (temperature, hunger, rested, etc.) then your mind will register that you are comfortable.
I saw a few women walking around in 6-7 inch heels and short tight skirts and dresses. Some even had on tank tops and see through tops. And that’s fine if that is where their comfort level is. Buut, in those few instances when we had to crowd into a room and cram onto the floor for a session; and all the instances all weekend long where we sat in frigid below-zero temperatures…
I know, right? Just can’t be happy with either too hot or too cold temperatures. What is wrong with me?!
…I would have been uncomfortable.
So dressing for comfort is number one in my book. Being comfortable helps me focus on more important matters than those of my fashion choices, and helps me relax and get my head in the game. This means that you shouldn’t break in a new pair of shoes on the first full day of a conference, or forget to try on that new blouse to make sure it fits.
It’s hard enough being comfortable in one’s skin when one isn’t comfortable in their clothes.
Confidence comes when you are comfortable. Extreme confidence shines through even the biggest discomfort, but feeling confident is definitely a by-product of feeling comfortable.
So how do you ensure that you are confident?
Be self-conscious (in a good way). See, being self-conscious in the negative sense of the word means that you are embarrassed, uneasy, or nervous. But being self-conscious in a positive way is having knowledge of your existence and being deliberate in your full awareness. In other words, be aware of who you are, why you are, and be true to yourself. Dress in a way that represents your personality, your brand; and you will feel confident because you feel like yourself.
Just be cool.
Being prepared helps with that too. Wear those awesome 5-inch heels if they make you feel like you can conquer the world. I do. But carry a comfy pair of flats so you can give your feet a rest if they start tingling or burning. Conferences make for long days on your feet. Be fashionable and smart. Not cute and dumb. Just saying. Or wear that cute strappy top that makes you feel slimmer. But bring a matching sweater so you don’t have to try to network with chattering teeth. Not a good look. Goosebumps don’t match anything.
How I Confidently Dressed in Comfort for the Conference
Whew, I feel like I had to reach waaay to far for that headline.
Day One – High Expectations at the Expo
The expo was the evening of the first day. There were no sessions – just registration, a welcome keynote, and then the expo. I decided that this would be my dressiest day, and matched my clothing to my brand colors, as well as my personal style.
A peplum top always ensures that I can be stylish while attempting to camouflage my belly and other extra ‘baggage’ I carry around. It also does a great job of adding a bit of flair to any outfit. The magenta-plum color is a perfect match to one of my blog colors. This top is from Torrid.
I paired it with skinny trousers, also from Torrid, and purple Mary-Janes that were actually thrifted. The heel is dressy and professional, but still comfy for standing and walking.
The blazer gives the top an even bigger professional edge while keeping me warm.
Day Two – Sessions, Keynotes, and Converse, Oh My!
Day two was actually the first full day and was AWESOME! I love sessions and I had my entire weekend planned out by the sessions and keynotes.
…but I knew that I would be walking back and forth a lot and was not planning on entertaining sore feet. So I wore my favorite trusty gray Converse. Don’t worry – they were wedge-heel-sneakers. See? I dressed up. lol
I wore my favorite Torrid dress from a couple seasons ago – it’s comfortable, even when sitting on the floor.
And because I knew I would get cold, I wore my gray jacket. You guessed it – from Torrid.
I could live in this dress.
Day Three – Casual Sunday
Ah, the bittersweet last day. I could breathe from being surround by hundreds of other women. But I would so miss being surrounded by hundreds of other women. I felt such support and power – like I could do anything and the sky was the limit, despite my gender. Oh, you know that post is coming!
I decided to go casual for my last day and rocked my favorite light lavender-washed jeggings with a sleeveless black blouse and black wedges.
I brought along my blazer-sidekick for that tiny hint of professional mixed with I-refuse-to-freeze. Of course, I forgot to take a picture with it. Too hot.
And of course, I travel comfortably, too!
So there you have it – my Conference fashion ensemble lookbook. I don’t really do these because I’ve never really felt confident enough to. But I felt so awesome the entire weekend and was actually comfortable in my clothes, and in my skin, that I had to share.
What are your go-to outfits for conferences?
*I am neither an affiliate of Torrid nor am I being paid to endorse clothing from Torrid. I actually really just love the store and shop there often!