Monday, January 18, 2016

How to Choose Your Wardrobe for a Blogging Conference

Get a group of lifestyle writers and social media influencers together and guaranteed you're going to have a lot of Instagrammed moments. But if you're not a fashionista that's OK!

Asking Martha Stewart a Question at Alt Summer 2014


A smile and confidence is all you need to be memorable or as Hilary Rushford would say worthy of remark. Unsure how to portray confidence with your wardrobe? Here are five tips that work for me.

How do you plan your wardrobe for conferences?

When I head out to a blogging conference, I rarely purchase anything new. Why? Because I feel more confident in clothes I'm comfortable in. And comfortable clothes for me are on brand items that allow me to shine. And that means I wear them again and again and again, because they bring me joy.

Start with How You Want to Feel.

The best advice I ever received on dressing for a blogging conference came from Nicole of Making It Lovely. The advice? Start with how you want to feel and dress to make that happen.

Live streaming the BBoys Dancing at the Alt Summer 2014 Opening Night Party


When I heard her advice I was just beginning to make a career change. I'd been working in an industry where women were few and you learned how to be invisible. At my first Alt Summit I didn't want to be invisible, but I didn't know how to be memorable.

Walking the Red Carpet at Alt Winter 2013 with Davon, The Bubbleista Being Silly at the Photobooth in the Bremen Clinical Mini Party During Alt Winter 2014


I thought about all the times I felt confident, where I had made things happen. And in each of those moments, there was a common element. That element? Red. So I decided I'd have something that was red in all of my outfits. I'd be the girl with red tights or red shoes.

Make a Statement with Your Necklace.

No one is paying as much attention to what you're wearing as you are. So, if you have a set of power beads that make you smile, start your conference off with them (and while you're at it, why not finish your conference with them).

Search for Your Awesome Sponsor Dinner at Alt Summer 2014 Working Check In at Alt Summer 2015


Mine are vintage wooden beads in magenta and white. A friend of mine who loved them noticed I regularly wore them in my Instagram feed and hadn't to a conference. (My friend Stasia of is a fashion blogger who writes about power accessories and the power of being you.) I couldn't believe I'd overlooked them and added them to my go to attire the next event.

Stick to Basics You Can Layer (or Rewear in an Emergency).

I'm a klutz. Whenever I pack my suitcases such that I don't have any unnecessary separates, I spill on a top or a skirt. And that means I wear the SAME piece of clothing TWICE at the SAME conference. Gasp! And I've done this at multiple conferences--sometimes the item is worn a couple days apart and sometimes just hours apart.

Attending an Early Bird Session at Alt Summer 2014 Instagramming the Opening Keynote at Alt Summer 2014


And you know what? And if anyone has ever noticed, they've never said a thing.

Hanging Out in the Conversation Lounge at Alt Summer 2015


This past summer I wore my chambray top while staffing the check in desk on Tuesday before the conference started and then again on Saturday while I attended a class Reachel of The Cardigan Empire taught. (Clothes are her thing and if she noticed she kept mum.)

Rewear Outfits that You Love.

I love to dress up. Do I have lots of opportunities to dress up? No. So what do I do if I love an outfit and want to feel how I felt the first time I wore it? I wear it again.

Exchanging Business Cards at Bing Sponsor Dinner at Alt Summit SF 2013 Leading a Roundtable at Alt Winter 2015


Tickets for Alt Summit SF were hard to get--we got our tickets through a lottery. I felt I really needed to shine. So I wore my going away outfit from my wedding (a vintage dress that I actually didn't get to wear at my wedding). And I loved how confident I felt and how many compliments I received.

For my first time speaking at Alt Summit last winter, what did I do for a guaranteed boost of confidence? I rewore the outfit I wore to the Bing sponsored dinner. Tons of compliments whisked my public speaking nerves away.

This week, I'm rewearing two outfits I've worn to past Alt Summits. One two years ago to Alt Winter 2014 and one just this past summer to Alt Summer 2015.

Asking a Question in an Early Bird Session at Alt Winter 2014 Attending a Breakout Session at Alt Summer 2015


Make Themes Work for You.

Blogging conferences often have themed dinners and parties. And many of the attendees dress to theme.

Attending the Downton Abbey Themed Opening Night Party at Alt Winter 2015 Downton Abbey Themed Opening Night Party at Alt Winter 2015


But how you dress to theme is up to you. For a Downton Abbey themed Opening Party at Alt Winter 2015 last year, I used the opportunity to wear rebel chic. Where everyone else was in head to toe lace and beads, I was in denim. And you know what? It was a great conversation starter--especially because it was the outfit I wore for my Burning Man wedding.

Coming to Alt Winter 2016 this week?
What are you wearing?
genuinely eden

Credits: All images taken by either Brooke Dennis or Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit and used with permission.

DISCLOSURE: I have been consulting part-time with Alt Summit since May 2014 and have attended the last three conferences for free. All opinions presented are my own.