Saturday, April 3, 2010

Conference Presentation


antique look gold earrings (Charlotte Russe)
brown print jersey dress (Target)
sand swing jacket (H&M)
brown woven stretch belt (Forever 21)
brown tights (New York & Company)
brown buckled sliver wedges (Jessica Simpson)

Later this month, I'm presenting a paper at a major international conference that will be attended by some of the pre-eminent names in the field.  A friend of mine, who is also giving her paper there, recently asked me if I was planning to wear a suit.  She was trying to decide if she should invest in a blazer or not.

My answer? No.  I own a suit, but if I wear it, I won't feel like myself.  When I put on a suit, I can't help but feel like a child trying to play dress-up in "adult" clothes.  While I understand that as a graduate student presenting at a major conference, it is in my best interest to look as "professional" as possible, I just can't wear a suit.  I'll feel most confident in an outfit that caters to the occasion and my personal tastes.  I did tell my friend that I'm planning to wear a jacket for my presentation.  I like swing coats (I own a black one, too) because they feel more contemporary than a traditional suit jacket, but they still read as "professional" in a way that a cardigan might not.

When I put this outfit together, I intended it as a test-run for my conference presentation.  I feel like the print of the dress creates some visual interest, but the color palette is subdued enough that I don't look like I'm trying to draw attention to my clothing.  I love these shoes because the buckle detail keeps them from being boring.

I'm presenting during the second day of the conference, so I'm glad I'll be able to look at what people are wearing on the first day to figure out if this look is actually appropriate for the event.  I'll have a few "pants" looks packed, in case I feel like my audience might misinterpret my decision to wear a dress. 

  • Based on the conferences you've attended in the past, do you think this look is appropriate?  Or will I end up switching into pants?
  • Do you have an item in your closet that you count on to help you look professional but still feel like yourself?  If so, what is it? 
  • Am I wrong to think I should stay away from bright colors for an event like this?


Scholar Style Guide said...

I really like this outfit: fits the event and is still so Liz.

I think I'm with you on instinctively going with a dress or skirt rather than pants. I'd say that my item that I count on to look professional but still like me is a pencil skirt. I think it's something about keeping a feminine touch.

I wanted to address the swing jacket thing. I love the look on you, and I liked Anne-Marie's jacket in her last post too. I'm just not sure how it would look on me. I was wondering if you had any tips or thoughts for wearing them.


Scholar Style Guide said...

In my opinion, the thing that makes swing coats difficult to style is that they're not "slimming" at all-- the cut of the coat goes away from the body. I generally wear them with something more fitted on the bottom so I don't feel like I'm drowning in a whole bunch of extra material.


Anonymous said...

I like the outfit....I think your back up sounds like a good idea...
Good luck!

Charissa said...

as someone who is supposed to wear suits on a regular basis for my job, i find them rather boring...i love to at least play it up with a skirt and blazer, or my personal fave-a fun, brightly colored jacket. Variation like this is still professional but adds a surprise in a sea of black or brown suits.
I think a dress/jacket combo can look just as great as a good suit, and if you feel better about yourself, you will project that confidence. I say rock it out :)