Dress for success: What to Wear at a Trade Show or Conference
Trade shows are becoming increasingly popular all over the world. Brands across the board are participating in these events to boost their sales and significantly increase their visibility in the market.
Of course, this means that the competition at these events can be quite cutthroat, so every organization is required to put their best foot forward.
Business leaders start preparing for these events at least 6 months in advance, coming up with ideas for their display, carefully selecting their team and even creating special marketing material for the show. And while we all agree that your booth’s design and appearance will have a lot to do with how many people engage with your brand at the event, we often overlook the human component of these events.
The staff that you select to represent your brand at a trade show could have a massive impact on whether you succeed or fail at the event. Even if you have the most entertaining and highly-trained staff, if they aren’t dressed well, they aren’t dressed to succeed.
Your staff’s attire will play a key role during the event. It’s an expression of your style, personality and most importantly – your brand values. No matter how well-designed your trade show booth is, a poorly dressed member of staff can easily limit your success.
To figure out what to wear to a trade show, you need to think of various factors starting with the weather and location of the show. You should feel comfortable and at the same time, present yourself in a professional manner. The reason for a classy attire is not only to impress your potential clients but also to facilitate your success.
We all know the importance of creating a good first impression on clients, especially in the context of trade shows. With huge crowds wandering along the aisles, a well-dressed staff member is essential to grab the right kind of attention!
In order to get your attire right, you need to first understand the dress code for the event and present yourself in the best possible manner. Use a name tag to appear more professional. Apart from the fact that your name tag is informative, it could also help visitors remember you and your brand after the event.
How to dress up for a trade show or conference: Things to keep in mind
You need to decide on a theme and a subsequent dress code for the trade show. Keep an eye on your industry competitors to ascertain the kind of attire that is both accepted and expected of you. For example, if you’re a part of the fitness industry, then wearing workout gear or sports attire would make total sense. On the other hand, if you’re part of the aviation industry, you may want to dress more formally.
It is important that you represent your brand in the best possible manner. If you have the company logo on your outfit, the chances of impressing your stall visitors are exponential. A smart dressing style will give your brand more exposure and visibility across the expansive trade show floor.
You won’t be recognized just around your booth, but also elsewhere – like out on the aisle, near the staircase and so on. Once you wear your company logo, you’re automatically assuming a lot of responsibility. So, you need to be very careful with your each and every step. Always keep in mind that your actions could either lead to positive or negative consequences.
Always opt for comfortable clothing and shoes that fit correctly. Trade shows are long and require you to be on your feet for several hours at a stretch. Irrespective of what you’re wearing, ensure that your clothes fit comfortably and are not too tight or restrictive.
Striking the right balance between physical ease and a great appearance is absolutely essential. But comfort should be prioritized over everything else. It’s vital that you and your staff don’t experience physical discomfort while dealing with potential clients.
our entire focus should be on acquiring new customers, something that can only be achieved if you’re comfortable and relaxed.
A good dressing sense not only includes your clothing but also your footwear. Exploring the trade show floor will surely tire your feet. Also, you would be required to stand for long hours during the event.
So, it’s vital that you select a pair of shoes with comfortable soles well beforehand. Complement them with cushioned socks to avoid any sort of discomfort.
When it comes to wearing accessories at trade shows, less is more! Unless you manufacture or sell accessories, wearing too much bling will distract the audience and can be counterproductive.
For men, we recommend keeping the accessories to a minimum. A simple belt and a watch are typically all you need to pull off a classy suit. Always remember to match your belt with your shoes and your tie with your shirt.
If you are wearing a suit, please don’t forget the socks. They should typically be in a similar color to your pants and should be hidden while you’re standing or walking around. Women, on the other, hand can accessorize a bit more, but not too much.
If a woman chooses to wear jewelry, it should be understated and elegant. Chunky bracelets or too many cocktail rings could undermine your professionalism. Keep in mind that the point of dressing well is to look professional.
This goes without saying but, be sure to shower before the event. Carry a good deodorant along with you because even though your show might be in an air-conditioned setting, the long walks could make you break a sweat.
Wear a clean shirt for every shift or day of the show. Be sure to carry breath mints because your main job as a brand representative is to talk to clients and generate more leads. While mints are okay, chewing gum while talking to potential clients should be avoided as it could appear to be disrespectful.
Here are some additional tips for you to consider
Dress for the event
While most venues don’t require strict formal attire, there are a few guidelines that all exhibitors are required to follow. Will smart casuals may be permitted, skinny or ripped jeans should be avoided at all costs. You need to look unique while being in sync with your brand image and the theme of the show.
Avoid uncomfortable or new footwear
The shoes that you wear should be comfortable, but not too informal. Sandals or open-toed shoes are typically not accepted. Ideally, men should stick to simple brogues while women can opt for wedges or oxfords that complement their attire.
Whatever you choose, remember to avoid wearing new shoes on the day of the event. It’s always a good idea to break your shoes in a few days before the show. If you end up at the event with brand new shoes that are slightly tight, you could end up with very painful shoe bites at the end of the day.
Hide those tattoos
Make sure to cover up any body art or piercings. For conservative industries, pierced noses and eyebrows could be construed as unprofessional. While dressing up for the event, always keep in mind that you’re representing your company and not expressing your personal taste.
Treat yourself and your staff
Get a manicure done a day or two before the event so that your hands look well-groomed either with a neutral nail color or a simple transparent coat of polish. You might shake a lot of hands at the event, so always keep them clean and sanitized.
Don’t forget these essentials
Always carry a few essentials to your booth like a first aid kit, sewing kit, and a makeup box. Make sure to carry your business cards, brochures and vouchers in your bag or keep them in your pockets or purse.
You don’t necessarily have to meet people in your booth, you could find clients anywhere on the floor and engage in a good conversation.
To conclude, even though you have various things to consider before the event, always look up some trade show outfit ideas that go well with your brand and the theme of the show. Even though this might be the least of your concerns, it’s important that your staff appear professional and classy. Don’t forget to pay attention to the visual aesthetics of your booth and marketing strategies.
Doing the right things will help you to professionally engage with potential customers and secure many profitable long-term deals. Follow these simple dressing rules for your trade show and you’re sure to attract many potential clients and thereby generate valuable leads.