How to Dress for Networking Events

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For the final part in College Fashion's How To Dress Professionally series, we're going to talk about what you should wear to professional and casual networking events.

What's funny is that these events are almost trickier to dress for than a normal day at the office, because what you wear has a big impact on how people perceive you. As always, it's really important to make the right impression!

Don't worry though, I know all about this stuff and once you get it down, getting dressed for networking events will be no trouble at all! Here are some tips on what to wear and what not to wear.

Networking Dress Basics

In general, you can expect to wear business casual to most networking events, unless your boss specifically tells you to wear a different dress code.

You can also expect to see people dressed slightly more fashion-forwardly than you would in the office. This is a time when you can have a little more fun with your clothes & put some more personality into your outfit!

Sample Networking Event Outfits:

Here are a few of my ideas for what to wear to a networking event. These are all fairly business casual, although you might want to skip the bright accessories or wear something long sleeved (or a cardigan) if you work in a particularly conservative industry & want to be on the safe side!

What To Wear To A Networking Event - Outfit 1

Product Information: Blazer by Charlotte Russe ($26.99), Top by Charlotte Russe ($17.99), Wet Seal ($22.50), Earrings from Nordstrom, Bag by Stuart Weitzman ($375 - okay, splurge-y, but you can't deny this bag is hot!), Heels by Jessica Simpson ($69)

An easy and stylish outfit for a networking event is a simple pair of black trousers, a dressy top, and a cap-sleeved blazer. Dress your look up with a nice purse and a pair of bright heels.

What To Wear To A Networking Event - Outfit 2

Product Information: Earrings by Kohl's ($12), Lucite Bracelet by Sequin, Clutch from Bluefly, Dress by Forever 21 ($34.80), Black Tights by H&M ($9), Heels by Enzo Angiolini ($100)

The above outfit is a simple but sophisticated look that's really easy to do. A simple dress is paired with purple heels and a standout clutch. Classic yet fashionable jewelry dresses up the look and black tights help you stay within business casual guidelines.

Other Networking Event Tips:

Almost as important as what you wear to a networking event is how you act! Your attitude says so much about you when you first meet people, so make sure you're feeling good and exuding positive energy! Here are a few tips to make the best impression possible on the new people you'll meet:

  • Smile! This is so important, but so easy to forget! Sometimes when you're nervous it shows on your face, so minimize the nerves before you enter the event. Once you walk in the door, act like you're meeting a bunch of your best friends, and relax as much as you can! You will automatically make yourself look 10x more approachable, attractive and friendly.
  • Check your posture. Stand up straight and make sure you keep your body language open by keeping your arms to your sides and your shoulders back! I know it's tempting to fold your arms, but it makes you look closed off, which is just how you don't want to look when networking!
  • Mingle. This is a networking event basic. Don't stay in one group all night talking to the same couple of people. The point is to get face time with as many people as you can, so make sure to work the room and get to know lots of different people throughout the night!

More Information

In case you missed the other articles in the How To Dress Professionally series, here they are: Business Dress Code Basics, How To Dress For A Job Interview, and What To Wear To Work (Or An Internship).

As always, let me know what you think of this! Would you wear these outfits to a networking event? If not, how would you dress? Hit the link below to post a comment!