Dressing up for a corporate event can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re new to corporate life or you’ve just joined the company. Corporate events are specifically designed to showcase a company’s culture, and it can be a challenge to get a good feel of that and fit right in when you’re new to the scene.
As you spend more time working with your colleagues in the office or heading out to industry events with them, you’ll gradually be able to understand the shared values and traditions of your organization. It won’t be long before you get a handle on things like how to dress and comport yourself at meetings, pitches, presentations, or conferences.
All the same, while you’re still learning the ropes, here are some hacks that you can use to improve your style game and fit in with your company’s and industry’s culture. Dressing to impress won’t be hard if you employ these styling tips at your next event:
Clothes in Neutral Colors Are Often a Safe Choice
Though most people have a general idea of what goes on at a corporate event, they’re not all made the same. There are events that require business casual, business formal, and even festive attire that requires attendees to dress to the nines. You can easily look up standard outfits for each type of event. When in doubt about the colors you should wear, however, consider neutrals your safest bets.
Neutral colors like black, white, gray, beige, and brown may not be part of the color wheel, but they’re very easily paired with primary and secondary colors. They’ll help you temper down bolder colors and achieve a subdued effect for the rest of your outfit, which reduces your risk of looking out of place on a casual or formal occasion. If you buy black leggings or a beige cardigan for a business casual event, for example, then you can still wear loud or colorful pieces without much fear of looking gaudy or unprofessional.
Versatile Bottoms Can Make Your Prep Time Easier
Bottoms in neutral colors also pair well with different types and colors of tops. In fact, these versatile pieces can often serve as the foundation of one’s work events wardrobe. If you have a collection of pants, skirts, leggings, jeans, trousers, and other bottoms that you can mix and match with just about any top, then putting together presentable everyday work wear and outfits for special corporate events won’t be too much of a problem.
At the same time, these bottoms can make dressing up for corporate events much faster, easier, and less of a mental strain on you. Since you already have a good collection of bottoms that can match with any type of top, that’s already half the battle won. You’ll only have to think of a top that will suit the event, and then you’ll be good to go.
Comfort Should Be a Priority When Choosing Shoes
When attending a corporate event like an industry conference or awarding ceremony, make sure to wear comfortable shoes. This is especially true if you’re expecting to move around, mingle with the other attendees, and perhaps even help out a little bit behind the scenes. You’ll have a hard time joining activities, being social, or even just enjoying the event if your feet are uncomfortable because of the ill-fitting shoes you are wearing.
It’s true that wearing high heels can elevate your look, but if you’re not completely at ease walking around in them, make sure to pack an alternative pair of shoes if you want to give your feet a rest. If you don’t want to risk an accident, like falling because of a broken heel, don’t hesitate to go with safer choices like wedges or dressy ballet flats with buckles.
Don’t Compromise Your Freedom of Movement
Just like ill-fitting shoes, ill-fitting clothes can also prevent you from looking or feeling your best at one of your company’s events. If your clothes are too short or too tight—so much so that you feel extra conscious when moving about and interacting with others—consider other options.
While you should aim to look presentable during corporate events, this shouldn’t come at the cost of your personal comfort. Decide on outfits that look good and that you can depend on to get you through long hours. Don’t hesitate to wear shirts, jackets, pants, skirts, or even dresses with pockets on them. These will allow you to keep your valuables close to you while maintaining a sleek look and keeping your hands free.
Anticipate Weather Changes When Choosing an Outfit
If you’re assigned to a place or venue where you’re at the mercy of the elements, like an outdoor product launch, be sure to prepare for the possibility of changing weather. For instance, think of how you can layer your clothes if the temperature tends to swing between warm and chilly.
What if you’re attending a formal event? In that case, make sure you bring a jacket that suits the theme of the said activity. An acid-wash jacket won’t look good on a dressy cocktail dress if you’re attending a black-tie corporate event; you should opt instead for an elegant shawl, wrap, or infinity scarf.
It’s Smart to Anticipate Wardrobe Malfunctions
Inspecting your clothes closely and dressing comfortably will help you avoid most of the common wardrobe malfunctions that typically occur at corporate events. However, it’s still best to come prepared for typical outfit mishaps like stains, rips, or visible undergarments.
It won’t hurt to bring a few safety pins or a strip of fabric tape if you want to be extra careful and you’re not in the mood to bring a just-in-case spare outfit with you. Other items that you might want to keep on your person at a corporate event include a stain-removing marker for stains and band-aids for chafing wounds at the back of your feet.
It’s possible to dress up for a corporate activity without stressing too much about your outfit, but it takes some practice to gain a high level of calmness and confidence for every upcoming event. While you’re still figuring out your fashion persona for your line of work, take advantage of the hacks above to look effortlessly presentable at events and make a good impression on your colleagues, company executives, and fellow professionals in your industry.