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Guest conference-bound

conference attire?

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Guest conference-bound

i'm going to a conference (just attending, not presenting) in a hot, hot climate this summer, and i'll need to pack sort of light because i'm going straight from there to visit my brother. I was assuming that I could pack some nice skirts and blouses - not suits, but more casual outfits...with closed-toed shoes :) My mother, however, thinks that I'm crazy...and that I need to wear slacks and button-down shirts. I guess I *could* because it'll be indoors and air-conditioned...but I'm just curious about how formal conferences are! It's technically an "international" conference but it doesn't draw thousands or people, or anywhere NEAR that...hehe

Any input will be much appreciated :)

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Guest cheryl

As someone who has spent the last 21 years in a "hot, hot climate," let me tell you: just because it's hot outside, doesn't necessarily mean you should dress for that. If you can bear the walk from car to building, I would also advise slacks and button-down shirt (but not a suit). Any truly hot climate will air-condition you until you freeze, so if you dress for the heat, you'll be miserably cold and unable to hear the speakers over the chattering of your teeth. When I gave a talk at a conference, I wore black pants and a tailored maroon-red button down shirt. I felt comfortable, but still appropriate.

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This probably goes without saying, but keep your eyes peeled as to how other people at the conference are dressing. If on the first day you feel waaaay over dressed, take note, and downshift for the next day. If you wore a suit to the last conference I was at you would have stood out like a sore thumb. I think it depends a lot on the crowd.

Also - you might ask a professor or another student, advisor, whatever, who has been to that gathering before.

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Even if you are dressed so you feel out of place, you can always pick out people worse than you. I saw some awful outfits at the conferences I went to. If you are presenting, wear something professional. Suit, or business attire. If you are just attending, business casual is fine. Jeans are sometimes appropriate, but khakis or better are generally acceptable. No tuxedos :)

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Any truly hot climate will air-condition you until you freeze, so if you dress for the heat, you'll be miserably cold and unable to hear the speakers over the chattering of your teeth.

This is so true that it's ridiculous. Prepare to be cold indoors.

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Guest L again

I always wear a casual suit---matching slacks and jacket with nice shirt (but not necessarily a "power" suit). You can always take off the jacket and just go with the slacks (or skirt) and shirt if everyone else is business casual. And, being from Texas, I completely agree that you are likely to be cold more than you're hot indoors. It's also much better to look too professional than too casual. Wear something nice enough that you don't have to worry about your clothes and can focus on more important issues---like your presentation or networking. Good luck at the conference.

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I have been told that as a rule of thumb, the more dressed up you are, the more you will look like a grad student. You'll find that many grad students are dressed in a full suit and tie (regardless of the weather) whereas many professors will be dressed in business casual and some will even be dressed a little too casually (in my opinion). E.g., I saw one conference-goer wearing a dress shirt with cargo shorts and big brown boots with socks pulled almost all the way up to his knees. Very chic.

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Haha, and I thought the last one was dredging up an old post at 2 years.... 5 years from the last post is definitely pushing it!

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Yeah, but at 5 years old... Make a new post and link to the old one! Otherwise, it can get very confusing for those who pile onto the discussion.

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Haha, and I thought the last one was dredging up an old post at 2 years.... 5 years from the last post is definitely pushing it!

I know, right? It's still an interesting topic to me though, especially because at a conference I attended, several student presented talks on their work in jeans and t-shirts. I thought it was a bit odd, but maybe people are a bit more casual with regards to dress in my field.

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Yeah, but at 5 years old... Make a new post and link to the old one! Otherwise, it can get very confusing for those who pile onto the discussion.

I have no objections to people continuing discussion in the old threads. It's not like there have been major changes in what's appropriate to wear at conferences in the last five years.

In moving these posts, it was interesting to see how many times the same questions come up (should I transfer programs? questions related to moving and housing, advisor issues, etc.)

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I'm presenting a paper at an undergraduate conference this fall at a small university. I think there are thirty students in total presenting, myself included. Would the rules for dress listed above apply at this conference as well?

Just for the record, I'm in the humanities (English). From what I've gathered, this seems like a fairly informal affair (presenters are getting event t-shirts, etc).

Thanks in advance. ^_^

Edited by Two Espressos

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I generally err on the side of being a little over dressed rather than being under dressed. The reason: I presented a grad student conference and I thought it would be a shlump town so I only brought a wool suit skirt and a silk blouse. I wound up feeling a little underdressed as the majority of presenters were in full suits.

Note: this could be the result of a lot people at this conference hoping to be employed in DC and not as academics.

Since then, I have always worn a full suit to conferences. If the conference appears more informal, I fold my jacket and store it in my tote. That way I am still well dressed but not over board. In general, I always find it is easier to dress down if the environment is more causal than to dress up if you get it wrong.

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Conferences are pretty idiosyncratic in terms of dress. I went to two in my field, last year: one last winter (CCCC) where it wasn't out of place to be wearing a blazer with slacks for presenting (or a blazer with jeans for the rest of the conference), and another in the spring (Computers & Comp) where I arrived in dress pants and a blouse and felt over-dressed because most others were in jeans.

Talk to someone else who has attended, if you can. Otherwise, I do what IRdreams suggests, and I err on the side of dressy, but in an outfit that can be quickly downplayed if need be.

Since it's only undergraduates, I doubt full suits will be the norm. Blazers with coordinated (not matching) slacks are a favorite of mine; the full suit is a bit much for most of the conferences I've been to, even when people are dressy. Even at the MLA, you wouldn't look out of place in dress pants and a nice blouse or a dress shirt with a tie.

Edited by runonsentence

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Since it's only undergraduates, I doubt full suits will be the norm. Blazers with coordinated (not matching) slacks are a favorite of mine; the full suit is a bit much for most of the conferences I've been to, even when people are dressy. Even at the MLA, you wouldn't look out of place in dress pants and a nice blouse or a dress shirt with a tie.

I was going to go in a blazer and jeans, but I'll take your advice and pair the blazer with slacks since I'm presenting.

Thanks! :P

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I also err on the side of being a bit overdressed- I usually do slacks/sports coat/shirt and tie for conferences.

As mentioned, it has the side benefit of being able to take off the blazer and go down a notch (or take off the tie and leave the blazer on) if it seems like everyone else is less dressed than you are.

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