We’ve looked at why networking is important and why you should be doing it, now we are going to focus on what to wear. This is a question we all ask ourselves whenever we’re going somewhere new or doing something out of our comfort zone. We aren’t going to tell you the exact outfits to wear but we’ve compiled a few pointers for you to consider.
There’s no strict protocol to follow when dressing for a networking event and ultimately you want to feel comfortable – there’s no use wearing a super smart outfit if it’s just not you. It’s worth considering the type of event and who you’re going to be interacting with when putting your outfit together though. For general networking events of course a relaxed outfit is appropriate. However, if you’re heading to an event to meet with decision makers and big names in your industry, you’ll want to opt for a more formal look to convey a professional attitude. Professional services such as accountants and solicitors are known to dress formal so if you’re in the industry or hoping to form a relationship it might be a good idea to follow their dress code. One of our DBW members and director of thecitysecret, in Richmond, Sophie Hazell, is a big believer in this:
“It’s important to consider how you want to portray your business and who may you meet – I have found at some networking events it is more formal, so suits and heels. These usually included more corporate style organisations and those covering professional services; solicitors, accountants, etc. Had I turned up in casual jeans and jacket, they may not have taken me for the business decision maker, and I could have been overlooked.
“For me I generally work with other office-based businesses, where staff are dressed more formal then casual, so when I am networking I tend to match their dress code as I believe this is the right image for thecitysecret.”
Your outfit can also be a great conversation starter at a women’s networking event and that doesn’t mean turning up in a psychedelic dress adorned with sequins. A stand-out accessory can be a great start, it could simply be a brightly coloured bag or interesting piece of jewellery. You’ll soon find people will approach you to engage in conversation as they know exactly how to start it – with a compliment on your outfit or accessory!
Ultimately you want to be comfortable and confident enough to meet new people and join conversations. It might sound cliché but just don’t let the pressure of meeting new people get to you. At Dales Business Women our members are from all walks of life from lawyers to dog walkers, who come together to share their knowledge and offer advice to each other and that matters more than their style of clothing! We want you to get as much out of networking as possible and if wearing a suit or smart outfit is going to hold you back then just don’t do it. If you want to get an idea of what our groups do wear, take a look at our Instagram; you’ll soon see there is no networking uniform. Each member is different which is great for the group, we’re here to help each other not scrutinise our fashion choices!
We’ve got packed calendar of events coming up and we’d love for you to join us – no matter what you’re wearing! Take a look at our events calendar here – you can join us as a non-member or find out more about becoming a member of Dales Business Women here.
You might be tempted to compile a plain, neutral outfit that will allow you to blend in and be as far away from the centre of attention as possible. However, that’s the exact opposite of what you should be doing when networking-the whole point is to put yourself out there and make yourself and your business known.