Every year, my company puts on an annual conference for our members. It is our largest event, which means a lot of organization, hustle, and networking. (I’d be lying if I didn’t also include a bit of blood, sweat and tears!) I have learned to pack clothes I’m comfortable in, yet look professional. Being 28 and still getting carded means my baby face needs a suit coat, heels and a dash of lipstick to appear a tad older.
While the event took place in Sacramento, CA, I spent most of my time inside. (A bit sad, I know, but I extended my time in the area to explore post-conference once I could relax a bit. A blog post to come on that shortly…) Because of this temperature controlled climate, I was able to easily plan out my outfits.
Here’s what I packed, including applicable tips to any future conference attendee, and it all fit in two carry-on sized bags!
What To Pack “Work Conference” Style
- Dress in layers. Some rooms are freezing cold while others are a bit muggy. To make sure I was comfortable in either situation, I packed lightweight fabric short-or 3/4 sleeved dresses and paired them with suit coats or cardigans. That way it was appropriate to take off my coat/sweater but still looked professional.
- Bring two pairs of dress shoes, one pair of heels and one pair of flats. Both should be able to be worn with all of your outfits. That way, if your feet are dying from wearing heels all day, you’ll have no trouble switching out your shoes instead of your whole outfit.
- Multi-task by throwing in 2-3 scarves in your bag. I ❤️ scarves and have wayyyyy too many but they are good for keeping warm, accessorizing a bland outfit, protecting your brand new camera you haven’t bought a case for yet… (oops!), plus they are easy to pack.
- Pack 2-3 blazers depending on the duration of your conference. I recommend dark colored suit coats that don’t wrinkle or show stains easily.
- Keep outfits easy and packing light by bringing dresses. They usually take up less space than 2 separate pieces, plus tights/leggings/panty hose don’t require ironing. I know no one that loves to iron, do you?
- Don’t forget to include workout clothes! Most hotels have really nice gyms, plus a great way to explore the conference city is by going for a run. Also, eating out a ton (especially in wine country) can wear and tear on your body. A little exercise will almost always make you feel better!
- Plan your outfits. This leads to less time getting ready in the morning and ensures you have everything you need prior to leaving home.
- All you need is one small purse and/or your laptop bag. Be sure your bag is stocked with gum/mints, a journal for note-taking, pens, snacks, aspirin (for those open bars, early mornings and non-stop information overload), a book for downtime (if you have any), and cash for tipping hotel staff.
Through applying the above tips, I have stayed organized, comfortable and confident during conference and work travels.
Question for you: What is your #1 item that you won’t leave home without when traveling for work?