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what to wear for a gala dinner of a conference

(37 Posts)
hettie Sat 28-May-11 17:09:49

I am presenting a poster at an acadmic conference (I'm doing a Phd) and have an invite to the glala dinner (it's in a hotel). Can't find any dress code. Does anyone have a clue what I should wear?

madammecholet Sat 28-May-11 17:45:58

cocktail dress or little back number, not floor length as you may look OTT. Def heels, def glam though.

KristinaM Sat 28-May-11 19:31:12

Academics are not usually glam. I would guess that men will wear lounge suits and women dresses. Do you have a dress that would do and you could add a bit of jewellry? I'm guessing you are on a budget as you are a student

hettie Sat 28-May-11 20:00:13

ermm (oh god I've got the fear now) defo a dress then?
Racks brain, inhales deeply....... I have a couple of cotton sun dresses...... er the dress I got married in (silk, just above knee, Cheongsam style) ummme I have a choclate brown satin skirt that I wore to a wedding with a short sleeve top....
The nicest thing I own (apart fromt he wedding dress) are a pair of wool/cashmere mix wide leg trousers in charcoal grey
Can you link to what kind of thing you mean? (and yes I have no/limited budget)

KristinaM Sat 28-May-11 20:04:21

Your wedding dress or the brown outfit sound fine

Do you have a pair of heels?

KristinaM Sat 28-May-11 20:04:53

Assuming wedding dress isn't White of course

beanlet Sat 28-May-11 20:12:53

It depends on your discipline. In mine (humanities) most people go straight from panels to the dinner in whatever they've been wearing all day - definitely NOT more dressy.

You cannot go wrong with a black cocktail-length dress, heels, and a piece of statement jewelery. But I really wouldn't dress up more than that. I wouldn't even wear make up unless I usually do every day. Glam = definite overkill.

beanlet Sat 28-May-11 20:14:01

and trousers + nice top also fine.

hettie Sat 28-May-11 20:16:45

no no not white, it's silver with small blue floweers, but it is rather tight and a bit like a cocktail dress....
I have black heels (does black go with chocolate brown?)...
bloody hell why oh why haven't they given us a dress code

minieggfannomore Sat 28-May-11 22:30:54

I went to dinner in an Oxford College last week. Was black tie.

I wore a plain black fitted dress and a large diamante brooch and nice shoes and clutch bag.

Not much make up.

Was fine. Just look as if you have made a bit of an effort really. Your wedding dress sounds good.

7to25 Sat 28-May-11 22:50:05

From experience, the men will wear lounge suits and the women will turn up in whatever they fancy! Nothing floor length, no jeans, but I have seen everything in between. A failsafe for me is a nice trouser suit with heels and a nice (eveningish) top. I would avoid the wedding dress

Himalaya Sat 28-May-11 22:59:11

Yes, academics aren't well known for dressing well, so if you look like you've made an effort I'm sure it will be fine - nice trousers/skirt and a spangly/eveningish top or a cocktail dress.

The chongsam sounds nice, but only if you feel comfortable.

Charity shops in 'nice' areas are good for posh dresses!

beanlet Sun 29-May-11 14:56:42

Hettie, what's your field? It makes a BIG difference... maths or physics, you could wear a hessian sack and noone would notice, economics or law and you'd better be in discreet designer threads.

Oxbridge high table a totally different story, and they will usually specify dress code.

beanlet Sun 29-May-11 15:02:09

Just read that your cheobgsam is "tight". That's a no, I'm afraid, if you want to be taken seriously.

Your trousers sound nice - can you scour the charity shops for an evening top that matches, and wear your black heels? (no, black heels don't really go with brown)

beanlet Sun 29-May-11 15:02:43

Cheongsam... stupid iPhone.

KristinaM Sun 29-May-11 15:06:06

She is only a postgraduate student, I don't think anyone will really expect or even recognise designer at most conferences!!

Last university dinner I went to was black tie, in a palace with members of the royal family present. Lots of the women wore floral maxi dreses ( this is a few years ago, before they were back in fashion).including the academic who was guest of honour and receiving an award.

I wore a black lace cocktail dress , heels and some jewellery . Mind you, I was making a BIG effort as I was about 8 months pg. Goodness knows why I thought a necklace would distratct from my enormous bump blush

methodsandmaterials Sun 29-May-11 15:21:46

It's not a university dinner, it's a conference dinner and there's a huge difference.
In my field (biomedical sciences), few people bother changing for the dinner and would just show up in what they wore to the seminars. Women might change shoes, they might put on a pair of earrings or something and possibly change their top. I'd go for a top and trousers but nothing fancy... Certainly not what you wore to your wedding! If in doubt, I'd speak to one of your post-docs or even email the organisers.

RedwingWinter Sun 29-May-11 17:40:39

I agree, the discipline of the conference makes a big difference.

For most though, what you would wear for a nice meal out will be fine for the conference dinner too.

DonaAna Sun 29-May-11 18:29:29

I've organized quite a few conferences and attended countless conference dinners, receptions, galas etc. Academic conferences are pretty frumpy usually. Basically anything goes and you'll probably see an American male scientist in white sneakers and a T-shirt. Probably most women will wear black trousers and silky dressy tops (or, if they are older, more tent-like - and a Desigual coat would be the height of chic:D).

If you want to look really smart, a simple little black dress or a smart cocktail dress will make you look more stylish than 95% of attendees. Don't go floor length or you'll look like someone who is coming to the wrong event - possibly the high school prom next door. I wouldn't wear a sundress. If you don't have a little black dress, now might be a good time to get one. I usually wear a LBD or a sleeveless shift with a structured pretty jacket and some beautiful but comfortable heels. The whole point of the event is that you'll get to meet seniors in your field informally and socially. You want to make a good impression but not be crippled by your dress and shoes. Wear something that makes you feel confident and good about yourself. I often wear red to these events (a flattering color that makes me stand out).

beanlet Sun 29-May-11 20:13:50

DonaAna, you speak good sense!

CMOTdibbler Sun 29-May-11 20:22:25

I'd do trousers and a top. I go to a lot of conf dinners, and they are not dressy.

ATM, I wear a black maxi dress and sparkly fit flops and a coloured cardi - but my feet always hurt by the end of the day, and as I'm in physics/oncology, the dress standards aren't high to begin with

hettie Mon 30-May-11 14:45:45

ooh heck... I defo need to make a good impresion and be taken seriously.....We're psychologists (we care more about appearance than computer/physics types- but are not ever goign to be well paid enough to have designer clothes). Donana, when you say lbd, do you mean something that I could wear to an interview (sort of smart casual dress). like this?Sorry I don't were dresses much.... I am getting the vibe of nothing slinky (which rules out the chocolate skirt as it is satin and eveningy)
The trousers are looking like a good bet...Am trying to rack my brain as to what I have work with them in the past

beanlet Mon 30-May-11 14:53:28

Think LK Bennett, but cheaper or second hand. I used to wear Next office-wear when I was a PhD student and wanting to make a good impression. You should splash out - think of it as an investment in your career.

hettie Mon 30-May-11 16:01:04

right, I think I know what you're on about now.... [[ http://www.lkbennett.com/clothing/dresses/DRDAVINA2428WOOLMIX something like this]] but a third of the price grin

hettie Mon 30-May-11 16:04:13

oops sorry I meant like this

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