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Conference dinner outfit

(14 Posts)
Greenandcabbagelooking Mon 14-Apr-14 18:46:44

I am attending an international conference at the end of the month as a PG student, because my supervisor is organising it . Day wear is fine (black trousers and uniform polo shirt), but I have no idea how dressed up I need to be for the dinner. It's being held in a local castle.

There has been absolutely no guidance, my friends are all wondering the same thing. I'd rather not buy anything new if at all possible. Options are:

Black trousers and white blouse
Black trousers and nice top
Two above options, with non-matching black jacket
Mantaray wrap dress (knee length, heavy cotton, meduim sleeves) with or without jacket or cardi
Various floral dresses
Burgundy occasion dress from Debut at Debenhams
Teal floor length bridal dress

Or anything else you might like to suggest! I think the last is too formal. I just want to make a good impression and not look over/underdressed.

GreatSoprendo Mon 14-Apr-14 19:00:55

That's tricky. Does your supervisor have a PA or anyone who can advise you what he (I'm assuming it's a man) is wearing? The last 2 on your list sound only suitable if it's black tie - and if it is black tie thats usually made clear on an invitation. If in doubt, I have a standby black shift dress that I wear with heels for this type of event - I've taken a statement necklace and bracelet along in my handbag and whipped it on quickly if the event seems a bit more dressy than I had expected.
The safest of your options sounds like the black trousers and nice top. You can blend in to most events in something like that. Although I would be at pains to see a copy of an invitation somehow, as that is likely to give an indication of dress code. Or find someone who went last year who can advise you?

TheVictorian Mon 14-Apr-14 19:18:22

Id wear a full business suit type outfit, as it is an international conference, it is best to look as professional as possible.

Paq Mon 14-Apr-14 19:33:17

Either black trousers and nice top or wrap dress.

What is the academic area? I always find arts better dressed than science and engineering. Academia is generally more casual than business.

Not black trousers and white top, I always think that puts you in danger of being confused with the waiting staff.

Greenandcabbagelooking Mon 14-Apr-14 20:01:06

No invite, we are going to help. Inviting us to the dinner was rather an afterthought, I think! No PA to ask either.

It's science.

JanineStHubbins Mon 14-Apr-14 20:03:43

Not a full business suit, definitely not. In my field you would stand out as being either American or v junior if you wore a full suit.

Academia is more relaxed scruffy than other sectors. I'd go for the wrap dress or else the nice top and black trousers.

Paq Mon 14-Apr-14 20:16:29

I think you will look fine in whatever. Just make sure you look groomed - clean, tidy hair, no whacky piercings or dye jobs, tidy nails, non-scruffy shoes.

Sorry if this sounds patronising but I work in HE and have had to point out to PG students that threadbare Converse and ragged combats is not a good look for job interviews.

Greenandcabbagelooking Mon 14-Apr-14 20:26:55

Yep, going with either slick low bun (not a doughnut thing on top of my head!) or straightened ponytail, plain silver studs in my ears, black shoes and plain (although bitten down to the quick) nails.

I know I will not be super-stylish, but I will be clean, neat and tidy, which is probably half the battle.

HermioneWeasley Mon 14-Apr-14 20:38:28

Black trousers with a fabulous top (not a shirt) should cover all bases

Lambzig Mon 14-Apr-14 20:42:37

I would go with the wrap dress, as it can be dressed up or down.

Maisie0 Tue 15-Apr-14 00:11:20

So, do it for the girls in science ! Wear a dress. ;)
I was a geek once too.

I also agree with the little black dress option as well.
Dress up with shimmering silvery accessories if very more towards black tie, and then dress down to the next level of "smart casual" with say a grey cardi if it is less formal. If you are helping during the day, then wear pumps, or flats, and dress down. At night, wear a pair of heels. Just switch over obviously, and dress a bit more up with more shimmery make up if it is more dressy, but if not, then just go for basic clean nude look.

Mantaray wrap dress (knee length, heavy cotton, meduim sleeves) with or without jacket or cardi --- I am intrigued to know if this is patterned or not. No pattern dresses.

Wear a dress. Do it for the girls in science ! :D
You can be both female, and smart. Wear a dress !

Greenandcabbagelooking Fri 09-May-14 22:23:14

So, after much umming and ahhing, I wore this


There was a wide range of outfits, from jeans, trainers and a shirt to a cocktail dress. I think I got it about right.

tigerdriverII Fri 09-May-14 22:40:41

Gorgeous dress!

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 09-May-14 22:47:06

Little Black Dress. Knee length, fitted. Heels. Nice earings.

Nothing studently, floaty or flappy. Or liable to be creased.

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