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please dress me for a professional networking event!

(21 Posts)
HappyHeart87 Mon 15-Aug-16 20:03:06

I'm 5'9 and a size 16-18, aged 31. I'm venturing into a new field on a self employed basis after mat leave.

I want to look polished and professional, but still quite colourful and not too corporate.

I don't have a personal 'style' (really I'm useless). Budget is high street / supermarket but I'm going to be mixing with fairly senior professionals so if it's possible to look more expensive I'd like to!

Help me...?

OpenMe Mon 15-Aug-16 20:05:17

What is the event?

mrsnoon Mon 15-Aug-16 20:06:52

I'm sorry I haven't a clue but I hope you don't mind me place marking. I start a new job next month and am going from wearing a polo shirt and trousers uniform to working in a very visible and fairly conservative public sector role and I feel as lost as you with a budget to match! smile

HappyHeart87 Mon 15-Aug-16 20:13:27

It's a morning session with a seminar and then coffee and "networking opportunities". Sorry I'm possibly being vague and unhelpful - is there particular info that would make a difference?

OpenMe Mon 15-Aug-16 20:16:10

The last networking thing I went to was clay pigeon shooting and quite often they're black tie things so it might!

For daytime seminar things I usually go from a dress and suit type jacket. Boring but does allow some colour

everdene Mon 15-Aug-16 20:21:13

Happyheart for something like that I would wear a loose dress in a colour like royal blue and a long necklace.

I would go and buy some makeup from a counter and get them to style you in a 'no make up' way.

Then just style your hair neatly - basically I'd say with groomed hair and nice makeup it doesn't matter if your clothes aren't expensive if they are well-ironed.

everdene Mon 15-Aug-16 20:25:08


Necklace ((LOVE this from ASOS!

HermioneWeasley Mon 15-Aug-16 20:29:11

Agree, dresses are your best bet for looking smart but not too corporate.

Try Hobbs and jaeger sales/outlet, phase 8 and house of Fraser

A tailored dress will always look smarter than something loose/shapeless

MsPickle Mon 15-Aug-16 20:32:47

I second a smart dress and jacket. Sainsburys had some in but I've not looked closely at this seasons. I'm a bit older, similar size and it's my go-to outfit for this suit of do. Personally I'd avoid anything too flowing if you want to project corporate respectability, classic is generally best. I'll sometimes wear a red jacket with a darker dress. And comfortable shoes! There's often a lot of time on your feet. One other tip is a jacket or dress/trousers with pockets. Put the business cards you want to follow up on one side, the ones you won't bother with in the other. No one will know what you're doing but when you're on your way home you can jot notes on the following up cards while it's all fresh. And then do the follow up! Many women don't. For colour and interest use necklaces/brooches, keep them at neck level if you're busty though, helps any wandering eyes. And bear in mind you may have to wear a badge -I hate them as a busty woman as positioning them so you don't have "peering" is an art! Keep your bag to the minimum, I learnt that the hard way, too many events hauling a sack full of rocks or that's what it felt like!

DianaT1969 Mon 15-Aug-16 21:08:03

Try COS. My go to dress for this type of day is from COS and and it has lasted a year and I'm still not bored of it. Looks ok with bare legs in summer and good with opaques in winter too.

DianaT1969 Mon 15-Aug-16 21:17:21

Instead of a bag I recommend a large flat, floppy clutch with wristband. Warehouse sometimes have them and I got a leather brown one in Banana Republic. They hold a phone and all you need and free up your hands to hold coffee, pen etc. These places usually have a cloakroom, so check in excess stuff if you can't travel light.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Mon 15-Aug-16 21:34:08

I'm the same size as you, 10 years older and started recently in a new role with networking obligations. My work uniform is dark trousers (Boden crops etc) and either a patterned / bright silk / blouse top or dark top (cashmere or cotton tshirt) with a colored or textured jacket. I get tops and jackets from John Lewis, Hobbs or Boden summer range (winter jackets are too hot for inside). Start looking at summer clearance racks for these now. Dresses just don't do it for me, bare legs are too informal in my sector and tights are never comfortable.

Agree to keeping your business cards in one pocket and ones you receive in another, take a pen and a should bag. Wear something memorable on your top half i.e. a quirky necklace or brooch or Chanel-esque tweedy jacket and comfortable shoes if you'll be standing for long.

Nettletheelf Mon 15-Aug-16 22:08:51

Wear some colour, not just black. Makes you stand out a bit.

Are you going to be networking with mostly women or men? If women, it helps to have a nice necklace or earrings or shoes. I'll always compliment other women on nice accessories, so it's good for breaking the ice.

HappyHeart87 Mon 15-Aug-16 22:40:05

Wow, this is all so helpful, thank you! Style advice and so much more grin. I will get shopping.

poochiepants Mon 15-Aug-16 22:51:21

What's your business, as that can determine your style too? With my industry I wouldn't go to an event in a navy suit and sensible heels, but would if I were an accountant, possibly, though that wouldn't match my personality - it's a tough call...

Nettletheelf Mon 15-Aug-16 23:42:43

Do not condemn us accountants to navy suits and sensible heels!!!

Good luck OP.

MsPickle Tue 16-Aug-16 00:34:26

I said comfortable shoes, not necessarily sensible smile. Like the floppy clutch idea, will adopt that. If it's an event with booze always get to the bottom of your glass before accepting a top up so you can keep track. A brilliant tip given to a young me unleashed in the City networking circles. Still got pickled but more slowly and under more control!

HappyHeart87 Tue 16-Aug-16 07:24:33

It's sortof like management consultancy but not that!

poochiepants Tue 16-Aug-16 19:51:30

Oops, sorry nettle. No offence meant! I'm a designer, so am open to clothing stereotyping too - feel free!!!!

Run247 Tue 16-Aug-16 20:52:30

I bought a grey Ponte dress from the jaeger outlet sale and it makes me feel a million dollars. There are some amazing bargains on there at the moment.,en_GB,sc.html

Diamogs Wed 17-Aug-16 09:46:15

I have been to a few networking groups and the dress code varies enormously.

Not sure if I am allowed to name organisations but the all female one was a lunchtime one where people were popping in from work so everything from suits (Solicitors, Accountants, HR consultants, Estate Agents, where they would have a dress code for seeing clients presumably) to very jeans (MLM-bots, charity reps, construction workers) to very stylish casually dressed (colour analysis, graphic designers etc)

The breakfast network meetings were mainly men (presumably no child-care issues hmm) and ranged from suits, to suits without a tie!

Hope you are ready for the chucking the ball around the table and sharing three zany facts about yourself, one of which is made up... or was that just the meetings that I was unfortunate enough to attend? wink

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