What to wear to a networking event (and make networking easier!)

by Sylvia

What to wear to a networking event (and make networking easier!) | 40plusstyle.com

If you are in business or moved into a new area, you will probably want to attend some networking events. For some of you this may be fun, but for others (more introverted people) networking events can be challenging.

  • How do you talk to people?
  • What do you say?
  • How do you approach people or get approached in the first place?
  • And what do you wear?

I will not go into detail about the first 3 questions but I do have a great idea on what you could wear which will help with all of these questions:

Wear something unique and special!

When you wear something unique and eye catching, people will automatically come up to you and compliment you on your dress or special accessory. It will make it easy for people to approach you as they know exactly what to say.

Don’t automatically think that you could never do this because you are not a stand-out dresser. A simple or fun accessory could do the trick.

Here are just a few examples of stand-out pieces, you could consider.

A special ring

Silver rings

My double fingered ring is understated yet special and draws plenty of attention. People are curious as to how this ring works. Unique earrings will work really well too.

Unique and colorful shoes

drapes (1 of 1)opt

If you like to keep your outfit neutral and understated, you can always add something special with shoes. I often wear these multicolored shoes when my outfit gets a bit too boring. (view the full outfit)

A uniquely designed top

purple green silk top

People do notice and appreciate unique design details. The back of this top is so unique that people can’t help but comment on it and approach you. (view the full outfit)

A special colorful or asymmetrical necklace

wovennecklace

If your necklace is unique or colorful enough, others will notice and comment on it. My asymmetrical necklace (view the full outfit) always gets attention as does this big bold necklace found at Boticca. (outfit details)

leatherjacket (3 of 8)opt

A hat or fascinator

wearingafascinator

This may not be an option when you are shy but people will always approach me to comment on my hat or fascinator that I wear. You stand out automatically as few women wear them. (view the full outfit)

A special bag

boticcaGold (1 of 1)

A stand-out or colorful bag is another great option to add to your outfit.(outfit details)

Wearing something unique or fun in your outfit is a fabulous way to make networking easier as people find it easier to approach you. The extra bonus is that it makes you feel good as well and it’s fun to add a few special pieces to your wardrobe to make neutral outfits more special.

Have you ever tried doing something like this? What was your experience? If not, will you try it?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana B

Wow Sylvia. I loved this post. I am really ready to use this advce at my next opportunity.

I love your style as well. So inspirational.

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Sylvia

Thank you Dana and good luck!

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Sabina “OceanblueStyle” B

I just attended a fashion show last weekend. I do not know if I was wearing something outstanding. It was important for me to make me feel confindent and relaxed. During the intervalls people started sitting down so I just smiled. If they were returning the smile I just asked how they liked the show….but I get really tense if I put to much pressure on myself feeling I HAVE to network successfully. Never works 😉 Thanks for the tipps. Will try to notice something unusual the other person is wearing for a door opener to a conversation. Sabina | OceanblueStyle

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Sylvia

Yes, you need to feel comfortable and confident first and foremost. It does get easier when you go to more events and complimenting somebody on what they wear can often be a good opener for a conversation!

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Lisa M

For me, most networking opportunities would be male dominated, and since men commentating on my appearance in any way would be inappropriate, I don’t think this would work.

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denton

I agree Lisa, Sylvia’s looks would not work for law or finance, at least in Europe or the US. Of course for the fashion or other creative businesses these looks are fabulous as always. But it’s a sad day when a man (or woman) can’t compliment a woman’s hat or pocketbook or shoes.

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Sylvia

The looks are examples and from my world, but I still think this can be applied to any industry. Lawyers could wear a really nice tie for example. If it’s inappropriate for women to comment, then at least the men will notice and it may be a conversation opener for them. As a woman you could wear an outstanding scarf. But like you Denton, it think it’s ridiculous if I cannot make a positive comment on what someone is wearing.

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Sylvia

Really? Not even a friendly love your necklace kind of comment? I don’t know, but if I worked in that kind of environment, I would still find it easier to approach a man, who was wearing an outstanding tie for example and start a conversation. I agree with Denton that it’s a sad world when you can’t even compliment someone on what they wear.

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Lisa M

As someone who has worked really hard to be taken seriously, I don’t want comments on my physical appearance — particularly by men who hold all the power. To me, it would feel like being put in a stereotypical “we hire you for you looks”, place that so many women have had to battle through.

Denton, if I know someone, and I know he respects me professionally, I’m glad for the compliment. But if we are strangers, no way.

(For the record, I’m clergy.)

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Greetje

I have not consciously done this. But as I usually wear a statement necklace or a damned good outfit (at times) I do get people who come up to me and say something about it. You mentioned in previous posts the term “conversation piece”. I remembered that. It doesn’t have to be beautiful as long as it starts people talking.
This was a very good post. You have so many good examples. And all from your own wardrobe. My compliments.
Greetje
PS Looking at your hair I still think longer hair makes you more youthful LOL

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Sylvia

Yes you do Greetje. And you are also a perfect example of someone who constantly approaches people on what they wear and give them compliments. So you are ahead of the game and already implementing this tactic on a daily basis!
p.s. I always think of you whenever I feel like cutting my hair. (Greetje would NOT approve). You are in many ways to credit for it. I’m going to get a special treatment for it this week, as the frizz still drives me nuts!

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Greetje

hahaha. Never knew my influence would be this big…

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Elaine

You look great Sylvia! I love these outfits. Each look conveys the idea that you are interesting, approachable and have the confidence to interact successfully with a variety of people while not pegging your style to a bygone era. While everyone has to assess what manner of dress is appropriate for each networking opportunity that is available to them, I find your advice very useful. You have given us a lot to think about.

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Sylvia

Thanks Elaine. Glad that comes across.

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Ann

Yes good advise for my work as an artist. Wearing something creative at shows is a must. Using clothing to feel great and help become more extroverted is a plus. You look beautiful in all these examples, I’d come up and talk to you in a minute.

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Sylvia

Thanks Ann. I like that you say: they help you to become more extroverted. So true!

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Maria

I’m a Swede, joining my first network event ever in U.S. next week, so thanks a lot! After reading this I’m thinking of wearing something Chinese, which I bought during our 1 1/2 year long stay in Shanghai. I hope I’m brave enough!

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Sylvia

Have fun and let us know how you go!

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TRENDSURVIVOR

Love your post. I recently went to a bloggers conference and it is true that wearing something unique can start a conversation.
X Nina

P.S. Hope you will come over to enter a $500 Gift Card Giveaway from LuisaViaRoma.com

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Sherry Edwards

I’ve never really given this much thought, but very inspirational. I love all your looks. I guess this is an area I need to work on.

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