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How to Stand out in a Crowd: Networking in Style

I found myself at yet another networking event last week, total fish out of water. I probably wandered over to the bar a little too often for a professional event but a little liquid courage never hurt anybody, right. At least it helped the conversation flow a little more naturally for an introvert like me. As I settled in and took a quick breather from a few brief interactions I started to really enjoy some excellent people watching.

There was such a vast array of dress it was amusing. It is so important to make a good first impression at an event like this, you never know who you will meet and sometimes you only have moments to stand out amidst the crowd. And you don’t want to be the person remembered for the uncomfortably short skirt or un-kept appearance.

Because summer is upon us and we are all struggling to survive these 90 plus degree days I saw a ton of very short and a little to sheer for comfort blouse and skirt combos. I also saw a man rocking an all denim ensemble (aka Canadian Tuxedo)…don’t get me wrong…I love a good denim on denim outfit! But this was not the time or the place for this distressed denim disaster.

I think the most fun interaction I had, was an HR professional that immediately started confessing her fashion secrets to me. When people find out what I do for a living they look down at their outfit, pause and start explaining…. she confessed that she had stapled (yes, with a stapler) her pant hem and fastened a missing button on her suit jacket with a safety pin. And, although I do admire her ingenuity I did have to laugh a little. She did not give me the impression that these were last-minute fixes, so let’s not beat about the bush, you don’t need needles and staples poking you as you are trying to make a good impression. If we are old enough to be drinking and mingling at a social mixer we really should have the good sense to use a tailor or at the very least try to wield a needle and thread. Now some of you will need to use a tailor more often than others, that’s you my petite friends, but that is a lesson for another day.

These events can be very uncomfortable. New people and odd conversations. Not to mention it can be hot, noisy and difficult to maneuver. Let’s not add to the stress of an uncomfortable event by being uncomfortable in our clothes. My suggestion, have a business casual outfit ready to go for last-minute events like mixers or interviews. There is nothing more stressful than rushing home from work and finding your closet void of anything professional to wear. Try to wear something breathable and if you have a tendency to sweat try and wear a color or pattern that will keep you cool under pressure.

Don’t forget to have fun!! Professional doesn’t equal boring. Wear fun shoes and accessories that give you a pop of color and a punch of sassiness. Give them something to remember you and your sparkling personality by.

Here are some fun suggestions:

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