This past Saturday I had a great opportunity – I spoke at the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Intercollegiate Business Convention on the topic of networking. As I looked around the speaker ready room, and later at the session attendees, I noticed that most everyone was in a black or dark neutral suit.
Although one of the key foundation pieces for building a business wardrobe is a dark or neutral suit, I want to make a couple of suggestions:
1) don’t overlook other good business and networking clothing options like the fabulous dresses and separates that are out there this year;
2) if you opt for the dark suit, kick it up a notch and accessorize yourself with something that makes your style even more interesting; and
3) make yourself memorable.
A bright scarf over your shoulders, a bold belt, or a great necklace, bracelet, or brooch, can work in your favor and become a conversation piece during your networking. (Note: no more than one of these at a time, please!) Later when you send your follow up note to whomever you met, this “special something” may help them remember you.
Another piece of advice I gave the attendees was to know and dress appropriately for your audience and those with whom you are meeting. Obviously what you might wear to an Advertising or Fashion industry event might be more flamboyant than what you would wear to a Bar Association or Banking Industry event.
The key points I was making to these aspiring young women, and what I’m sharing with you, is to be appropriate, be memorable, and be yourself. The energy you exude when you are comfortable in your own skin and when you are confident and excited about what you are wearing will attract others to you, and the networking will take care of itself!