WTW: The Conference wear tradition (ETA: lots more options)

I joined this forum, it must be three years ago, for help deciding what to wear for a work conference at which I was scheduled to speak.

And I've asked you all for help for every conference speaking engagement I've had since.

So, in keeping with tradition - I'm speaking at my normal fall conference this week.  I have work shirts from the spring conference that I'm not required to wear, but it's somewhat expected that I do (besides that most of my other clothes are still packed from moving).

The conference is three days, but I'm only required to go to two of them, so I may or may not attend the third.  I need at least two solid outfits.  I'm speaking the second day, which means that the first impressions outfit will be different from the speaking outfit.

 I have three possibilities for trousers (light gray, dark gray and black) and two colors of shirts (black and white - but I own two of the black). Here's what I've managed to come up with as possibilities so far.

#1 - black work shirt, dark gray trousers, cognac belt, shoes and jacket.
#2 - same as #1, but with a white work shirt that just seems glaringly bright to me.
#3 - black work shirt with light gray trousers - belt and shoes also black.
#4 - column of black with a white jacket.

New options:

#5 - Narrower black pants with black top (white belt and jacket, black shoes).  I like these better than the black pants in #4, which feel too big to me.  These are also big, but less obviously so, to me.

#6  -Same as #5, without jacket

#7 - Cropped navy trousers, with high-shaft beetle booties, so that I can wear socks.  This looks strange, right?

#8 - Same as #7, but removed the socks and put on the more comfy shoes.  It's summer, maybe I can get away with showing my ankles?  I'm nervous about the frigid A/C, but it's quite warm outside (almost 90F).

#9 - same as #8, removed the white belt.  I'd add a black belt for low contrast.

#10 - same as #9, but with navy ankle pants rolled.

#11 - Navy jeans with black shirt (they're a dressier fabrication than most denim, and would be dressy enough - this is construction industry and Nebraska).

#12 - Navy jeans with white shirt.  I'd add a black belt, or maybe a white one.

#13 - As long as I'm considering bare ankles, why not culottes?  I have a pair of silk long underwear under these, and they were very warm for this try-on.  (Still no guarantee that my ankles wouldn't freeze, but the rest of me wouldn't).

#14 - Culottes with black shirt.

#15 - added the white jacket.  There's no belt loops for me to add a white belt, and I'm not sure the jacket goes by itself.

#16 - totally bare legs and knees.  I think I'd freeze.  And it's not seasonally appropriate to add thermal tights to it, so I doubt this one will happen (besides that the proportions are off, aren't they?)

All of these are dressy enough - that's not a real concern for me.  My real care is to look competent and be comfortable.

What would you suggest?  (Do you see a combo that I'm missing?  I don't think I can get away with a skirt or ankle pants because they keep it 65* in there, and I'll freeze to death).

My current thoughts are to wear #5-6 one day, and either navy trousers, navy ankle pants or culottes the other... I'm not sure.  What do you think now?

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Thistle replied 7 years ago

    I like #4 the best followed by #3.  For some reason, I feel the brown jacket is too casual.

  • kellygirl replied 7 years ago

    i think 3 looks more in line with your first impression look. 4 is great but it doesn't look as "work" like to me. I think it's the more untraditional jacket--as opposed to the bomber or a blazer. Just my 2 cents. You look competent and approachable in all of the above!

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    Oh wait - I just found two more bottoms options that might be better than any of these!  I'll take more pics tomorrow (and hopefully correct my camera focus)

  • Elly replied 7 years ago

    I like 1 and 4-- you could also do the white shirt and jacket together with light grey or black slacks (you could bookend with cognac shoes).

  • Glory replied 7 years ago

    I like 4 and 1 but I think you could wear them all. You look very competent!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Oh goody. I love this tradition. 

    I will refrain from comment until I see all the options. :) 

  • UtahDesert replied 7 years ago

    I like two and four best. It might be because these are the two with the sharpest dark-light contrast, which I'm always a sucker for. But I think two is a particularly sharp, competent, put together kind of look, and four has the same elements but uses white and dark colors in a less common and therefore cool kind of way.

  • lyn67 replied 7 years ago

    Wow, I like them all, fab fits on pants with the belts and leather jackets, but nr 3 is striking cause the light pants, and changed colorway, which I love:-)),

  • replied 7 years ago

    You look very competent and comfortable.  

    My favorites are numbers 3 and 4 (in that order).  I do not like number 1.  I can't say I like either number 1 or 2.  It may be the brown "offends" me.  I know it doesn't make sense.  Sigh.  

  • krishnidoux replied 7 years ago

    1 and 4

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago

    I'll wait to see your new options --- but I wanted to say that you look very Amelia Earhart in the brown jacket.  And these shirts are far better looking than the ones I remember from a few years ago -- weren't they the ubiquitous polos?

  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    For your first day I like 1 or 3. For your 2nd day and talk I like 4. You look wonderful in everything.

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    Wow - Thanks for all the input so far!  I'll put together more pics in a few hours - both other pairs of pants are slim (unless they're now way too big), and I'm excited about the possibilities with them.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Another vote for #4. 

  • Sara L. replied 7 years ago

    I also like #4.  Those black pants are very flattering on you.  I like #2 with the white shirt but if it feels too bright and you'll be uncomfortable, I would rule that one out.  I like the mix of neutral shades in #1 as well.

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for your input so far!  I ended up finding two pairs of dressy-enough jeans (black and navy), and then since the weather is so summery today, I tried on some summery options (ankle pants, culottes and even a skirt).  I fear the summer options a bit, because my experience tells me I'll freeze at this show.  But it's so nice outside - I could just step outside now and then, right?  Right?  (haha).

    I still like the two pair of grey wide-leg pants in #1-3.  I prefer the black narrow in #5 to the black bootcut in #4 unless you convince me otherwise.

    What else do you see?

  • texstyle replied 7 years ago

    I like 4 if you need a jacket. I also like the classic look of 12 - simple but effective for the task. Maybe add a navy belt (but not a white belt in my opinion).

  • Word Lily replied 7 years ago

    I still like #1, a lot. I prefer the bootcuts in 4 to the narrow 5, but I'm bootcut to the core, so that might just be me.

    I think you should skip the summery looks based on your gut instinct / history with the event that you'll be too cold. But I also like 15.

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    Hmmm - two people prefer the bootcuts already.  I'll give them a better chance, I guess :)

  • Astrid replied 7 years ago

    I really like #4! Followed by #9. I prefer the black shirt to the white and I don't like the white belt all that much. I think it looks better if you have one long column of color.

  • Kat replied 7 years ago

    I like 9 for first day (first impression, more casual , but comfortable and competent), then 4 for your speaking day--it has a slightly more "profesional"/presentation vibe to me. I also agree with Astrid that I like the looks with a column of color better, but this may just be my personal preference bleeding over into suggestion for you.

  • missvee replied 7 years ago

    Oh #4 is perfect for your presentation - it's crisp, graphic and professional.
    For the meet and greet you could do something a bit more fun like #6, the column of navy with the white belt.

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    Okay - for sure then, I'll wear #4 for speaking.

    I won't wear brown, skirt or culottes.  I'm narrowing it down!

  • AviaMariah replied 7 years ago

    I like #4 the best but I also like #12, especially if you feel you should wear a logo shirt one day.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    I really like #9 and #12 and I also like the favourite, #4. 

    You look so amazing -- just comparing these to the first photos from the conference!! 

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    Thanks Suz!  What a different PPL makes, right (and fit too)?!   I'm sure that losing a bit of weight helps, but it's really mostly the clothes.

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    Ahh Suz - you made me look.  These pants, from my first time posting three years ago, are the same ones in #4!  I let down the hem (and now they're almost too long for the shoes I plan to wear).  

    I so need to do a What-I-Wore to the last few conferences retrospective :)

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