Here’s a recap of the tips I presented to a group of 70 members and guests of the Amsterdam American Business Club yesterday.
What to Wear to Network:
1. Keep it Tame.
The goal is for people to listen to what you say, not be distracted by what you’re wearing.
2. Choose one Accent.
Maybe you always wear a long jacket or a statement necklace. Do you have a scarf collection? Do you love the color red? Pick one thing and have that be your accent — what you’re known for. Keep the rest simple.
3. Contrast & Color, in that order
The first thing we notice as shapes approach in the distance is contrast, not color. High contrast catches the eye first, and is considered more formal. If you blend into the background, well, that’s not good.
Wearing color is a good way to be noticed. Just do your homework based on the context you are in. For instance, yellow can mean happy, cowardly, or be a color of mourning.
To keep dressing simple and stress-free, find your ‘go to’ outfit and change up the accessories based on the occasion.
> belts, shoes
> earrings, necklaces, bracelets
> bags, hats, gloves
> and for men: pocket squares, tie tacks, suspenders, shoelaces, rings, necklaces
4. Don’t Forget the Outside.
Will people only be seeing you inside, sitting behind a table? Or will you be making an entrance. Often your coat, shoes and bag will be your important packaging, so check to make sure you’re polished and lint free.
5. Look in the Mirror.
This sounds obvious, but if you’re in a rush and you’re wearing something you have on often, you might skip the mirror check. Please don’t. There could be loose threads, a stain on your bum, a hem that’s loose, a pilling sweater, toothpaste spatters on your shirt, etc. Small things…that others might notice and judge you on.
And now you’re ready to walk into that room, armed with business cards, breath mints, and a smile. You can relax knowing that you look fabulous.