The RWA National Conference is early this year…June 28-July 1st. This year will be my third year attending the conference, so I thought I’d throw out some tips. Of course, if you’re like me, the first question you have is…WHAT DO I BRING TO WEAR?
Yeah. There are tons of pitching and networking opportunities (see later posts), but hey, if you’re naked, you probably won’t want to pitch. Or network.
RWA has FAQ’s on its website and states that “business casual” is the norm. I think this is a good start—but what exactly is business casual? I’ve worked in a large law firm, a small law firm, and a local college. Business casual is slightly different in all three.
First and foremost, be comfortable. Based on the last two years, for the first couple days, you will see:
- 40% Dress slacks and pretty blouses
- 40% Skirts-long and knee length – lots of flowing flowers
- 15% Nice Capri’s with pretty shirts
- 2.5% Full suits
- 2.5% Jeans
Then, as the week moves forward, you’ll see more Capri’s and jeans during the day. I’m one of the Capri and jean gals. By the last day, unless I have meetings, I wear jeans. (But I’m definitely in the minority). Last year I had meetings…so I wore a skirt on Saturday. Also, if you’re pitching, you dress up more that day. Skirts or nice pants are fine. To be honest, when I pitched, I wore very nice Capri’s with a pretty blouse, and I felt fine.
[For men: Slacks and nice shirts during the days]
At night there are publisher parties (you need an invite), chapter parties (FF&P’s is a good one, as is KOD’s Death by Chocolate party and of course the Chicklit party rocks)—and I wear a cocktail dress. There will be some people in nice pant suits, but most will be wearing simple cocktail dresses.
[For men: Slacks, nice shirt, and sports jacket.]
Then, on the last night there’s the 2011 RITA & Golden Heart Awards Ceremony. This is the fanciest night of the conference. You’ll see short cocktail dresses, long cocktail dresses, even formal dresses with boas. Wear what works for you. If you want to go all out—go for it! You won’t be the only one.
[For men: Suits, slacks w/sports jacket, or even a tux.]
Keep in mind that hotel conference sites often splurge on the AC. Have a sweater or cardigan with you at all times…just in case. I froze my butt off at the Washington DC conference—even though it was JULY in DC. But in Orlando, I was fine. So, like a Boy Scout or vampire hunter, be prepared.
In the next post on Tuesday, I’ll cover what to bring besides clothing as well as how to prepare for those awesome workshops beforehand. See you then. 🙂