Occasion: Networking Luncheon
Dress Code: Business Casual
Outdoor Temps: 80°F
Activity Level: Low
Wearing: Tibi shell/vest (Nordstrom Rack), Rebecca Minkoff chevron pendant (Nordstrom), handmade stone bracelet (street fair in Buenos Aires), Side Stitch hi-lo button front shirt (Nordstrom Rack), Banana Republic "Sloan" pants (Ebay), Rockport adiPrene by Adidas pumps (Amazon), Brahmin saddlebag (Ebay).
Ah, networking - the perfect environment for an accurate, authentic, easy-to-read image. When roaming through a large room of people and trying to convey your special je ne sais quoi, non-verbal communication can truly help project your essence and build rapport with quality contacts in a short period of time - as long as you are non-verbally communicating some targeted and meaningful statements!
My networking group's dress code is business casual, so I don't want to look like a stuffed shirt, but I also want to appeal to other business people. I want to look creative and artistic, but I also want to convey an analytical and scientific approach that is somewhat atypical of fashion stylists. With those goals in mind, here is how I tied my professional attributes to my outfit:
Unconventional - an adjacent color scheme like this blue-green suggests an artistic bent, and layering the relaxed hi-low shirt under the vest is an atypical decision that generated interest and comments.
Approachable - in the business world, it can be easy to fall down the black-and-white rabbit hole. I warmed up and softened my look with taupe trousers, a natural stone bracelet, and a nature inspired print. The bracelet is not only visually organic, but also a conversation piece since I picked it up at a street faire in Buenos Aires.
Analytical - the nod to my methodical practices came in the form of my button-front shirt, traditionally cut trousers, classic pumps and linear design elements (the grid pattern of the vest and the chevron necklace). The exotic textures of my bag and shoes speak to attention to detail, and attention to my ideal neckline and hem lengths conveys organization and balance.
It's impossible to communicate everything about a complex and interesting person with an outfit alone - but when people have a limited time to get to know you, the right image will solidify your most important attributes at first glance - giving you more time to talk about the finer points in life.
For more on how to generate your unique business look, check out my original post on Reverse-Engineering Your Visual Resume.