Dressing for success at a business networking event. We host business events in London and online, and one of the things we get asked is what is the dress code. Yes we still have office days and working at home days, so what is the standard in terms of what to wear for a business networking event or business networking meeting?

This week at iWant2Network we spoke to Lauren Manville, a wonderful stylist and the owner of Lauren Manville Style. With a background in design and therapy she applies both disciplines in helping to empower her clients and making sure they really do feel confident in what they wear. After meeting her we were so amazed by her insight and know-how that we asked if she would help us write this blog all about dressing for success at a networking event. So here it is…our top tips on dressing to feel confident at a networking event.

1. Planning
Planning and preparation is key. Let’s be honest, generally, in the morning you are trying to get your coffee down as quickly and effectively before dashing out the door. And often this means that choosing clothes is based on the first thing we pull out the wardrobe rather than actively thinking about colours, style or what would work best. Instead, spend some time the night before and we guarantee you will feel far more confident when you work into that networking meeting.

2. Colours
We have all been there, we stare into the wardrobe and immediately our eyes are drawn to black; flattering, easy to wear and a timeless classic it is oh so simple to pick it up and roll with it. However, there are a number of colours in the rainbow that can actually make a tangible impact on your mood. Take yellow for example, which will lift mood as well have connotations with clarity, concentration or energy. Or, alternatively, the colour green which is perfect for a mediator, as it sits in the middle of the rainbow, it is restful, balancing and can help with decision making. So have a think about what colour marries with your profession and personality; it may well send out some powerful subconscious messages that helps enhance and enrich your brand.

3. Shape
Clothes can, undoubtedly, have a huge impact on confidence and the way we interact with others. Which is particularly important at a networking event. Now whilst choosing something baggy can often be the “safer” choice, hiding all those lumps and bumps; wearing one structured item like a skirt or a jacket can have a huge impact on your confidence, giving you a sense of purpose and making you feel far more prepared. So consider choosing one structured item to help you feel more confident when speaking to your peers at a networking meeting.

4. Individual style
There are plenty of articles online that will tell you what to wear and how best to wear it. However, the beauty of clothes is that they allow us to reflect our inner personality outwards. So instead of following the trends, think about those clothes that work for your personality and shape. Maybe even take some pictures and see what really works for you. Most importantly don’t feel pressured to wear clothes that don’t mesh with your values; if heels make you feel uncomfortable go for a beautiful pair of brogues. Remember people buy from people; and you are a far more compelling proposition than whomever you are trying to imitate. So put on your favourite dress and work that room.

5. Posture
Clothes are only a part of the package; as well as making sure you have some colour, structure and individual style (which you should have down now you’ve read the blog), make sure you stand up straight and maintain eye contact, which can completely change the way you interact with someone. If this is something you struggle with, imagine an invisible string at the top of your head pulling you up to the ceiling; it may sound rather trying, but practice really does make perfect and soon enough you will find yourself standing taller and straighter. A huge advantage at any networking meeting.
If you would like to contact Lauren with any more questions do feel free to check out her website, give her a call on 07798 614 441 or drop her an email on contact@laurenmanvillestyle.com

And, of course, if you would like to learn more about networking events please feel free to check out our website iwant2network.com or drop us an email on networking@iwant2network.com