If you’ve ever found yourself at a corporate networking event having an awkward conversation, we feel your pain. There are just a few taboo topics that create tension so thick, not even an open bar can lighten the mood. Here’s a list of the most important things to not talk about at your next cocktail party.
What to Wear at a Corporate Event
Sometimes, it’s a tough call deciding what to wear at a corporate event. You want to dress to impress if there are VIPs there, but still remain comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing. In the pictures below, our founders are sporting outfits on two different ends of the spectrum. Depending on the event, both could be considered appropriate.
The first step in determining what to wear to a corporate event, is getting the lowdown on dress codes. Below we describe three most common dress codes and offer some of our best advice to help you choose what to wear at your next corporate event.
Types of event attire
Business attire – A suit (with our without a tie) for men and knee length dresses or skirts for women with blouses and closed toe shoes.
Business casual – It can be difficult to identify what qualifies as business casual. In general, men should wear trousers or khakis with a collared shirt. Women’s “business casual” is similar to “business attire,” they should wear trousers or knee length skirts or dresses with a blouse or collared shirt. Think J. Crew.
Black tie – Black tie attire will usually be indicated on the invitation. Men should wear traditional tuxedos. If you want the full details (including fabric) of what black tie means, check out the Vanity Fair’s guide to black tie attire. Women should wear dresses that are knee length or longer. Long dresses are more formal but shorter dresses are also acceptable.
Tips for attire at corporate events
Read the invitation – The invitation will often indicate how formal the event is and what type of attire should be worn.
Consider your host and the crowd – If you know your host well or other people attending the event, you may have an idea of how they usually dress. For example, if you know the people attending usually dress sharp…dress the part. It’s usually better to “error” on the side of too dressed up than underdressed.
Research – Once you get the invite, you’ll know where the event is taking place. Find out how upscale or casual the place by calling the venue or looking online. You can also ask the host or other people attending.
Keep extra stuff – You never know when you’ll be dragged into a last minute event or when you suddenly remember about a private dinner event at noon. At Kapow, we dress pretty casual…but our closet is fully stocked. Blazers, suit jackets, extra pants, button up shirts, heels, loafers…you name it. Be ready to go when needed. Another trick for the ladies is to add a statement necklace to your wardrobe to remain professional during the day but spice up your outfit a bit for an evening event.
If you’re not sure if it’s appropriate…it probably isn’t – Although client events are often in the evening and at hot places in the city, it’s still important to dress professionally. Save that backless dress for a weekend out with the girls.
Follow these tips and you’ll be at ease when planning your attire for your next event. And, if the sun’s beating down, check out our handy guide to summer dressing for corporate events. Now that you know how to look good at your next corporate event, start browsing our selection of 1000s of event ideas.
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