The Dos and Don'ts of Trade Show Style
When I thought of this as the topic for my premiere blog, it was the morning of my first full day in Vegas for The PPAI Expo. The exhibits did not open until the next day, but I was attending education sessions. I remember sitting in my first session, admittedly a little smug, thinking, "Why is everyone in sneakers and jeans?"
Oh, did I learn.
At the end of every day, I was yearning to put on sweats and climb into bed (around 8 p.m.). I can't say I wasn't warned. "Bring comfortable shoes" was among the first bits of advice I received before venturing on my novice tradeshow trip. Shoes were not the only notable wearables at the show. The ensembles of conventionites ranged from jeans and t-shirts to heels and miniskirts. My trials in convention fashion inspired me to outline some of the benefits and detriments of showroom style.
Many benefits go along with branded apparel. You and your coworkers look like a team; finding each other in a crowd is easy and it brands your logo into the minds of thousands of distributor attendees. Well there really is no downside is there? It's like wearing your catalog on your back!
Business casual is usually a safe bet at an event like The PPAI Expo. You look professional, put-together and it transitions easily from day to night. A difficulty with corporate apparel is footwear. A suit and sneakers might fly on Justin Timberlake, but that fashion statement does not translate to the real world. Dress shoes are only comfortable for so long, but, honestly, any shoe will hurt in the showrooms so just bring band-aids, insoles and a positive attitude.
It comes as no surprise that people love jeans. They are easy, versatile and vast in style options. Plus, with the invention of jeggings (jean leggings for those of you not in the know), there is literally nothing more comfortable. The worry with denim is that it cannot always take you from daytime show-trolling to nighttime sales-pitching. Yet, in my surveillance of The PPAI Expo, I found that people dressed their denim nicely. In many ways, wearing denim showed that you were serious about the industry. I heard one woman joke that you could tell who was new at the show because they were not wearing jeans and sneakers.