Dress To Impress When Networking

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Posted by The Editors on August 3, 2011

Last night, some of us here at WetFeet attended the Intern Queen Party in New York City that we sponsored. The scene buzzed with the chatter of interns eager to impress—most notably with their dress.

Heels were high, skirts were higher, and colors and patterns were bold. Necklaces that must have weighed three pounds adorned many necks. Men erred on the conservative side, but palm tree-embroidered shorts, hats, and high-top sneakers made an appearance.

This got me thinking: What should one wear to an event like this? The point of the event was to network, so at first, it seemed intuitive to wear what you would to a career fair. But this wasn’t a formal networking event for consultants and investment bankers—hell, Us Weekly and Oscar de la Renta staffers were on the speaker panel. And I should’ve known that pencil skirts and button-ups wouldn’t be the norm when I got the invite with “party” in its title. Still, I was shocked to see attendees in jeggings and one-shouldered Betsy Johnson dresses.

Ladies and gentlemen, know your audience.

When attending an event with the potential for meeting recruiters, steer clear of the sneakers and strappy stilettos. Show your personal style without blowing your professionalism. In short, don’t approach an internship program sponsor wearing what you would to the club Saturday night.

Ladies, if you’re hoping a networking event will turn into a fun night out at the bar (a normal expectation when you put hundreds of interns and a DJ in the same room), wear a cute blazer over your dress and take it off when you leave. Men, think twice before donning shorts to a professional event.

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