Living in a new city means I am putting myself out there meeting new people a lot these days. When I recently got invited to a creative networking event, I found myself faced with the question of what the heck am I supposed to wear?! Who knows who you might meet at these types of events – a new friend, a creative partner with a cool project you’d like to work on, your next boss? You never know, but I do believe it is so important to put your best foot forward when attending a stranger-filled meeting like a networking event. And the best way to do this? Dress well. In fact, dress better (but not too much better) than everyone else. 

This morning I read an article that really spoke my language on Forbes called, Why You Should Dress 25% Better than Everyone in the Office. This one principle is how I think everyone should approach their own personal style and professional image. WHY?! In short, and as the article suggests, “…you’ll communicate confidence, a commanding presence. You’re telegraphing that you’re in charge.”

Here’s my suggestion: where a colorful dress and tie it together with coordinated accessories. The dress will demonstrate confidence – because it takes guts to wear color – and the coordinated accessories will ground the look and make you look organized – because they will all match(ish). People will notice you, be intrigued by the confident person who cared to get dressed, and will want to talk to you to know more. This is networking. This is the whole point.

As for my details, I rented this Kate Spade color block dress via my Rent the Runway unlimited monthly subscription. Then I reached for my patent heels, matching vintage bag and a playful bow belt. Don’t forget to do your hair, and don’t overdo it on the jewelry. In fact, I skipped jewelry all together except for my engagement ring given my accessories were so shiny. Next time, I might opt for a pair of  simple stud earrings, though. Simple makeup and a light lipstick will do. The goal is to invite, not intimidate. And don’t forget to smile! I’m not smiling here for the dramatic blogger effect, but in realtime, nothing disarms a stranger like a big ‘Hello’ plus a smile. 

P.S. I’ve made a few color block dress suggestions beyond this one in the image list below for your inspiration.

P.P.S. If you are not a dress person, then I recommend you wear a coordinated casual cropped pant and sleeveless blazer combo. Read my post about tomboy workwear here to see EXACTLY what I mean.

Dress: Kate Spade (via Rent the Runway) // Belt: my own (similar here) // Shoes: Maiden Lane (almost identical here) // Sunglasses: Silvano c/o // Handbag: vintage, my own (similar here)