How to Dress for a Conference with just 9 Pieces

I promised you guys I'd do another post on relaxed professional dressing for conferences as I'm leaving on my first conference this Thursday, so here I am! I always make good on my promises.

I guess I'm not the only one who finds it challenging to style outfits that are at once

- feminine
- not too sexy
- youthful
- professional
- and comfortable

But I did my best, and here are the nine pieces that will accompany me on my trip to the Royal Holloway university this week.

easy conference style nine pieces professional dressing

  1. printed Selected Shila t-shirt
  2. Zign sandals
  3. pink sleeveless H&M blouse
  4. Nike Roshe Runs
  5. printed Selected Shila pencil skirt
  6. Pimkie blazer
  7. white sleeveless H&M blouse
  8. Pimkie trousers
  9. snakeskin H&M flats

You have to keep in mind that I focused on finding outfits that would work with the 22-23°C weather forecast. I'm definitely not the type of person who can comfortably wear tights or denim when the temperatures are summery, so I had to accommodate myself by picking light fabrics and sleeveless tops that still covered me enough to feel professional. Secondly, I wanted to make sure that every piece could be paired with everything else. 

Also, I had to work with the fact that I'd be doing a lot of walking on my first and final day as these would include travelling towards the conference and of course back home. I really do have very sensitive feet, and even if I find comfortable ballet flats, they are never comfortable enough to see me through a full day of travel without killing my feet (plantar fasciitis right here :(). This basically meant I had to incorporate my Nike Roshe Runs, even though they would not be my number one pick for a professional event. 

The sandals are a safe plan B option for when I do wear my snakeskin flats, because the sandals are light and thin and don't rub my skin anywhere. I'll be carrying them in my bag to whip out in case of emergency.

Less talk, more pictures! This is how I'd wear my mini wardrobe. I included some pics with the on and off blazer to demonstrate how much of a difference a blazer can make to professionalize an outfit.

easy conference style professional dressing

Since two out of my three footwear options are rather casual, I compensated by styling my hair a bit more conservatively (half up, will be neater during the actual conference) and by wearing a blazer. A lot of my older, serious female colleagues wear sandals to our office, so I sort of feel like they are acceptable in my field of work. The thing is, I think you can often get away with wearing casual-feeling pieces as long as your whole outfit looks like you take the situation seriously, like you made an effort and like you respect your conversational partner. 

A pair of sandals makes a very different statement if they are made from a nice material and if you pair them with a sheath dress versus when they are rubber flip-flops with a band t-shirt and denim shorts. Also, make sure your toenails are clean and well maintained! I painted them nude because I like how finished yet understated that looks. I don't want people to be staring at my (lack of) pedicure.

Not pictured, but I'm also bringing some accessories to finish these outfits since a necklace and a watch wouldn't go amiss here, and of course I'm taking a scarf and some kind of cardigan or long sleeve shirt in case the air conditioning is kicking my ass.

So! What do you think? I feel like I succeeded at bringing a sort of youthful, feminine, European minimalist sort of conference-wear here.


  1. geslaagd! En hoera voor blazers! :D

  2. This was very interesting to me - all fashion bloggers seem to live off beauty products alone so no one talks about actual day-to-day work dressing! My job now has a dresscode and I hate buying things I don't rally like, but I'm also not great at practical dressing. I wear roche runs too for the walk to work!

  3. p.s. it's selina from flying saucer :)

  4. oh yeah work wear definitely kills creativity. I found two great blogs that showcase professional dressing while still being very aspirational, maybe they'll inspire you too?

    My own office luckily doesn't have a real dresscode, but I still feel like some things are "appropriate" while others are not. And going to a conference for the first time definitely makes me feel like I should dress the part!

  5. I really like the pink blouse & printed skirt-combination! :) Good luck on your first conference!

  6. Heel erg leuke outfits allemaal! :)

  7. Love the selection you've made! Great point about being to wear less formal shoes if the overall look is professional. An excellent tip, especially for a flat shoe devotee like myself! Thanks for sharing, good luck at the conference :-)

  8. Great combo's, dear! Kill 'em :)

  9. Annebeth, you did such a great job! All of these looks are exactly what you were going for-polished yet still young and professional. This was a really helpful post, I'll keep this post in mind for the future. And I am really thinking I need a pair of Nike Roshe runs ;) My feet are also very sensitive so if those shoes are as great as you say, I think I need a pair for myself!