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What, you don’t know what BlogHer is?  A year ago, I didn’t, either.  It turns out, there really is a time and a place for everything, and the time for (mommy) bloggers to hang out is at the original blogging conference called BlogHer.  In 2012, it’s being held in NYC, so a lot of my friends and colleagues are going, since it’s an easy drive from Philly.  I’ve been watching with amusement the emails, tweets, FB posts and blog posts posing and answering the number one question:

What should I wear to BlogHer? 

This very question drives me crazy.  As women, we get up every single day and decide what to wear.  Usually we look fabulous without even trying.  We dress our kids.  Some of you even dress your husbands.  Why does this primal cry ring out when we ladies are headed to conference, or any large gathering???  Here are the reasons that I think we go all irrational.

1.  It’s been a long time(maybe forever) since some of us were in corporate, where there may or may not have been an accepted style or even “uniform”.  Here’s mine, from back in the day.  Please excuse the dust on the shoulders.  I pretty much keep this outfit for funerals and the odd (very odd) corporate interview.  I know.

2.  We want to put our best foot forward.  If you work at home, like I do much of the time, this chance to dress to impress doesn’t come along every day.  So our confidence in our ability to be current, in fashion, and comfortable all at the same time might not be as well tuned as we’d like it to be.  I know, trust me.  While I have a closet full of wonderful clothes, the ability to pull together an outfit with great shoes and a current necklace all at the same time sometimes eludes me.

3.  We sieze this as an opportunity to freshen up our look.  All too often, though, we leave this until the last minute, risking buying or bringing something that doesn’t quite hang together. 

4.  If the gathering is something we’ve never been to before, we may honestly need help from veterans on the climate, environment, amount of walking/standing required, and the general mood of the place.

5.  There are no wardrobe rules anymore.  Ever since suits got replaced with “business casual” in the 1980’s, women have been somewhat adrift.  The goal is to be stylish but not faddish, comfortable but professional, standing out just enough to be remembered but still looking apporachable enough for networking. 

Women alone carry this burder.  My husband NEVER, EVER asks what he should wear before he travels.  Of course, today most men can grab a pair of khaki pants with a solid color “polo” or “golf” style shirt and call it a day.   Their shoe choice might be black or brown, with laces or without.  Done.

The best advice is to stay true to your own style and strive for a “professional” look, wherever you are.  My favorite definition of a “professional” look is one that maintains your style without causing anything to detract from your message.  So if feathers in your hair really explains who you are (maybe you are an avian activist or a blogger with a bird-themed logo), go with it.  If feathers in your hair will make everyone you meet think, “Whoa, what’s with that chick?” then skip it.   Here are some good picks from a blogging expert, Jo-Lynne Shane.

If you still need a visual, here are my picks.

I wore this to a professional conference earlier this year.  I always feel more polished with a jacket, but sometimes people are actually intimidated by the one chick in the room with a suit jacket on.  The cardigan is the working gal’s professional friend.  It offers the chance to bring in color, and it’s your best hedge against too warm/too cold meeting spaces.  These tops from Ann Taylor paired well with slightly more interesting than usual large check grey slacks. 

 

And comfortable shoes.

A long column dress works for me because I’m tall, it hides the fact that I’m anti-pantyhose, and a large scale pattern gives me a little boost of color.  Many of these rayon blends also pack suprisingly well and shed wrinkles, which is great for travel.

 

Add a fitted jacket, low heels, and acessories, and this is a very professional look. As a bonus, I was wearing this dress to a conference when I was almost 6 months pregnant and the cut of the jacket actually hid my bump a bit, which was something I was trying to do in that particular crowd.

And comfortable shoes.

 

For something a little more festive, I am getting daring and wearing this to an event tonight (the smaller but just as fun #PhillyHomeHer12).  It meets my criteria of always trying to wear sparklies.  I wouldn’t wear this to a standard button-down cocktail event, but tonight’s even is all gals, and way more fun than your average meet and greet, being hosted by the Firebird Grill and Towne Book Center in Collegeville.  I would feel totally comfortable wearing this to BlogHer, but not to a meeting with a major coporate client. 

And comfortable shoes.  Noticing a theme here?  Yes, these shoes from BORN are indeed comfortable even for my problem feet.

 

Remember, professional, stylish, colorful, feminine are all OK.  It really seems that the only true rule of fashion these days is to wear things that look good on you and make you feel fabulous. But, like mama always said, your best outfit always comes with a smile.

Chrissy DiAngelus of Piccadilly Arts (right) shows off her style at #PhillyHomeHer12. 

If you are pregnant, an entrepreneur, someone who works at home, or found your way here for a little practical wardrobe advice, I hope this works for you. 

If you’ve been to a conference lately, what outfit worked best for you?

 

 

 

 

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