Conference Clothes- what to wear?


Hi Everyone,

Im off to a conference in May, my first one and i was wondering what people wear at conferences? Im presenting a poster so will try to look smart on that day but i was wondering if people tend to go dressed smartly or whether people go casual in jeans etc?
Hope you can help. Having a bit of a panic


For day long or a couple of day conferences I pretty much always go smart
For week long ones, I would just wear what you normally wear, but obviously smart at your poster session and at conference dinners etc.

this might depend on your field, but for science I tend to find most folk just wear normal clothes i.e. jeans and t-shirts during the day

Hope this helps



This may just be "me", but I think if you are wanting to make a professional impression, it would be important to be smartly dressed through out. You never know who you might meet in a casual conversation, during coffee or otherwise, and I think its important to make an impression of being "professional" in your approach to your research, albeit you are a student.


I see a mix of clothing at conferences, from shirt and tie and jacket and suit, to jeans, all at the same one. I myself tend to dress as I would if I was going to work ( or research during the day at the university) in a skirt, tights, sensible shoes, etc, in conservative colours of black, grey, navy blue or white, and a conservative shirt or blouse ( long sleeves, buttoned up). That said, each field has its own rules, but as a student trying to get your foot on the bottom rung of the ladder, I think you will not go wrong by being smartly dressed but you might go wrong by wearing jeans.


I do agree, you never know who you might meet (possible future employers), but I still think that as long as you are well dressed in jeans and not scruffy then its still fine for the day time events - this is just my experience and opinion-
Certainly a lot of the older generation do stick to Khakis and polo shirts etc, or suits but I'd say thats pretty rare (in science, in my experience)
But I agree with Olivia its harder to make a bad impression if you are well dressed


I tend to find the more important someone is the 'scruffier' they can get away with dressing. Accordingly, I'm a suit and tie man myself.


lol ;)


It depends on your subject. You'd be hard pushed to find a t-shirt and jeans dress code at a law or business conference. If it's in a hot country - then it's likely to be smart-casual clothing eg. polo shirt, chinos etc, linen suits etc no matter what the subject area. Over here, it's virtually always formal suits for business/law conferences.

Try contacting the conference organisers...


At some of the conferences I have attended (ecology/biology subject) you would stand out a mile in a suit. Jeans and a t-shirt/wooly knits seem to be the way, even for presenters, it's very subject dependent


Some conferences are also more formal perhaps if there is an event on in the evening--generally the conference programme indicates the level of dress, i.e. smart casual, etc. Although what is smart or business casual is in itself a matter of definition. You might want to take a range of clothing, and judge for yourself what seems to be appropriate, such as a pair of decent jeans, something a bit smarter, and then you have the choice. I can see it would be horrible to be the only person in a suit when everyone else is in jeans...


It's easier for women, I think, because I just wear a skirt if I'm unsure. To play it safe, if I was a man, I'd wear something like cords or chinos and a collared shirt. At the conferences I've been to (arts subjects...) you'd look way overdressed in a suit, and probably a bit overdressed in a tie, especially in summer weather.


hehe, first you need to relax.. just wear the dress you wear for presentation in your department. too much thinking about formality may distract you and make you nervous. it always helps to speak confidently. of course, if possible, wear formal dress but not overdo that..