What to Wear to a Professional Dinner
As you climb the corporate ladder, your professional practices and obligations will begin to shift. At some point in your career, you may be required to attend or speak at a catered event or fundraiser. These events are incredible opportunities for networking, but to make the most of these opportunities you’ll need to dress the part. Fortunately, a well-planned outfit can serve two seemingly conflicting purposes. You’ll be able to fit in with the corporate culture and demonstrate that you’re committed to keeping up the image that is expected of you. But you’ll still be able to have a little bit of personal flair that speaks to your personality and individual strengths.
What Your Outfit Says About You
The clothes you wear say a lot about your personality. In a professional setting, people will respect a can-do attitude, an ability to come up with creative ideas and the skills to work under pressure. To adequately express these ideas, you’ll want to stick to a few basics. Dress like you would for an interview. A smart skirt paired with a blouse and blazer is always an excellent choice. Another great option is a suit jacket with a dressy tank-top and black pants. For very formal events, a classic dress and sweater can be paired with modest heels to maintain a professional appearance. Your superiors are going to want to see that you can operate autonomously. Dressing professionally states that you understand the unwritten rules of business, and that you’re committed to maintaining a professional appearance in all times. In a way, you are a representative of the company you work for. Fitting in with the corporate style helps to confirm that you are a good fit within the organization.
Keep the Attention on Yourself
The outfit we detailed above is common, classic and never goes out of style. By keeping the style modest and fitting in with other professional women, you’ll be able to impress the crowd with your behavior and not just your clothing. Dressing simple keeps the attention on you, and not on the implied statements with your clothing. In these environments, your dress stands to accent your behavior, not exemplify it.
Add a Bit of Personal Flare
Although the foundation of your outfit is designed to blend in, that doesn’t meant that you can wear something that gives you a bit of individuality. The secret when picking your flare is to be subtle. A sleek, modern pair of earrings can provide a great accent to your face. If you are coming in from a cold environment, a vibrant scarf can help you make a statement when you arrive but remain subtle for the duration of the event. A classy necklace or piece of jewelry helps to keep draw attention to your face, while remaining subtle and professional.
Anytime you’re dressing for a work function, remember that the culture of your office should dictate your behavior. While this guide is representative of the modern corporate environment, many companies attempt to break the mold and stand out from the crowd. If you’re new to a company, don’t be afraid to contact fellow co-workers and find out how they are going to dress. Taking the time to communicate with co-workers beforehand can save an embarrassing scenario down the road.