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What to Wear While Networking in Warm Weather

As warm weather hits, we have a popular advice topic that comes up between friends, candidates, clients and fellow networkers. What to wear during warm weather while networking? You want to look professional and appropriate without being too casual or overdressed. Your normal pieces may be to heavy or uncomfortable, especially if you are going in/out of areas with air conditioning or no air conditioning. Keep in mind, even if you will be inside, more people can make the air warmer and you may be standing a while. Let’s look at a few options that can keep you cool and comfortable so you can focus on the event and discover new people to meet.

Replace your tailored and fitted items for loose fit pieces, think non-stick, airy items that flow and feel light. Start with lightweight fabrics such as cottons, linens, and other natural fibers such as hemp, seersucker and silk. Avoid fabrics that don’t breathe easy such and nylon and polyester, put away the lovely wool and cashmere for now. Choose light colors when possible, dark colors can attract heat. If you are in a pinch and in between laundry days, it’s okay to mix black or darker pieces. If you can, pair it with a light piece or if it’s an all-black dress or jumpsuit, add a light-colored accessory.

Think easy pieces: preference should be sleeveless, cropped, or crepes such as a sleeveless top or dress and wide legged pant, items that flow or fit loose. Bonus if the piece has pockets for business cards or lip balm.

Cotton collared shirts and easy, pretty blouses can be found in droves at & Other Stories, Vince, H&M and Zara. Add a tank top if items are too sheer.

Cotton dresses that fit loose with pockets and have a bit of style can be found at Liverpool Los Angeles.

Crop pants, relaxed culottes, jumpsuits with and a light weight crepe jacket if you need a little coverage can be found at  M.M.LaFleur. They have a great selection under New Arrivals or have fun perusing their Second Act & Archives.

For casual A-line skirts you can find some at Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Dillard's - including Dillard's exclusives with a good range of brands online.

Best blazer go-to try pieces similar to those from Mango, Land’s End, Madewell, Target A New Day and Allegra K lines, & Other Stories. Liverpool Los Angeles has a few good options including boyfriend blazers and a Twill Blazer in several colors and prints.

Wear alone vests and linen waist coats (vests) can be found at Mango as well as & Other Stories.

Satin shirred dresses like those found at & Other Stories, Oak and Fort, M.M. LaFleur.

Shoes & mules are always a fun mix because you can find colorful flats in many styles or low heels just about anywhere. It has become acceptable and popular to wear cool sneakers or trainers just about any time, so if they are in good condition, have at it. Stay away from casual flip-flop style shoes, avoid high heels. You want to be able to walk around on any surface inside or outdoors and you don’t want to be clicking around as the stand out clacker.

The key here is to pre-plan what you are wearing, if you can, add an interesting design element or a pop of color. A unique accessory can be a fun way to be remembered and a great conversation starter. You probably have many good options in your closet.  First impressions count, you want to be dressed appropriately, yet comfortable to enjoy the event. For tips on networking, making an elevator pitch and a sample networking introduction, see our brief article  “Network Like a Pro” here. Photo taken at & Other Stories, London.


Article written by Lisa Hollister


About the Author / Writer

Lisa Hollister, PHR is the Founder of Talent Suede; HR consulting and Writer for the apparel industry and host of networking events. She brings 16 years HR & fashion industry experience, specializing in HR solutions, Executive Search and informative articles for the fashion industry. When not working, Lisa is networking in the industry, attends fashion markets at her local NYC- Dover Street Market and travels to other markets such as Dover in London and trade Shows such as Magic, ReMode, Agenda and Couterie to expand her network, resources and bring you up-to-date industry information.

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