I have to get something off my chest. Something that has been plaguing me for over a year. It happened in May of 2011 at my local chapter’s conference where I was happily helping out with the editor/ agents appointments. Through out the day I saw dozens and dozens of writers nervously awaiting their appointments. That day was a total blur for me and I can barely remember all the people I saw. But one person unwillingly stuck in my mind.I don’t remember her name or what genre she wrote. But I do remember what she looked like clearly.
And it was because she wasn’t wearing a bra. I know. I know. Who the hell does that nowadays? But apparently this unfortunate person didn’t think to put one on that day before she left the house, deciding to let her not so little girls swing free. And to make it worse she wore a neon green fuzzy sweater and jeans to her pitch sessions. I am not making this up to be entertaining. This girl, no, woman dressed like that that day.
So what’s the big deal? Well, I’ll tell you. Conferences are the places where you network. That means meeting and connecting with new people. That means making a lasting impression. Editors and agents are the people a lot of writers want to impress. They can help make your dreams come true. Doesn’t it make sense to dress to impress? The last thing you want to be known as is the writer who didn’t wear a bra.
I’m no expert but I do love to get dressed for any occasion. So I have compiled a simple list of things that are more do’s than don’ts.
What you should wear to a conference when you are pitching…
1. Always wear a bra. Always. Always!
2. Some people would suggest wearing what you would to a job interview but I disagree.No suits. It’s okay to show your personality a little, because that can reflect your writing style. You like bright pink? Wear bright pink. Just keep it classy folks and try not to look like a bottle of Pepto.
3. Jeans–I would usually say this is a definite no. Women have so many choices out there, that they can come up with something else without much thought. But I have seen guys rock a pair of dark denmin jeans, a vee neck and a blazer, and look put together and hot. But no sneakers!
4. This kind of goes with number one but keep your girls fairly hidden. You’re pitching your book not going on a date. It’s not the right time to put the ladies on display. And on the opposite side don’t dress like a schlub. Baggy and ill-fitting are just as unattractive as tight and revealing.
5. Try to wear comfortable shoes. I personally think most comfy shoes are not fabulous but you will be on your feet a lot and you don’t want to end up looking like a scene from Thriller by the end of the day.
6. No Hawaiian shirts. Seriously unless you’re in Hawaii, or you’re Jimmy Buffett, or eighty, find something else to wear. A polo shirt works nicely.
7. Don’t look like the wait staff. Meaning black pants and a plain white top. Or khakis and a plain white top. It’s boring.
8. Don’t wear distracting stuff on your head. In my personal life I’m a fan of pretty hair accessories, head bands, crystal encrusted hair pins, flowers, but they can be distracting especially when you are trying to have a conversation with somebody. (Or is it just the ADD in me?)
9. Also, if you have facial piercings keep those bad boys to a minimum. Tongue piercings are distracting. (And a little eww if you ask me. I’ve seen two friends get it done and… Shudder)
10. And finally keep your makeup clean and simple. You are not going to a night club, and if you pitch at the end of the day you don’t want to look like a gooey mess.
It’s scientifically proven that people are attracted to pretty people. Of course your writing needs to be up to snuff to get an editor or agent to sign you, but it can’t hurt to give yourself a boost in the right direction by looking great. You want to be a successful best-selling author, then dress like one.
And I have to give a little shout out to author Sara Humprheys who looks great and well put together from head to toe in every picture and at every conference. And Kristan Higgins who always has fabulous shoes and perfectly painted nails.
Oh and one more thing CTRWA is throwing FICTION FEST and there is still room left. You can register by clicking the Fiction Fest above.
So what do you think? Have any fashion advice to give? Disagree with me? Love conferences? Any and all comments are welcome.