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Dress codes: The do’s and don’ts of exhibiting

Whether attending a trade show as a visitor, or exhibitor, what you wear says a lot about you. Make sure that what you wear tells the people you meet what you want them to know, and you can’t fail to have a successful day. Here’s some hints and tips to help you look and feel your best.

Know your market

An exhibition of adventure activity providers will have a very different look and feel to it than a marketing convention. It seems simple, but knowing your market is essential in every area of branding. Want to communicate youthful professionalism, or a serious high-end luxury feel? Ensure your staff understand the vibe you are aiming for and are clear on how that translates into what they should wear on the day. Equally, if you are attending an exhibition to make connections, dressing with an awareness of what is appropriate to your industry communicates that you are well prepared, and professional.

Never knowingly underdressed

Nothing says unprofessional quicker than a scruffy appearance, so whether exhibiting or attending, whatever the dress code, ensure it is clean, smart and well presented. So you never iron a shirt? Today’s the day. Polish those shoes, make sure you’ve shaved, and put your best foot forward. You never know who you might meet.
How to dress for an exhibition

Uniformly brilliant

If your company has a uniform, especially one that is easily identifiable and works well with your stand, this can increase your presence at exhibitions. Equally, wearing your company polo shirt when attending an exhibition can break the ice and facilitate introductions, making it easier for potential connections to approach you and start those all-important conversations. Uniforms can look smart and snappy, but remember, too much of one logo can be a bad thing. Don’t have an official uniform? Deciding on a basic dress code can work just as well in creating a ‘together’ look and feel to your stand.

Stand out from the crowd

So you don’t go for the uniform approach? Don’t worry, individuality can be used to good effect too. And even if you have chosen to opt for a basic dress code, allowing staff to ‘personalise’ with a bright scarf or an eye-catching tie, can be used to good effect to make people smile and start conversations. Just keep in mind the above point about knowing your market – what might be appropriate in one setting, may not be in another, so don’t go too wild!

Comfort, but not at all costs

Once you’ve been to a few you’ll know that exhibition halls can vary from perishingly cold to swelteringly hot. Getting it wrong can be uncomfortable and distracting, whether you’re exhibiting or visiting. It’s hard to engage your most sparkling sales pitch, or make those important connections when you’re so cold you can barely feel your toes, or so hot you can’t breathe. Our advice? Plan carefully and take discreet layers. And don’t forget your feet: yes, those 3” Louboutin’s may be gorgeous, but whether standing all day on a stand or clocking up the miles around the exhibition hall, pain is never a good look.  Aim for professional but comfortable and you can’t go too far wrong.


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