My Spring Work Conference Packing List

I’m back on that academic conference grind this month. This time, the conference is in Florida. Humid locations always make me wonder how to dress professionally. Here’s my conference packing list and outfit ideas for spring conferences. This is a 3 day conference, too, so I’m trying to pack it all in a carry on!

Day 1:

I like to pick a “power outfit” on presentation day. For men, the obvious choice is a suit, for women, things feel ambiguous. Knowing your crowd is always best (I am NOT ABOVE browsing photos that used last years hashtag to see what people were wearing). I find that most of my conferences tend to skew business casual. For humid weather, I like to wear a dress and a blazer–the dress for outside and the blazer for really chilly conference AC. Plus, it’s Florida, so it’s nice to feel a little like you’re dressed for vacation!

I also love wide leg pants and a contrasting shirt. Is this outfit a little wild? Maybe–depends again on your crowd. At a creative conference this outfit is right at home. Here’s the shirt this outfit was inspired by, and an alternative if you’re not made of money, plus the shoes and the bag.

Also, the onlyyyy conference shoes I wear are these Frye flats. They are not super supportive but they are absolutely blister free. If you have a more supportive option I would love to hear it, though!

Day 2:

If I’m not presenting, I like to feel comfortable, smart, and mobile. These wide leg pants are nice for hot weather but still look polished, plus they have an elastic waistband. But with the matching tank top and a blazer (mine is a thrifted version of this one) they look polished. I’m clearly a fan (and still deciding between bringing the black and the about-to-be-released plum set…which I will link asap)–a matching set can be split up and worn together for at least two days without anyone noticing!

Travel:

This is the art of the half-conference half-travel day. I’ll wear my conference outfit to the airport and then swap out the shoes and blazer for sneakers and a comfy sweatshirt.

I used to not bring lounge wear but that makes hanging out at the hotel at night such a bummer! Sweats are a necessity after a day of presenting. Also, incredibly comfy shoes. I like to bring sneakers in case I want to do any exploring.

The extras:

  • Medication: Advil, Tums, and Dayquil go a long way, because there’s nothing worse that finding the pharmacy while traveling.
  • Hand sanitizer: After. every. handshake.
  • Bandaids: My shoe choices have gotten much better, but nothing is worse that limping back to the hotel due to blisters.
  • Business cards in a card case: Banged up business cards are not a good look. My case is gold cuz life is short.
  • Your presentation in triplicate: Put it in the cloud, on a flash drive, and on your laptop. Bring any converters you might need to hook up to the projector. And practice doing the presentation without the powerpoint. Because something always goes wrong with the tech.
  • Snacks: A cliff bar goes a long way when the hotel only has one coffee shop and the line is out the door with conference-goers.

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