Millennials know that networking is a necessary evil in getting ahead in the workplace. It’s a crucial tool for building new relationships and forging connections with influential industry members – and it’s also incredibly awkward. It’s a dance where everyone knows the steps, but still fumbles with the footing. We know to anticipate small talk, but that doesn’t make it less boring; we know we can join in laughter shared among any group of strangers, but that doesn’t make it feel less forced.
Common interests are a saving grace when they finally make themselves known. From European vacations to number one sports teams and favorite local vendors, having a jumping off point for conversation not only makes the back of forth of dialogue easier, but also makes you a more memorable acquaintance and allows you to speak more confidently. Unfortunately, it usually takes a few minutes of chatting about the weather to uncover these commonalities. So why not make your interests more visible using attire as a tool? Observe:
If you’re into branded labels, you’re likely in good company. What better place to get your new Jimmy Choo’s noticed than at a social gathering for the rich and influential? Did you recently splurge on a new Dooney & Bourke clutch from Dillard’s? Put it to good use! Because really, which would you rather hear: “Hi, I’m Courtney,” or “Oh my gosh, is that MARC?!”
Just because the dress code is business, doesn’t mean your outfit has to be conservative. After all, you want to stand out – albeit in a positive way - to gain the attention of Very Important People, ensuring that your name carries more weight than the rest of those from the stack of business cards they’ll be taking home. Give your new acquaintances something about your outfit that they can take note of on the back of your card. For example, rock a brightly patterned top or dress, or accessorize with a real standout piece – something that can’t be ignored, like these Anuschka handbags from ShopHQ.
Make it Obvious
Believe it or not, it is possible to tout your hobbies and interests while dressing to impress. If your weeknight television show is in the middle of a tumultuous season, a custom piece of jewelry with a visual representation of the series is a great way to initiate an impassioned conversation on the subject. Think Daryl Dixon’s bow and arrow on a necklace, or Sherlock-inspired earrings. Accessories don’t have to include modern and vintage pop culture references, though. You can find charms and personalized pieces that include everything from dance shoes and sewing machines to baking accessories and musical instruments – each stylishly dainty and the perfect point of reference when conversation reaches an awkward lull.
It’s a fun challenge to use your wardrobe as a weapon against pregnant pauses and small talk! Whether it’s a one-of-a-kind vintage jewelry piece, cool hand-me-down blouse or awe-inspiring handbag, it’s bound to be commented on in a room full of people desperately searching for a conversation starter.
What does your standard dress for networking events consist of? Share your go-to outfits and accessories in the comments!
This guest post was written by Samantha Clark.
To shop the items in the outfits pictured above, check out the Polyvore set here.
Thanks for the stylish tips, Samantha!