Trade Show Dress Code
Have you booked to exhibit at a trade show and are wondering what to wear? If it is your first time exhibiting, figuring out the dress code can be a little daunting. You are representing your company so need to give the right impression. Remember, you are selling the whole concept of your brand, not just your products.
Your staff’s attire is crucial to the appearance of your stand. Poorly dressed staff will ruin the look. The way you dress depends on the type of trade show you are attending but how you look is a key part of your overall presentation, so business requirements need to take precedence over individuality.
If you are a visitor to a trade show your main priority should be comfort. Attending a trade show means a long day on your feet so wear comfortable clothing and shoes. New shoes or high heels are probably not a good idea. Make sure you plan for variable temperatures with several layers, you may find that some parts of the hall are warm and others cool.
The clothes you choose will depend on the type of trade show it is. B2B trade shows are different from B2C ones.
B2B Trade Shows
At a B2B trade show you will be trying to attract other business professionals so smart business dress is the best approach to take. You will want to be approachable but still professional. It’s important to look presentable so either a suit or chinos and jacket for men and a suit, dress or trousers and jacket for women. Women should not wear clothes that are too tight or revealing as this will give the wrong impression. How you look will reflect on your business, so you need to give it some thought. You might want to coordinate colours in staff for a uniform look. But avoid anything too bright or loud.
Comfort is important as you will be standing all day so avoid clothing that is tight. A trade show is not the place for new shoes and heels should be low. Men should wear polished leather shoes, and women, conservative coloured shoes. All clothing should be clean and ironed. A general rule is don’t wear anything you wouldn’t wear to a meeting with your manager, it’s important to create a good first impression.
Keep jewellery subtle and make sure tattoos are covered. Visible body piercings should also be removed. Name badges are a good idea as they will make staff more accessible and potentially memorable.
Taking a pair of comfortable shoes that you can change into before and after the show and during breaks can be a good idea. You will really appreciate them at the end of a long day, walking back to your hotel.
B2C Trade Shows
B2C trade shows are generally more informal than B2B shows so formal business attire may not be required. It can create a good impression if all your staff are in matching branded polo shirts or uniforms. This will give your brand visibility across the trade floor. But they then need to remember that they are representing the company at all times, not just on the stand, but during breaks too.
Dress for the Event
Different styles of clothing will be appropriate for different events. If it is a sports event then wearing a suit will make you look out of place, smart sportswear will be more suitable. Likewise, if it is a business event, smart business attire will be best. If you are attending an event like Comic Con you may want to dress as a comic book character to draw attention.
It’s worth packing a few essentials for the day like deodorant, mints, hairbrush and make-up. You want to make sure you are presentable for the whole day. Make sure you shower each day and wear a clean shirt. Walking around exhibition halls can build up a sweat.
To conclude, always bear in mind when dressing for a trade show that you are representing your company and brand. A trade show is not the place to show off personal flair, you need to be presentable and well-groomed. If in doubt, smart business attire will always be acceptable. But you may want to create a uniform look for your staff by providing branded tops, just don’t go overboard as this can look tacky.