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Just as you wear one outfit to exercise, a different one to work, and another to enjoy a nightclub, you must consider what your team will be doing while on-site to choose the most appropriate outfits. Take into account any necessary booth assembly/tear-down, scheduled meetings, etc.


In all honesty, I like sparkles as much as the next girl but Halloween is over and, exhibitors, your clothing choices (including those of any added assistants within your booth) do impact how you are perceived by potential clients on the trade show floor.

Not sure about the impact you’re making? Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

Is the attire selected in line with your company’s carefully constructed image?

Just like booth design and marketing materials, your attire contributes to the industry’s perception of your company as a whole. Whether your company is traditional or trendy, creative or structured, big or small, your clothing choices will contribute to the way in which you are perceived. Reinforce that preferred image by keeping your company’s personality in mind as you select your attire.

Is your team’s attire appropriate for the setting within which it will be worn?

Most professionals would agree that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed but I would also add that, to remain approachable, it is important to keep the gap between these two extremes narrow. Attendees will feel more comfortable interacting with your team members if they appear to be a part of the same community by conforming to the accepted industry norms, even with respect to clothing choices. When you are planning your team’s attire, consider the dress code for the event as well as your past experience as member of the organization and adjust your attire options accordingly.

Will your team’s attire accommodate the activities in which they must engage?

Just as you wear one outfit to exercise, a different one to work, and another to enjoy a nightclub, you must consider what your team will be doing while on-site to choose the most appropriate outfits. Take into account any necessary booth assembly/tear-down, scheduled meetings, presentations, or other activities to ensure that the selected attire is practical (sky high heels won’t last when standing for long show hours and layers are key to accommodate unpredictable exhibit hall temperature changes).

Is your staff fully comfortable in the attire you have selected for them?

If your staff is forced to wear something that makes them feel self-conscious (due to fit), unprofessional (due to style), or simply uncomfortable (for whatever reason), that will show – no matter how much you encourage them to hide it. Help your staff do their best by asking for their input in the attire you select. Also, be sure to obtain accurate sizes and order items early in case alterations or exchanges are required.

Above all, you must ask yourself, is the trade show attire you have chosen helping you move closer to your goals or is it hindering your progress?

This first impression (based on your clothing choices) not only affects your visitors’ interest in talking to you, but also their ability to trust you on a professional level and their likelihood of buying from your company. Use the questions above to guide your trade show attire decisions or contact a trusted advisor to help you weigh the available options.

About the author

Robyn Davis

Robyn Davis

Robyn Davis was raised by self-employed parents, learning the ins and outs of business…

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