3.07.2007

What to wear to a conference in NYC in April

Dear Miss Snark,
I just signed up for my first Writers' Conference (in NYC) and am terrified about making a good impression--what do writers generally wear to these sort of things?


This is like visiting the reptile house. They're as afraid of you as you are of them. Honest.

First, this is New York in April. It's going to be wet and cold. And we walk everywhere so bring your brolly and your walking shoes. This is NOT the day to break in new sneaks. Bring your comfy ones. Every woman in New York carries a purse and a bag. The bag has our shoes. We change on the street, in the elevator or under our desks.

Second, at this particular writing conference you'll be up and down marble stairs all day long. This is NOT the day for a business suit or a skirt. Wear pants. And comfy ones. And sturdy ones. This is not the day for delicate silk. This is a dirty town and this conference is in a building with a library and a school, so the dust and general grime is a fact of life. In fact, I'm there at least once a month and I don't even think about it till I look at my mittens and wonder what the HELL I grabbed onto.

No one is expecting you to turn up in business casual. Jeans and sweater will do just fine. If your t-shirt just happens to say "I heart Killer Yapp"













well, so much the better.

And it's not your clothes that will impress us. It's your calm confidence, your cheerful smile, and that you laugh at our jokes when you attend a panel.

Relax, have fun, and don't forget that MoMA (53rd Street @Fifth Ave) is just a few blocks away. And Grand Central (42nd and Mad Ave) is still one of the most amazing places to see in NYC. (Thank you eternally to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who spearheaded the drive to save the building as a national landmark).


(love the art-thanks Stuart!)

17 comments:

LadyBronco said...

Uh, what the hell is a brolly??

I have never heard that term used in my life.

Dave said...

It's what Mary Poppins floated under.
A Brolly!

Dave said...

It's a modern jazz opera by Michel Legrand - "The Brolly's of Cherbourg"

LadyBronco said...

ahhhhh...

Thanks Dave!

Anonymous said...

Dunno how other lit types feel about it, but when I was in NYC a few weeks ago for business, I went into the NY public library for the first time ever and really enjoyed it. Incredible architecture, very cool Japanese book art exhibit.

Anonymous said...

British slang for umbrella. :)

Anonymous said...

What're your thoughts on handing out namecards, and would one of these help any?

Brady Westwater said...

And if any of you think the climate in April sounds a little challenging, ask Miss Snark what walking around Mahnhattan in August is like...

Anonymous said...

I've only attended writers conferences on the west coast. Interesting to hear that NYC is more casual.

All the conferences I have attended have at least one "more formal" event in the evening.

They are lots of fun!

Kit Whitfield said...

Go with whatever you feel good in. If your outfit is uncomfortable, or makes you feel self-conscious, it'll be an unwelcome distraction. Pick something pleasant to wear that makes you feel attractive, and you'll be fine. Writers dress all over the place anyway.

kitty said...

Who'll be the first to offer I HEART MISS SNARK! sweatshirts?

caramaena said...

--
If your t-shirt just happens to say "I heart Killer Yapp" well, so much the better.
--

I'm now wondering if someone will actually get a tshirt made and wear it...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Miss Snark! That is really useful advice. See, those of us living in other parts of the country are highly intimidated by the fashions in the 212. I blame Sarah Jessica Parker for this.

bran fan said...

I go to a conference or two a year because I enjoy networking with other writers. Most of the conferences I attend are in the midwest. I typically wear nice black pants and either a sweater or a dress shirt. Understated jewelry. Black shoes, not sneakers. I wear it because it looks good and makes me feel confident. I am a woman, but I suppose similar advice would apply to men. I've seen most of them in plain khaki pants and polo shirts and they look fine. I've seen people in jeans at conferences. It doesn't leave a good impression. I've seen men in business suits, which simply leaves the impression that they are trying way, way too hard. Like Miss Snark says, you want to project calm confidence. For me, that is middle-of-the-road attire.

John B said...

I went to a conference, and at one of the meals, someone actually told me I intimidated them because I looked too 'writerly.'-clunky glasses, goatee, etc. Now this happens to be just how I look, and I felt like the least talented and/or qualified person to be there, so there is definitely some truth to what Miss Snark said about everybody being just as afraid of you.

Elektra said...

Anonymous, I'm having some business cards made up (they're really cheap, $8 for 100, shipping included) in case any agents or editors ask for contact info. Miss Snark has, I think, said in the past that this makes a good impression--though that's when the agent specifically asked for contact info, and not when the author just randomly handed her a card.

Anonymous said...

This is like visiting the reptile house. They're as afraid of you as you are of them.

This is the funniest line I have heard in years. And god, is it true. It will remember it from now on everytime I go to one of these things or do a panel. Forget imaginging everyone naked. Think of them as warty geckos and slimey snakes...