What to wear to an academic conference

Academic conferences are a great way to meet other researchers, hear about exciting new findings and developments in your field, and learn about the latest work that’s being done on your topic. And while you don’t need to wear your fanciest outfit or one of your best outfits to an academic conference, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when it comes to choosing what to wear.

The first thing is comfort. You’re going to be sitting in sessions for hours at a time, so make sure that whatever you wear isn’t going to make you uncomfortable. For example, if you’re wearing high heels, make sure that they’re comfortable enough for long periods of standing or walking. You should also consider whether or not you’ll need accessorize with jewelry or scarves (if so) and make sure those items are easily accessible without being too heavy or bulky.

The second thing is professionalism. While it’s not necessary (or even expected) for academics to dress up when attending an academic conference, it is important that they look professional. This doesn’t mean that they should wear suits or ties—rather, they should make sure their clothes are clean, ironed if necessary, and fit well

Attending Scientific Conferences - Sometimes You Can Be Overdressed |  Office of Undergraduate Research

What to wear to an academic conference

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what to wear to an academic conference. From what to wear under your clothes to how much jewelry is appropriate, we’ll give you the lowdown on how to dress professionally without looking stuffy or boring.

The best thing about academic conferences is that the people who attend them are all there for the same reason: to learn. No one is there to impress anyone else, and no one is there to look like they’re having a good time. They’re just there to learn and share their knowledge with others.

So what should you wear? Well, you want to make sure your clothes aren’t distracting from the point of the conference—the content. You don’t want to draw attention away from what’s being presented because of how you look or what you’re wearing.

If you’re going to an academic conference, here are some tips for what not to wear:

1) Don’t wear anything too tight or revealing

2) Don’t wear bright colors (unless it’s part of your job)

3) Don’t wear flashy jewelry or accessories

Having a great outfit may seem like an unnecessary detail to some, but it’s actually pretty important. When you’re presenting a paper or giving a speech, you don’t want to be distracted by how you look—you want to focus on your content. That’s where we come in!

We’ve put together this guide for what to wear when you’re going to an academic conference. We’ll talk about the different types of conferences, and give you some tips on what type of clothing will work best for each one.

If you’re going to an academic conference, there are a few things you should know about what to wear. No matter what your field is, there are some things that are common sense and others that can be a little more tricky. We’ve put together a list of the most important do’s and don’ts for not only looking professional at an academic conference, but also making sure that you feel comfortable and confident in your appearance.

The dress code in most academic events (conferences included) is often called “academic casual”, and is not very strict. If you want to be sure to avoid any gaffe, just stay away from the short pants and T-shirts (overly casual), as well as full suits and ties

For women, it can be a bit of a challenge to know what to wear to an academic conference. In some disciplines, it would be expected for everyone to wear a suit, but for most academic conferences a business-casual look is appropriate. But what does that mean in practical terms? Here’s our advice on picking a conference outfit.

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what should women wear for academic conferences?

In this article:
The essential outfit for an academic conference
What shoes should I wear to an academic conference?
Advanced level academic conference attire

The essential outfit for an academic conference
When in doubt about what to wear to an academic conference, there is an unofficial ‘uniform’ in academia which you can always default to. Find narrow leg or slightly bootcut trousers in black, grey, or navy, and a fitted shirt in a lighter colour like pale blue, pale pink, or pinstripe. Tuck in your shirt, select a slim belt in a neutral colour, and choose slip-on shoes in black or grey. This basic outfit will be appropriate for almost any professional situation.

You can make it smarter by adding a structured jacket in black or grey, or make it more casual by adding a cardigan in the colour of your choice. One warning: try to stay away from black trousers and a plain white shirt, especially at dinner events, as this outfit can make you look like a member of the wait staff! If you do end up going with a black and white outfit, add a colourful accessory like a silk scarf, brightly coloured belt, or jewelled brooch to distinguish yourself as a guest and not a waitress.

For the other side of the coin, read our insight into what men should wear to an academic conference.

What shoes should I wear to an academic conference?
At an academic conference, you’ll often be on your feet all day, moving from one area of the conference location to another or standing for long periods at events or while you’re presenting. The last thing you want is to be distracted by the fact that your feet are killing you! So unless you’re very accustomed to wearing heels, then save your feet and opt for flats instead.

Shoes take up a lot of space in your suitcase, so try to pick one pair that you can wear for the whole conference. Slip-on ballet pumps will do in a pinch, but a pair of flats with pointed toes will look smarter and more polished. Alternatively, ankle boots can also be a good option, especially in colder weather. Stay away from open toes, heels over three inches, boots over the knee, or brightly coloured shoes unless you’re sure that they will be appropriate for the occasion.

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Advanced level academic conference attire
If you have a varied wardrobe and want to wear something a bit more exciting than the plain trousers and shirt combination, then you can also consider other options. A dress or skirt can be a great conference outfit, as long as the fabric is heavy and not too floaty, as this generally looks too casual. Try a patterned dress with pale tights and a bright cardigan, which will bring a touch of colour to a summer conference.

Generally, a skirt or dress that falls anywhere below your mid-thigh is fine, but in some more conservative fields, you might want to opt for something knee-length instead. Do remember to check the length of your skirt or dress from the front and back in a mirror to make sure that you’re comfortable with it before you leave, as you don’t want to realise that the item is shorter than you thought it was at the last minute! You can also play with your look by adding a statement necklace, scarf, or handbag, to give your outfit a bit of personality while still keeping it smart.

Don’t forget to prepare yourself for the local weather conditions wherever the conference is being held. If it will be hot and humid, you might want to bring along a paper fan to keep yourself cool during talks. If the location is somewhere where it commonly rains, do pack an umbrella for your journey to and from the conference location, so that you’re not accidentally drenched before you even arrive.

If it’ll be cold outside, or even if the air conditioning is turned up high in the conference centre, you might want to bring along an extra layer for warmth – a large plain wool scarf looks smart when wrapped around yourself and can be easily stashed in your bag when you don’t need it.

Awards season is just around the corner, the invitations are flooding in, and it’s time to address the eternal question: what to wear to an awards ceremony? From chic cocktail dresses to elegant evening gowns, the style experts at St. John Knits help you decode the invitation to find the perfect eye-catching looks for every occasion.

Confetti Sequin Jacket

Awards Night Dress Code Details

Awards ceremonies typically call for an elegant formal style, but there can be a lot of variation within that category. Should you wear something chic and playful, or is a floor-sweeping gown a more appropriate choice?

The simplest way to answer this question is to examine the invitation. These classic dress codes are some of the most popular for awards ceremonies, and each comes with their own unique set of rules.

  • Cocktail: A playful, lightly formal style, cocktail attire calls for dresses that fall just above or below your knees. They can be fitted or loose, and while black is the traditional look, creative colors and textures are also welcome.
  • Formal: A step up from cocktail, formal dresses can range from just below the knee to floor length.
  • Black tie: The highest form of formal dress, black tie attire for women consists of elegant gowns in a full-length silhouette.

Evening Shimmer V-Neck Gown

Liquid Satin Off the Shoulder Gown

Silk Georgette Overlay Gown


As with any ensemble, the most important element of choosing a gown is dressing for your style and choosing the type of silhouette that fits you best. Follow the cuts and rules dictated by the dress code, then embrace your own unique sense of elegance within that range. Both fitted gowns and overlay designs look effortlessly poised, it’s simply a question of what makes you feel most comfortable and inspired.


When choosing the perfect dresses to wear to an awards ceremony, embracing luxury is always a good choice. Opt for fabrics that drape easily, like silk, satin, and delicate chiffon. Don’t be afraid to play with texture – a sequined off the shoulder gown will always make an elegant impression.


Like choosing the perfect silhouette, the style of your gown depends primarily upon your unique personal taste. Halter dresses, open shoulder, and v neck designs are all appropriate as long as they conform to the length of the dress code. When in doubt, choose longer cuts and let the accents come in the form of shoulder and neckline details. A halter neck gown creates a flattering silhouette while fitting the full-length rules of black tie, while a  silk organza jumpsuit offers a fresh modern take on award ceremony attire.

Fluid Viscose Plisse Knit Dress

Evening Metallic Pinstripe Jacket and Pant

Tips from SJK – Awards Ceremony Do’s and Don’ts

Before you step out the door and onto the red carpet, run through these simple do’s and don’ts of the awards night dress code to ensure you make the perfect elegant impression.

Do: Wear something that’s tailored to you

You should look and feel your best wherever you go, so make sure your gown is perfectly tailored to your body. When in doubt, gowns that are custom designed or altered to fit your shape are a simple way to ensure a refined impression.

Don’t: Go too short

It’s always better to arrive looking more elegant than the dress code demands. If you’re ever unsure of what cut is appropriate, opt for longer styles and let inspired necklines and unique fabrics add the creative touch.

Do: Embrace your sparkle

From all-over sequin gowns to delicate sparkling accents, adding a subtle glitter to your ensemble never goes amiss on the red carpet. Browse evening gowns and designer couture to let your natural style shine while keeping the silhouettes effortlessly elegant and refined.

Do: Dress for the venue

A corporate awards ceremony and a creative awards ceremony call for slightly different inspiration in the looks. While they may have the same dress code, corporate events lean towards more reserved and classic styles, while creative venues are the perfect opportunity to embrace your personality. Explore sleek and simple designer gowns and evening dresses for your professional space, then let your unique taste shine with full-length gowns in sequins, prints, and sparkles for your next creative red carpet.

Sequined Birdseye V-Neck Gown

Silk Chiffon Train Gown

What to wear to an academic awards ceremony

Academic awards ceremonies are a time to celebrate success and achievement. Whether you’re the recipient of an award or just attending as a guest, you’ll want to dress appropriately for the occasion.

Here are some tips for what to wear:

  1. Dressing up is important. You want people to know that this is an important event, and dressing up will help them understand that.
  2. Don’t overdo it with accessories—save those for another occasion!
  3. Make sure your outfit is comfortable enough so that you can sit comfortably through the ceremony without feeling restricted or uncomfortable.
  4. If you’re attending as a guest, make sure your clothing isn’t too similar to the faculty member’s in case they get confused about who should be seated where (or worse yet, accidentally place you in their seat!).

Academic awards ceremonies are a great time to celebrate students who have excelled in their studies.

It’s also a great time to remember that you’re not just there to celebrate your student’s achievements—you’re also there to represent the school, so it’s important that you dress appropriately.

Whether you’re an administrator or faculty member, these tips will help you look professional and put-together while still celebrating your student’s hard work!

Academic awards are a great way to celebrate the hard work of your colleagues and students. It’s also a chance to show off your school’s colors, which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you choose the right attire for your next academic awards ceremony.

Academic Awards Ceremonies are a great way to celebrate students who have accomplished something big, like graduating with honors or winning a prestigious fellowship. These events are often held in high schools, colleges, and universities and are attended by students, faculty members, and parents.

Men should wear suits, but not necessarily jackets and ties. Formal: Women should wear longer cocktail length dresses or full length and men should wear a complete suit with a tie. Black Tie: Black tie is very formal attire. Women should wear full-length dresses or gowns and men should wear a complete tuxedo.

that will have you looking so good, if there was a best-dressed award for the night, you’d win hands down.

The type of event

The type of event will dictate heavily what you should wear. The key to finding out everything about how the night will run will be on the invitation. If it’s a formal sit down dinner, then you can wear stunning shoes that kill your feet as you won’t be standing all night. If it’s cocktail, then it’s a good idea to wear shoes that are a little comfier because you could be standing for a good part of the evening.

Decoding The Dress Code

Here are some of the most common dress codes you’ll see on an event invitation:

Cocktail: This means that women should wear cocktail length dresses just above or below the knee. Men should wear suits, but not necessarily jackets and ties.

Formal: Women should wear longer cocktail length dresses or full length and men should wear a complete suit with a tie.

Black Tie: Black tie is very formal attire. Women should wear full-length dresses or gowns and men should wear a complete tuxedo.

If you aren’t sure what to wear, at least ensure that you stick to the type of outfit the invitation specifies.


The industry the event is being held for will also dictate what sort of outfit you should wear. At creative awards nights, people tend to dress a little more relaxed or alternative to the traditional take on formal evening wear. If however, the awards night you are attending is for a financial firm or corporation, then you may be best to stick to something more traditional.

What Suits Your Shape

It doesn’t matter if you are going to an important awards night or to the shops you should always dress for your figure. If thin spaghetti straps don’t suit you, don’t buy a dress that has them. You need to feel comfortable in what you have on.


Many people will be wearing black and while black is a great colour to wear (and very slimming) you will want to accessorise with some fabulous metallic or brightly coloured accessories and shoes. Hot pink or bright yellow is always fun and a little quirky. For a more traditional take, silver accessories are great too.

Be Prepared

Feel like you may have a little something in between your teeth but are too scared to check? Make sure your purse carries all of the little essentials including a compact. When everyone’s attention is on the stage as they hand out the trophies and awards take out your compact and have a little look see.

Dressing for an important awards ceremony is all about feeling confident in what you have on and choosing something that really flatters your figure whilst adhering to the dress code. I hope our list of tips has given you some helpful guidance to ensure that you make the best-dressed list for the night with elegance and style.

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