How to Dress Successfully For a Trade Show

Even if your business or organization has a casual and laid-back dress code, the rules of professional dress need to be switched up when you set up a booth at your next trade show. Office settings are fine as casual because customers may not see all of your staff on a day-to-day basis. Trade shows and conferences require a bit more formality when it comes to employee dress, and booth employee appearances count for quite a bit when your business needs to make that vital first impression.

Have Clear Guidelines For Employees

Business casual should be the minimum requirement for employees manning your trade show booth. Managers and owners also need to abide by this same dress code. Some trade shows encourage formal business attire, such as suits for both men and women, usually in dark or neutral colors. Others may be fine with more casual dress, including khaki slacks and colored employee polo shirts or zip-up jackets. In either type of trade show, make sure your employees understand which fashion choices need to be left at home, including large visible tattoos, facial piercings or revealing clothing. The best bet at a new trade show is to take your cues from other businesses whose employees have attended in previous years.

Tattoos and body piercings have become more accepted in the past couple of recent decades, but they can still give an undesirable impression in a professional trade show environment. The best rule of thumb is to cover them or take them out. Trade shows are times for your employees to create the best possible impressions for your business, and they can express their own personal style outside of this professional environment.

Dress Codes For Different Trade Shows

Your specific business niche is also a big influencing factor in your trade show employees’ s dress code. Trade shows for industries such as technology and real estate usually have more formal dress guidelines that call for suits. Recreational business niches such as RV sales or boat sales can allow for more casual choices, including company T-shirts and neat, new-looking pairs of jeans. Casual trade show attire still needs to be clean, well-pressed, and free from any visible wear and tear.

Since your employees will be standing on their feet for several hours while working at the trade show booth, comfortable shoes are also essential. Many ergonomic shoes are now available at reasonable prices, and they’re designed to prevent back strain and other types of physical fatigue. The best approach is to encourage your employees to purchase these kinds of comfortable shoes at least a few weeks before the trade show, so they have some time to break them in. Also be sure to let your trade show booth employees know which shoe colors and styles are acceptable for your established dress code. Each employees’ shoes need to be clean, neat and in good repair as well.

Dressing for the Best Impressions

Regardless of your final dress code rules and guidelines, current trade show trends favor simple and professional attire over the bright colors and shirt logos that used to be more popular for employees. Even when dressing with a business casual dress code, solid color button-down shirts are now seen as more professional than company polo shirts with slogans. Name tags are also considered a must for trade show booth employees, and it’s a good idea to have a few spare ones just in case one of your employees misplaces one. These should be worn at all times while your employees are working the trade show booth.

When it comes to dressing successfully for trade shows, employee dress codes should be simple, clean and basic. Each booth worker needs to follow all parts of the dress code in order for everyone to look like representatives of your business. Along with appearing professional, friendliness and customer service also need to be top priorities. Employees should also be aware of their body language, including avoiding folding their arms, putting their hands in their pockets or texting on their phones while working at the trade show booth. Encourage your employees to take photos with their smartphones, though make sure all images give the impression you want to portray about your business.