From Upper Left, Julie Vos Elephant Pendant ($145) and Large Patriot Donkey Pin ($13) // BCBGeneration Open Front Blazer ($118) // Tahari Crepe Dress ($118) // Kate Spade Wedges ($298) // Ted Baker Red Lace Dress ($143) // WHBM Taffeta Skirt ($99) // Caslon Gauze Wrap ($149)
Every four years the party faithful, the press, and the protesters gather to celebrate republican democracy. The days are packed with speeches, meetings, dinners and parties. And with most attendees sleeping miles from the main site, you leave your hotel in the morning in the clothes that you will be wearing all day.
Dressing and preparing for such an event is a real challenge. So let’s sort out some of the confusion.
Do Travel Light. When you leave for the convention hall every morning, be mindful that there is nowhere to store belongings. If you pack it, you will carry it all day. I like to travel light at such events.
I replace my wallet with a smaller card wallet. If I need to carry a laptop, I bring a zip-top tote bag or my Lo & Sons OMG. Need more organization? Nylon pouches are a good way to separate your possessions.
The less you carry, they happier you will be. For me a conservatively packed medium-size tote with a strong, wide strap that can be easily slung over a shoulder is best.
Don’t Wear New Shoes. Every year, I see women walking around the convention blistered and bleeding from uncomfortable or brand news shoes. If you have a go-to pair of flats or high heels, bring them. Even if they look a bit worn, you will be on your feet for most of the day, so be kind to them.
I prefer wedges for events where I am walking or standing a lot. Dress wedges, like the Kate Spade pair above, provide stability without sacrificing looks. Cole Haan’s go-to wedges are discounted on Gilt right now. These Bandolino Yara low wedges are also a good choice.
Do Mind Your Tech. Please, please, do not be the girl sitting on the floor in the corner trying to power up your phone. Instead, I rock a Mophie battery case and a Sonix charger, which gives me another 16 hours of battery life.
Also, if your staffing your boss, get a charger that will work on her phone as well. If you can juice up the boss’s phone in an emergency, you’re the hero.
Don’t Overpack. The biggest mistake made when packing for conventions and work travel is bringing too many clothes. Instead of rushing to pack the night before, spend a few hours putting some thought into it. Tailor your attire to your schedule, but most women will need one outfit per day of attendance, plus two extras (one casual, one dressy). That’s it.
Do Choose a Color Family. For work travel, I stick to the navy, white, and grey family. These neutral colors coordinate and can be jazzed up with accessories. This also means you get to pack fewer pairs of shoes. For the convention, I’m going with a grown-up selection of red, white and blue pieces. Because, why not?
Don’t Wear Clothes That Don’t Fit. The last thing you want is to be tugging and pulling at ill-fitting clothes all day. Wear pieces that you feel confident and comfortable in, you will thank yourself when you’ve been wearing the same dress for 12-hours.
Do Bring Longwear Makeup. I like Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Foundation with a good primer underneath. If you want to touch-up during the day, take a small palette, a lipstick, a concealer, and a small translucent powder that you can dab on with your fingers. You don’t need your whole makeup bag.
Don’t Forget the Aspirin. And remember to drink water. Nuff said.
Do Build Around Foundation Pieces. When I attended convention, I was there for 3.5 days. If I was repeating that experience this year. This is how I would dress for each day, rehearing some pieces as needed to conserve space.
Day 1 in Meetings and Convention Hall // Short sleeved navy dress with open front white blazer and nude wedges. I’ll add a GOP scarf for the heck of it. Need GOP or Dem items? eBay has the best political clothing, by far.
Departure // Navy pleated skirt, political tee, red cardigan, nude wedges.
Let’s Recap // I have three pair of shoes: red flats, skin tone pumps and wedges. Four dresses: one navy sheath, one red cocktail, one wrap, and one semi-casual white cotton dress. One navy pleated skirt, one pair of jeans, one blouse and one t-shirt. If I was going to add some emergency pieces, I would choose a simple white blouse and a stand-alone grey work dress.
Do Have a Bail Bondsman’s Number in Your Phone. Better safe than sorry.
Any more convention tips? Post them in the comments.