I'm sure that some of you are in the business of attending trade shows and trying to market yourselves. If you are, then you are going to love the guest post for today!
With the increasing use of social media and other online tools, trade shows are a rare opportunity to
meet face-to-face with your potential future customers. The look of your trade show exhibit says a lot
about who you are as a company and can have a large effect on your trade show ROI, but so does your
Think of yourself and your staff as an extension of your trade show display. Your personal style should
work to reflect your company. On a very basic level always strive to be presentable in your appearance
to show a sense of pride in being there. Your visitors will be able to tell if you put in effort to see them
or if you simply rolled out of bed. Below are some tips and things to think about when dressing for your
Take into consideration what trade show you will be attending, and what the general dress code is
for the event. It’s crucial that you are not under dressed, but remember, it’s also important not to be
overdressed. For example you wouldn’t necessarily dress in business wear as an exhibitor at the SXSW
So why is it important to hit just the right spot on the dress scale? If you are meeting with attendees
to build relationships and potential future customers, you want them to feel like your peers. Though
business dress can exude confidence and professionalism, it could also feel intimidating to casually
dressed visitors. The same goes for being underdressed, if you are at a highly professional business
conference, being underdressed may cause visitors to write you off. If you are very unsure about the
dress code, a safe route to go would be business casual. However there are other options as well.
Also remember that though many trade shows are for doing business, don’t forget to think about what
that business is. For example if you are exhibiting at a fashion or design trade show, a little bit of style
can go a long way, especially because your personal fashion will be even more of a representation of
With a sea of visitors in your booth, making sales could be more difficult if your staff is hard to find. Help
your staff and sales people stand out more predominantly with matching elements. For example, dress
in matching polo shirts and/or wear matching lanyards or a piece of clothing with the company logo. The
faster people can find you, the more people you will connect with.
Overall, it’s not always about the booth design and the collateral, you have to count yourself as part of
the booth design, and doing so could be the difference between a sale and flop.
Quick Tips for Dressing for a Trade Show:
1. When in doubt, go business casual.
2. Discuss the style game plan with your team, so everyone is on the same page.
3. If you plan on having matching shirt order them far ahead of time, and have extras on hand for
4. If you are staying overnight, or traveling opt for a garment bag to keep business clothes looking
5. Keep a stain removing pen on hand for the whole team to share. Everyone will be eating and
working on the go, a stain is bound to appear on someone.
6. As cheesy as it sounds, remember that the best thing you could wear is a smile and a positive
About the Author: Sarah Bridgewater has been writing about trade show topics with companies like
Nimlok’s trade show graphics for more than 15 years. When she isn’t writing, it’s common to find Sarah
at the gym, training for her next marathon.