Avoiding Wardrobe Malfunctions

Janet Jackson

Cover of Janet Jackson

Wikipedia defines a wardrobe malfunction as “a euphemism for accidental exposure of intimate parts”.  The term was coined in the mid 2000’s.  If you perform a quick Google search you will see 1000’s of hits from Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl halftime performance to Kim Kardashian, Anne Hathaway, and beyond.

While you may not have any plans to walk the red carpet, you may have plans to attend or present at a tradeshow.  It may not work to wear the same clothes you wear to work each day to a tradeshow.  In deciding what to wear, looking in the mirror is only the initial first step.  It is very important to enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to observe you in action.  At the trade show will you be bending down to put things in a bag or collect supplies from under a table?  Will you be reaching across a table or raising your arms up to change pages on a flip chart?  Will your attendance or participation require you to stretch to hang things?  Performing all of these types of actions in the clothes you plan to wear will ensure you are appropriately covered.

Beyond making sure that your most intimate parts will be covered, here are some tips for tradeshow attire:

-Adhere to dress codes: Review the agenda before you arrive and take note of any dress code requirements.  Often shows will have a variety of events that will require a variety of outfits ranging from casual to formal.  Be prepared.

-Consider a custom name tag: Stickers and pins may damage your clothing or fall off.  Be prepared with a back-up plan and bring your own custom name tag.  Even if required to wear a typical lanyard name tag at the show, it will be easier to spot your name if it is clear and visible at the shoulder level rather than hanging down by your waist.

-Footwear: Your feet are going to hurt. Accept it.  But plan for it to minimize the damage.  Rarely will sneakers be appropriate so invest in a nice pair of leather shoes.  Make sure they are clean and in good repair. Wear them for at least a month before the show.  Wearing brand new shoes, for the first time at a tradeshow is a very bad idea.  Break in your new shoes and determine if you need insoles, thinner socks, thicker socks etc…

Planning your outfits will help to ensure that you don’t just make an impression at the tradeshow but an appropriate impression!

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