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While I plan to share a complete recap of the conference, first and foremost we have to talk clothes, right? I spent some time before heading to BlogHer looking for blog posts about what people packed and wore to the conference and while hundreds of people attend every year few seem to really delve into what was in their suitcase for their trip. I read it should be business casual, wear flat shoes, and no one really cares. And I know that, but if I’m going to be passing out my business card every five minutes telling folks I am a FASHUN BLOGGER I better as heck look the part!
Agenda: Drive to NYC from DC through sideways walls of rain on the Jersey Turnpike. Karl drove, Waze and I were the navigators, Emerson oblivious in the back listening to “Baby” by Justin Beiber on repeat
What I Wore: Gap Sexy Boyfriend Denim Shorts in bleached wash, J. Crew Factory striped bracelet-sleeve knit top, silver Birkenstocks
The conference didn’t start until the next day but we decided to get there a day early so I’d be rested, ready, meet with some non-BlogHer companies, and see the city a bit with the family.
Agenda: Attend Getting Gorgeous (a fashion, beauty and mom expo)
What I Wore: The same exact outfit I wore in this post, with the addition of bright red lips and my Rebecca Minkoff leopard calfhair Mini M.A.C.
I met up with Sarah from Style It at the expo, she and I got linner and did a bit of shopping. We then headed to my hotel, we met up with Karl and Emerson and the four of us went to dinner.
Agenda: See a bit of New York before I had to put on my blogger hat. The weather was gorgeous – bright blue sky, very low humidity, and a slight breeze.
What I Wore: White sleeveless slub v-neck from Old Navy, my favorite DIY distressed denim shorts from Target, a red bandanna for a bit of color and my trusty SoftSpots sandals that have gotten me through many a music festival and day of sight-seeing
I loved the shirt when I got it but feared it shrinking so I line dried it. I hadn't worn it again until this trip and it got wonky and lost it's appeal. I still wore it because it was comfortable and breezy and I wasn't trying to be fashion blogger at this time, just mom getting her child through Times Square without being lured in by the fake Spongebobs and Elmos wanting $5 for a photo (totally reminded me that episode of Kimmy Schmidt)
Agenda: Meeting in the hotel lounge with a brand, check in for the BlogHer conference, attend the Evening at the Expo (where I got most of the swag I’m offering in this giveaway)
What I Wore: The Dead Weather Band tee (neck and sleeves cut for a more flattering fit), my pale pink Vince Camuto blazer, Gap Real Straight jeans (ankle length, rinse wash), silver name hoops, my silver Nine West ‘Flax’ pumps and the Rebecca Minkoff bag
I just HAD to take a picture with Aquafresh Man!
I left the expo early to have dinner with the family. After just three hours my feet were killing me so I switched into my SoftSpots sandals.
Agenda: StyleCaster suite, the only “fashion” event on my agenda that was part of the BlogHer conference. I slipped back on the silver heels and reapplied my lipstick and went as-is.
Agenda: Jam-packed day starting at 8am full of learning sessions, keynote speakers, and a few meetings with companies and brands.
What I Wore: Black Loveappealla jumpsuit, J. Crew Factory denim jacket, Vince Camuto ‘Effel’ sandals (link to similar that's still in stock), Dagne Dover tote (c/o, they were awesome enough to send me the bag for the conference), silver name hoops
I wore this look until about 6pm when I got back from a client meeting a few blocks away. While it was comfortable (and the shoes, as always, were comfy), I found wearing a jumpsuit that had to be closed at the bust with a safety pin AND a denim jacket AND a tote bag AND a pair of Spanx (and for a period of time another tote full of swag) was far too much for using public bathrooms all day. Note to all, dress for the ability to pee quickly in close quarters!
Agenda: Invited to a sneak preview of a sitcom coming out this fall and meet one of the stars.
What I Wore: My Plenty by Tracey Reese orange and black print jersey maxi dress, J. Crew Factory denim jacket, my SoftSpots sandals
I also wore this after the event to walk down the street and get a pizza for family dinner. We had a wild hotel party with ginger ale and America’s Got Talent, but honestly I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Agenda: Another long day filled with sessions, speakers, and racing from floor to floor.
What I Wore: My crazy floral Etsy maxi dress, yellow Born ‘Myndy’ sandals, and Dagne Dover tote
This dress served me really well. Some recognized me from Getting Gorgeous because it was also a bold print and I stood out in a crowd. It was comfortable, and when I told people I was a blogger they usually guessed right off that my niche was fashion. Also, wearing orange I coordinated with all the conference branding, and it made for a really great photo against the BlogHer garden wall.
Agenda: End of event party at Pier 84, hosted by McDonald’s, where Boyz II Men were performing, also starring DJ Spider and Nick Cannon
What I Wore: Black Loveappella jumpsuit, Aerosoles ‘Screen Saver’ sandals in red, my silver name hoops, and because my hair was NOT behaving and I knew I’d likely get sweaty dancing, my red bandana tied into a headband, Rebecca Minkoff purse
Bad blogger, didn't get an outfit photo in, but I did get a photo with the fabulous Georgette!
My hair was NOT behaving so a headband was good. It was also good because it was a bit humid and I can’t help but dance when I hear Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” 30 minutes into this surreal experience (it was like the VIP section at a music festival with all you can eat McDonald’s and an open bar full of flavored vodkas and most of the attendees are moms who really needed a girl’s night out) I was sweaty, my hair was cray, and I was glad for the bandana and also my Ray-Ban aviators.
I wore the same thing when I went to dinner with Karl and Emerson later that evening.
Agenda: Heading home
What I Wore: My Make Art Not War tee shirt, distressed Target shorts, silver Birkenstocks, and a denim shirt around my waist in case it got chilly in the car
We woke up by 7, were on the road by 9, and home by 1pm! And of course, I always pack things that don’t get worn…
What I Didn’t Wear: My Karen Kane jumpsuit (I planned to wear it to the McDonald's party), distressed jeans, white jeans, my black spaghetti strap jersey midi sundress from LOFT (thought I may wear sight-seeing but never had the chance), a gray Old Navy vintage v-neck (it was backup).
What I Would Do Differently Next Time
- More Color. Wearing the black jumpsuit Friday was like blending into the wall. Have a signature thing when you go to a conference, that matters more than being stylish or trendy or cool. Funky glasses, a blue streak in your hair, wild patterned Vans… it doesn’t have to be your outfit specifically but it’s good to have something to have you stand out and be a consistent concept through all the days. If I had worn a funky print Friday I would have created a signature look that people would have remembered. If I could do it over I would have worn Wednesday’s outfit on Friday.
- More Casual Saturday Night Look. I packed my Karen Kane jumpsuit for it, figuring it’s comfortable and festive but by the time the evening came it felt too formal. Also… by the time that night came there was no way in hell I was wearing even ½” heels! I re-wore my other jumpsuit and no one could tell because this time it wasn’t under a denim jacket and also NO ONE CARES. No one is taking a tally of your wardrobe, so go ahead and re-wear the same things if they’re clean and you’re confident in them. But if you like fancy, go fancy. There were women there in shorts and tee shirts and I saw a few in cocktail dresses and heels. The general idea was festive summer party – lots of sundresses, rompers, cute tops with cropped pants and no one judged if you were wearing fugly but uber comfy shoes by this point.
- Not Worry About My Figure. I have NO IDEA why I felt the need to wear heavy duty Spanx Saturday. I felt like a stuffed sausage and it made going to the bathroom more complicated. The other days I did wear a light control (I love these from DKNY), but more to prevent jiggling than to try to change my size. There are women in every single size and shape you can imagine at BlogHer and the only thing anyone notices is if you are having fun and are friendly. SERIOUSLY.
At one of the panels, a speaker was being asked how she became successful. Attendees wanted her fame, her sponsorsorships but they didn’t have the technical know-how, the equipment, the training on editing, etc. etc. Her answer to all of them was GET OVER YOURSELF. She wasn’t being rude, she was being RIGHT. We are what holds us back. We can say it’s lack of money or time, that we’re too busy taking care of others, our job is a beast, the kids suck us dry, we’re a caregiver and have nothing left for ourselves. I’m not going to be one of those fitness people who say those are all excuses NOW GO DO 50 BURPEES!!!! but they are choices. We can make excuses as to why we are in the situation we are in, and that’s fine but we need to remember this is OUR life, it does not belong to another. Don’t miss out on a good time because you’re too wrapped up in thinking you’re not stylish enough, not thin enough, not firm enough, not young enough. That’s all crap, and it was clear at BlogHer that, to paraphrase Audrey Hepburn, the prettiest people were the happiest ones. No one cared what you were wearing (except to be able to find you in a crowd and recognize you from one day to the next), they cared who you were.
So if you’re reading this post trying to figure out what to wear to BlogHer or a similar conference, be sure to put YOU in your wardrobe. Anyone can wear that dress, but it’s you who makes it special. And above all else, WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!
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Oh man I don’t know how you wore Spanx in this humidity! lol But I agree with your last paragraph. I worried so much about what to wear when I went to blogger conferences but go with what makes you comfortable because your personality will shine through. Plus you’re there all day so take practicality into consideration. I think you look great!
Looks like you ate that whole pizza yourself you fat fucker
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Fat fucker? That’s what he said! (come on, I just HAD to!)
This was a great article! That part was really inspiring! 🙂 love the pictures! Sounds like you had a wonderful time overall! 🙂
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Melissa C. says
Oh, Alison, you just made my day. I’m going to a high school reunion in a couple of months and I have been thinking so much about what to wear over the weekend, how I should look, and how to feel really cool. But a little part of me knows that I’ll feel just like I did in high school and not be cool or skinny enough. But your post about conference dressing is just what I needed. You’re right. You have to be comfortable and fun and bring yourself to the party or else it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will remember to pack comfortable, someone colorful pieces that make me feel good and just have fun. I may bring the Spanx but I may not wear the Spanx. Thanx!
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
My pleasure. Have a blast!
Great post. Thanks for the pre-cap of your BlogHer experience! (I barely blog but always wanted to go to this event, if for nothing else than to connect IRL with interesting women.) Anyway, the other day I was thinking about how I stumbled upon your blog randomly (maybe a year or two ago?) and I’ve come to love your voice and content. I think what I love is the unpretentious, candid voice that shines through your writing. I’ve never met you, probably never will, and aside from the fact that we both just turned 40 and have brown hair (and a little gray, ack!) we have relatively little in common. However, I LOVE reading your posts and LOVE feeling connected to you – and I LOVE (lotta love, here, girl! And parentheses, evidently.) that when I like a pic on Instagram or respond to a post on FB, you’re right there responding. Just feels real. And good. Keep it up, Allie! XO
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Thank you so much Shawnie! And you should go, it’s a great way to meet amazing people and be inspired not just for blogging but other aspects of life!
Diane Stenglein says
I second the comfortable shoes! Going to blogger conferences is so much about presenting your best self to the world that if one part of you is feeling awkward, it will translate to your whole self. (It’s also been recommended that you bring some Gwynnie Bee along, including mailer bags so that you don’t have to worry about schlepping outfits home. That’s what I’ll be doing in October when I head to Type-A in Atlanta.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Great point! I planned on bringing some Gwynnie Bee but none of the pieces I received before were quite right. But that does simplify things and expand your options as well as your suitcase for bringing home swag and mementos!