If choosing your day-to-day outfit can sometimes be a nightmare, dealing with the dress code of an event can become quite stressful.
What should I wear at this congress? Should I wear those never-ending heels during my full 8 hours shift? Will I make a good first impression on the client by wearing jeans? I don’t have a white button-up shirt, can I wear a white blouse instead?
All those questions have come up to our minds at least once and by reading this post you will be able to clarify all of them. Open your closet and release your inner fashion stylist!
1. Corporate – also known as Business Formal or Professional –
Corporate dress code is commonly assigned to congresses, conferences and business-themed exhibitions. Having your corporate suit will make you feel comfortable and confident whilst working and will ensure that it fits you like a glove.
The standard female corporate outfit is composed of:
- A black, grey or dark blue suit with a pencil skirt or trousers. You may also wear a black, grey or dark blue business dress (knee height and without cleavage).
- A black, grey or dark blazer or jacket that matches the skirt, trousers or dress you choose.
- Court shoes (with a small heel) or a nice-looking ballerina flat shoe if you prefer flats.
- A white button-up shirt. Occasionally you can wear a cotton white shirt or another kind of corporate blouse under your blazer.
- Transparent or flesh-colored stockings (20DEN) should always be worn with dresses and skirts.
- You can add a nice-looking scarf to your look if desired.
The standard male corporate uniform is composed of:
- Black, grey or dark blue trousers (NO jeans!) with a white plain shirt and a matching blazer.
- Male staff should also wear a tie or bow tie and a belt.
- Shoes must be elegant and match the belt’s color.
2. Business Casual
Compared to the corporate dress code, the business casual outfit is highlighted with a subtle hint of fashion. It is also worn in exhibitions, conferences and business-themed events. This kind of dress code is a more “relaxed” alternative to the corporate uniform. Wearing one or the other depends on the image of the brand you are representing (if it’s a more traditional or modern one).
The female business casual outfit includes:
- A white button-up skirt or white blouse, you can also wear a plain white or another neutral colored cotton shirt.
- Skinny or straight jeans, plain trousers or plain leggings (DON’T choose a sheer fabric!), without rips, holes or branding on them.
- A corporate dress that could have some frills, beading or other decorations on them (as long as it’s professional and of knee-length).
- A colored blazer or jacket that could ideally match the company logo or the branding colors.
- Oxford shoes or ballerinas.
Male staff have a simpler choice!
- A polo shirt or a button-up shirt (not using a tie and potentially not buttoning the shirt up to the very end) combined with plain trousers. These could be either very neat dark blue or black jeans, khaki trousers or suit pants.
- Shoes could be less classical dressing shoes or sometimes even boots or nautical shoes.
3. Casual – also known as a Sporty –
Both female and male dress codes at a sporting event are very similar:
- A white or black T-shirt or a polo shirt. Female staff can also wear white or black tank tops. Depending on the season the event is taking place, the staff will be dressing accordingly to protect themselves against low or high temperatures.
- Skinny or straight blue or black jeans. Females can also wear black leggings (again, DON’T choose a sheer fabric!)
- Non-branded white, black or color-neutral trainers. Brands such as Vans or Converse are the most commonly used. Shoes must be clean and neat even if they are sporty.
- On many occasions you will have to wear a cap. If you have long hair you might want to tie it. Remember to wear a discreet hair tie with you.
4. Evening Elegant
Female elegant uniform is composed by:
- Black knee-length dress with no neckline.
- Transparent, black or flesh-colored stockings with closed-toe heels. If you wear open-toed heels make sure you don’t wear stockings and that your toenails are looking nice.
- Nicely styled loose hair or a neat updo.
- Evening make-up.
- Choose contact lenses over glasses wherever possible to accentuate your makeup.
- Elegant and minimal jewelry (NOT too big and flashy and preferably silver or gold!).
Male uniform for evening events is very similar to the corporate look:
- Black elegant trousers (NO jeans!) with a white button-up shirt and a matching blazer.
- A bow tie or a tie and a belt.
- Shoes must be elegant and match the belt’s color.
5. Branded or Sponsored Outfits
Promotional models and grid girls are often asked to wear a very specific uniform at corporate parties or on the grid. The uniform is designed to promote the company or its sponsors (using the company’s corporate colors or logo) to draw the attention of the guests as well as the press. The more pictures they take of the staff, the more their company’s image gets exposed. Make sure you don’t cover the branding on the uniform when pictures are taken!
Promotional models guidelines are:
- A branded uniform which the client will provide you with. Make sure you request what the sponsored uniform will look like upfront so you bring the appropriate items you may need: specific colored tights, invisible underwear or shirts for under or over the uniform. A pair of nice-looking black heels will match with the uniform.
- Clients may provide the staff with newly bought shoes which can sometimes hurt or not be the right fit. If possible, bring your similar shoes for emergencies as well as a flat ballerina to change into during breaks to avoid your feet from becoming too tired. ALWAYS bring plasters and Compeed with you!
- If you don’t feel comfortable with certain dress codes, make sure you request a picture of the dress code before you accept the event. Sometimes uniforms can be quite extravagant or short, which we understand not everyone feels comfortable with. If you don’t want to face surprises and feel uncomfortable, it’s perfectly fine to ask for more details about the dress code and reject a job if you don’t feel the style matches your values or personality.
- Make-up should fit the features of the dress code.
- Skin colored underwear is mandatory for light-colored dresses and black underwear for darker outfits. Be careful with bra straps and necklines, tights and open-toed shoes.
6. Mascot Costumes
Mascots are hired to catch the attention of visitors and entertain them. Their main feature is to be easily seen thanks to the dimensions and often extravagant features of their costumes. They should be confident and extroverted and try to interact as much as possible with the visitors to make them laugh and take pictures with them.
Be aware that it can become very hot in a mascot uniform. Remember to wear light clothes underneath the costume even though nowadays most costumes have ventilators inside of them to avoid overheating. The client should give you the appropriate rest and water breaks but you should be prepared to work under conditions that are not always super comfortable nor usual.
If you are working as a mascot and the disguise doesn’t cover your legs or your arms, make sure you wear clothes that combine with the outfit.
It’s a MUST that you take off your whole uniform if you go on a break to eat, smoke or walk around the event. Remember people can easily recognize you and the client will not appreciate being associated with someone smoking or talking to a competitor company.
7. Themed Costumes or Outfits
For certain campaigns, it might be necessary that you wear a different and unusual outfit. This could be a gala dress, sparkling clothing or traditional clothes of any kind. It could also be a themed costume (Christmas, Halloween, Carnival).
The staff should be open-minded to these uniforms and costumes. If you accept working at a campaign of this nature, you mustn’t have any sense of feeling self-conscious! To make sure, ask your booker for pictures of the dress code before accepting the event so you are 100% sure of knowing upfront what you will be wearing. That will make you feel confident and will allow you to perform in the same way you would when wearing business attire!
8. PPE Clothing – also known as Personal Protective Equipment –
If you are working as a setup crewmember or supporting the client with buildup or breakdown of the structure of an event, you might be asked by your agency to bring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Sometimes the client will be the one providing you with the clothing.
Always make sure to check in case you are booked for such a job and let your booker know if you don’t own any PPE items before accepting the job. Wearing PPE is mandatory by law and important for your safety and those around you.
The most common PPE items are:
- Steel cap boots
- Protective gloves
- Protective goggles
- A protective facemask
- A helmet
- A reflecting vest
9. Final Reminders
All uniforms or items given to you by the agency or client to dress up for a certain event should be returned to your team leader or your agency once the event finishes. Please check with the parties involved if you should wash them at home and make sure you follow the appropriate precautions to keep the uniform in good shape if you do so.
Never combine dark blue with black, brown with black or outfits composed of different shades of the same color. A business suit should have a blazer and underpart which are the same color. Make sure you steam or wash both parts at the same time to avoid decoloring of one of the uniform’s elements.
Never use bright colors unless you are 100% sure that these are acceptable.
Always check the weather conditions and take some items with you in order not to be cold or hot. However, keep the branding in mind! For example, you may want to wear a cotton long sleeve under a short branded T-shirt as covering the T-shirt would cover the branding.
All staff must be dressed and ready to start on the event floor for shift start time.
If the briefing tells you to bring a uniform item you don’t have, please try one of the following things:
- Evaluate if it’s a basic piece of clothing that will not cost too much and which could be an investment in your work wardrobe. Decide if it’s worth buying it for the occasion.
- If the previous is not the case or you are not in a position to buy a piece of clothing, figure out if you could borrow it from a friend or family member.
- If you have something similar but you are not sure if it’s appropriate, take a picture of it and send the request to your agency to check. They will let you know if the item is ok.
- If none of the above is possible, ALWAYS check with your agency to see if they can borrow you something or give you an alternative.
Read our Grooming Standards to complete your total look for your next event. You only have one chance to make a good first impression so make sure you dress to impress!