What Writers Wear

You probably read my how-to-get-the-most-from-a-writers-conference post last week. Well, it failed to address an extremely important question: What the heck should you wear?

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I’m no fashion expert, but I can tell you the trending fashions observed at the 2012 Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Read on and avoid the writer’s dreaded fashion faux-pas!

  1. The artsy writer. This look included gauzy scarves, hand-painted silks, and flowing tunics. Both bright colors and earth tones appear to be “in” this year. The key to this look is to be yourself, but more elegant and superbly accessorized. Must be worn with confidence to pull off, but when successful can make you appear bold and, well, artsy.
  2. The eclectic writer. Closely related to the artsy writer, the eclectic writer leans toward vintage clothing and one-of-a-kind items such as well-worn cowboy boots paired with lace or velvet. A single focal accessory, such as a unique hat or walking staff, can also create the eclectic look. Finish off your eclectic style with a period hairstyle or region-specific jewelry. As with the artsy look, the eclectic look requires a fair degree of self-confidence with a splash of individualism.
  3. The sexy writer. A few bold writers sported short-short skirts and plunging necklines at this year’s conference, and not just at the formal awards banquet. The sexy look is certainly an attention-grabber, but may make it less likely for editors and agents to take you seriously.
  4. The business writer. A fair number of attendees sported “business casual” dress—which, if you’re not in the business world, means fairly dressy. Think business skirts, hose, heels, and button-down shirts. This can be an extremely professional look, if worn with confidence.
  5. The casual writer. This writer looks clean and comfortable, but clearly did not dress for the occasion. By wearing your everyday duds, you can project an attitude of self-assurance—the “I don’t need to impress anyone” vibe. This look can be particularly effective for the writer who engages easily in conversation and already has numerous conference contacts, because it makes you look like one of the “in” crowd.
  6. The dressed-up writer. Some writers attend the conference wearing fancy dresses and three-piece suits (cummerbunds optional). This look screams “conference neophyte,” but also demonstrates that the wearer takes the event seriously. This look may trigger conference faculty to treat you with a more gentle touch than they would otherwise.
  7. The working-at-the-conference writer. A fair number of conference attendees sported jeans and t-shirts coupled with harried expressions. In some cases, they wore red PPWC Staff shirts. The “working writer” clothing and air of purpose can project an “important person” vibe.
  8. The funky writer. These writers sported fashion items such as ripped jeans, concert t-shirts, multiple piercings, and rainbow-dyed hair. Similar to the eclectic writer, but with more of a rock-band vibe. The look seemed to be especially favored by those writing for teens.
  9. The just-got-up-from-my-computer writer. This look, touted by fabulous writer and speaker Linda Rohrbaugh, consists simply of jeans, shirt, and a sport jacket. It shouts “working writer” and gives the impression that you left your computer (and WIP) only long enough to throw on a jacket and come to the conference. Can communicate professionalism and high productivity.
  10. The Hollywood writer.These writers dressed all in black without the Goth vibe. Numerous black turtlenecks, black mock turtlenecks, and black t-shirts were observed. The look seemed to be favored by screenwriters and writers adept at schmoozing at the bar.

Which style do you favor? Do tell!