Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ACFW Conference Wear

With the ACFW conference coming up September 20-23,many authors wonder what to wear to this kind of event. The best advice I can give is to dress professionally. Lots of people will tell you to just be comfortable. But don't forget the most important thing...YOU are your product.

Here are what published authors are wearing to daytime workshops. This is a group of Steeple Hill gals and all are comfy:-)

Casual dressy is the best option for daytime and evenings without fancy banquets. People DO dress up for the special awards banquet night. Expect to see gowns and baubles. BUT, it's very important to note that dresses and dress slacks are perfectly acceptable. The dressier you go on that night, the more confident you will feel amidst the crowd.

Layers are crucial. Some rooms are hot while others feel like the arctic airstream is directly above your chair. Jackets or light sweaters can really dress up almost any slacks suit. These ladies where them well.

Notice the dresses are short and long and range from pretty sundresses to gowns.

There are possible outside activities, not many however. This is the perfect time for your jeans:-) However, it's still hot in Dallas at that time of year. I'd suggest a nice sundress or light capris for ladies and sunscreen during the day.

Shoes. Comfortable flats or low heels a must. I personally do not suggest tennis shoes with dress slacks. It's back to the unprofessional image thing. sigh. I love the new ballet shoe or nice clogs. High spike heels aren't going to be comfy, so save them for the special Saturday night awards only.

Here's a nice combo with Kelly Ann Riley and her hubby. They are both dressy and professional at the awards.

Dressing professional in a comfortable manner isn't hard. Here are some ideas.

During the day, wear slacks or skirts. Bring materials that move easily and don't show wrinkles like jersey or stretchy cotton blends. Choose them for the way you feel in them. Confident, attractive, professional, and happy. The attitude you portray makes all the difference.

I know people are going to tell you it's okay to wear jean. I'm telling you that jeans are great for errands around town, horseback riding, and shopping-not for being a professional writer. The editors and agents want to know that you will always represent yourself with professionalism in public. Show them you can do that now.

Think of it this way; a swimsuit is for swimming, a ski boots and a parka for skiing. You wouldn't wear a swimsuit to a professional appearance unless you were a paid model or a beauty queen. You wouldn't drag your ski boots with you to the meetings. Why wouldn't you wear comfortable and professional slacks or a skirt?

Now, I also have heard the "but it's my personality," argument. Puhlease. Ahem. Sorry. It's just too overdone. You can show your personality and still wear something professional. Don't believe me? Look at all the different people around you in a bank, lawyer's office, or restaurant. Notice who looks like they are serious about what they do and who looks like they are taking a day off. Notice who looks mature and who doesn't. Ask yourself what image you want to portray to publishers and agents who might consider representing you. What makes you a sellable product? What image do you really want to portray?

Play with colors that look great on you. Don't run out and buy a whole bunch of stuff. Grab a really good friend and have a fashion playdate with your own closet. I was shocked at what I found when I pulled it all out and mixed it up. I've fallen in love with a blue crochet shawl that I can toss over anything to dress it up. You might even see it pop up at conference:-)

Please do yourself a favor. If you want to be a professional, dress and present yourself like one. You will be much more believable and marketable.

For more ideas, please visit my personal blog over at:

See you at conference:-D


  1. Love the photos! You're right about dressing. There are so many ways to show your personality while remaining professional looking.

    --Look at our snippet today from CWO--Mindy-It's Philippians 4:5--
    The Lord is at hand...
    Yes, he is.

  2. Great post, Angie. One thing I've learned that I'd like to pass along is that a nice pantsuit is really nice to have while in workshops. It's hard to sit very ladylike and take notes like crazy while your favorite author is speaking if you're having to worry about keeping your knees together in a knee-length skirt! :) If not pants, then a longer-length skirt works better for me. Just a suggestion.


  3. Angie,
    Thanks for the tips. I've already been looking through my closet for things to wear. I think I'm ready. I also started pulling out some of the old fancy dresses from my working days, when we'd dress up for holiday parties. Didn't think I'd get to wear those again - but I'm pleased that I will.

    Okay, about seating at the conference - based on Missy's comment, I'm assuming we don't have tables? Just seats all in a row and nothing to bear down on?

    I'm in agreement with long skirts or pant suits. Especially if I'm going to have to balance a notebook on my lap. Puleeze tell me we'll have tables, too!

  4. Angie, this is a GREAT post!

    Christy, yes, usually workshops are rows of chairs without tables. Short skirts are sometimes uncomfortable for me, personally.


  5. I'm so glad you all posted your thoughts too!

  6. Hi everybody. Good to see you, Camy. I can't wait to read your book.