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Dress clothes for conference/poster session

  1. Apr 15, 2008 #1
    I am curious what everyone here thinks about what clothes are acceptable for a poster presentation at a conference. Can I get away with wearing a golf shirt and khakis? Or should I go out and rent a full blown suit? I've never worn a suit in my entire life...
     
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  3. Apr 15, 2008 #2

    Kurdt

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    Just wear what you like.
     
  4. Apr 15, 2008 #3

    lisab

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    Are you hoping to make career contacts at the conference? If so, a little more formal attire is appropriate. Maybe not a full-blown suit, but slacks, shirt, and a tie. And clean dress shoes.
     
  5. Apr 15, 2008 #4

    Kurdt

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    Booo! What you wear shouldn't affect anyones decision anywhere.
     
  6. Apr 15, 2008 #5

    lisab

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    Yeah, in a perfect world, you're right. But it's not a perfect world and first impressions do matter.

    Companies are going to want someone who reflects well on them, especially in positions that require a lot of public exposure.
     
  7. Apr 15, 2008 #6
    Wonderful concept. Not even close to reality.
     
  8. Apr 15, 2008 #7

    brewnog

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    You're rarely inappropriately dressed in a suit. Swimming and caving are two notable exceptions.
     
  9. Apr 15, 2008 #8
    Yeah, I even wear a suit to bed. The same suit I was born in.

    If you are going in front of customers, and in doubt, then wear a suit.
     
  10. Apr 15, 2008 #9

    JasonRox

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    I think Moonbear said it best before (other thread). Dressing appropriately for the position you have or the position you want is best because people will eventually see you in that position or see that you're well-suited for that position.

    I would never wear a golf shirt and khakis at a conference. That's kind of ugly for the occasion nevermind not appropriate.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  11. Apr 15, 2008 #10

    cristo

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    Is this an academic conference, or a poster presentation at some sort of job conference? If the former, wear what you like, but for the latter I'd wear a suit.
     
  12. Apr 15, 2008 #11

    ZapperZ

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    If this is a physics conference, then just make sure you dress decently. It doesn't have to be a suit, although there's nothing wrong with that. You can dress in jeans and shirt if you're more comfortable with that. I've actually given a talk during one of the APS March Meetings in jeans and polo shirt.

    Zz.
     
  13. Apr 15, 2008 #12
    Dont rent a suit it will look bad on you. Suits have to be tailored to your body.

    Wear black pants, a white collar shirt, black socks, black shoes, and a tie with a V-neck sweater over it if you have one.


    You can always one up it and wear sweats and a hoodie.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  14. Apr 15, 2008 #13

    wolram

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    Or be like Cyrus and wear a cardigan with the buttons done up wrongly
     
  15. Apr 15, 2008 #14
    Good advice, but from someone in the corporate world: people (particularly full-blown adult-style people, interviewer people--y'know, that sort) tend to see young adults and immediately tag them as "not so responsible". Dressing formally goes a long way toward minimizing that lable; when in doubt always go for more rather than less formal, especially if you are young. Don't know how well this translates into the scientific world, but it makes sense.

    My advice for scientific presentations, interviews, etc. is to dress as formally as you can without looking ridiculous, keeping in mind that your audience/interviewer will very likely be wearing jeans and a casual top. I usually go for a straight black skirt and a fairly nice sweater/blouse. But if you ain't a girl, that ain't the outfit for you.
    Lisab's proposed outfit sounds mighty good to me!

    Oh--and a tip for all public speakers, regardless of gender: make sure your entire face is visible and not obscured by a hat or your hair.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  16. Apr 15, 2008 #15

    Moonbear

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    Ask your mentor, or other people you know who have attended the conference, about appropriate attire. Different conferences I attend have different expectations of attire.

    One is VERY informal (people come to the sessions in shorts or jeans and t-shirts) and wearing khakis and a golf shirt for giving a poster or presentation is absolutely acceptable. I just came back from a retreat where anyone showing up wearing a tie was told to take it off...it was meant to be casual and relaxed to share ideas, not to impress each other.

    On the other hand, I attend others where khakis and golf shirts are sort of the minimum level of casual for attendees, and people presenting wear dress slacks and dress shirts. At some, people wear suits to give talks.

    However, even when I attend the very casual conference, I've always dressed very nicely for giving presentations...it makes a good impression on the audience. I then change back into comfy clothes right after. But, I don't go so far as to wear a suit because that would stand out as equally inappropriate for that audience as would giving a talk in shorts and t-shirt.

    If you don't know anyone else who has attended that conference before to ask, see if there are any pictures of past events on the website for the conference, and you might get an idea of the range of attire people are wearing from the photos. If you're still not sure, err on the side of over-packing and bring a couple choices of things to wear for your talk so once you see what people are wearing, you can change if necessary for your talk.
     
  17. Apr 15, 2008 #16

    Kurdt

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    Can I ask someone here, what exactly is inappropriate about giving a talk in shorts and a t-shirt? If the answers have nothing to do with the credibility of the talk then there is nothing inappropriate about it.
     
  18. Apr 15, 2008 #17

    D H

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    Best advice yet. If I may add a bit, I suggest determining the typical attire for the conference and dressing a bit better than that. Even in the most formal of conferences a person in a formal tux would look a bit out-of-place and overdressed.

    It does, so get over it. If some candidate comes to an interview dressed in shreds, tats, and rings, sayonara. How a person dresses shows what they think of others and of us.
     
  19. Apr 15, 2008 #18
    Thanks guys. I appreciate the advice. It is an academic thing, so maybe I can get away with the golf shirt and dress pants deal. I have a lot of trouble finding dress clothes that actually fit. I've never found a shirt that I could button up the last 4 or 5 buttons and was actually the proper length. Usually they hang down to my knees. I can imagine finding a proper suit coat would be a disaster. I also can't wear cotton shirts because I sweat like a fat kid waiting for a candy bar even when its 40 degrees outside. Last year I won a scholarship and had to receive it in front of a few hundred people. Aftwards, people told me that I won the sweat scholarship ;).

    As for asking my mentor, I was trying to avoid doing so. I try to hide the fact that im a shmuck when it comes to formalitites and do not fit into academia very well.
     
  20. Apr 15, 2008 #19

    Moonbear

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    If you can't buy shirts off the rack, it's certainly worth getting at least one shirt made or tailored to fit you well...you never know when you'll need to be dressed up for something, and if you require tailoring, you can't run out last minute for that. Wear a white t-shirt under the dress shirt so you don't sweat through!

    Nah, these are the sorts of questions mentors expect. How could you know what is appropriate if you've never been there before? This way, you make sure you don't embarrass your mentor too!

    Kurdt, the reason to dress nicely is to show your respect for the audience. It projects something about your attitude toward them, and it can be, "I respect you and want you to respect me," or it can be, "I'm a careless slob and you shouldn't trust that I put any more care into my work than I did into getting dressed this morning to talk to you."
     
  21. Apr 15, 2008 #20

    Kurdt

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    I'm obviously mental but I thought true respect for people was not pre-judging them by not holding them to any standard, and gaining respect from an audience was done through your work not your attire. Would you dismiss a guy that unified gravity and QM at a conference because he wasn't dressed nicely? Of course not.

    Any way, I am well aware of the real world situation, I just don't think people have their priorities right. Consider anger vented.
     
  22. Apr 15, 2008 #21

    Astronuc

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    Well - I would have no problem with someone who is competent doing a presentation in shorts and a T-shirt - but that's me.

    The chairman of the company wears a vest and tie everyday - to the office or conference. Most other folks wear a tie (with or without vest) when they are presenting a paper, otherwise they might be more causual, i.e. dress shirt and slacks.

    The professional world tends to dress more formally. Until a young person is considered a top expert, he or she should dress more formally if he or she wishes to ascend the ranks.


    Personally, I usually do not wear ties. Most folks would prefer I did.


    At one conference, someone made the comment that I look more biblical every time the addressee sees me. Some folks laughed, others rolled their eyes.

    But then I'm considered one of the top experts in the world in what I do.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  23. Apr 15, 2008 #22

    ZapperZ

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    While this is certainly true, and it is always good to dress up nicely, I think it is less important in physics, where most of the audience are usually dressed sloppily. It definitely depends on the occasion, of course. If you are doing a seminar for a job interview (which is a common requirement in physics), then dressing up like a starving graduate student is definitely a no-no. However, I've seen many people giving a our division's seminar here dressed very casually, some time even in jeans. I think Sean Carrol (of Cosmic Variance fame) may have been one of them. Most people here couldn't care less how a speaker is dressed, as long as it isn't outrageous that it becomes a distraction.

    And if anyone has been to one of the March or April Meetings where thousands of people show up and almost the same number presenting talks, one would have seen people dressed all the way from suits to t-shirt and jeans. As long as it isn't an inappropriate outfit, most don't really care how a person is dressed.

    Zz.
     
  24. Apr 15, 2008 #23
    Astronuc, you are my hero.
     
  25. Apr 15, 2008 #24
    Ideally, talks are given by professionals, not bums in shorts and t-shirts. The talks I have sat in on were at NASA HQ in downtown DC. Everyone was dressed for work, the speaker in a suit. When Generals from the NAVY/ARMY/AIRFORCE come by, you dress professionally and show your work. This is how the real world should work, always, IMO.

    Even the people at McDonalds dont wear shorts, do they?
     
  26. Apr 15, 2008 #25

    D H

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    Take a trip to JPL. The people at McDonalds might not wear shorts and ragged T-shirts, but the folk at JPL sure do. They make the scroungiest physics department look downright formal.

    To the OP: Talk to your mentor. Many, if not most, college kids are clueless regarding the vagaries of the adult world.
     
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