What I am Wearing to Blogher and Why it Matters or Doesn’t

Sorry, no retro food discussion, but there is a picture of a retro dress.

The Internet is abuzz with discussion of what to wear at BlogHer. It alway has been that way. In fact, it is the topic of one of my very first blog posts. The talk hit a fever pitch yesterday with the news that some guy named Tim Gunn will be there. Also, Carson from Queer Eye will be there. This troubled some people who think that Being taken seriously means not being concerned about appearance.

Ok, here is the deal…you can see exactly what I will wear at BlogHer: (yes, feel free to give lots of hearts to my styleboard and play at Kaboodle…not because you love me or anything but because it is one of my most favorite places online.–totally unsponsored love of Kaboodle)

What I Will...
What I Will… by tarrant

Sort of…you see, I usually end up wearing swag shirts…and usually a coffee spill or two. The two shirts pictured–my current favorite shirt from Threadless….not a swag shirt and the brand new Retro-Food shirt I made up at Zazzle when I created this year’s business cards. (I really might end up wearing my Saving Grace shirt from last year’s BlogHer. It has held up well to my wear and tear.) The dress from AudreyGrace won’t look quite like that one but close. The laptop bag will actually be swag from the 07 BlogHer conference and quite simply the most perfect laptop bag I have ever owned.

I am serious about my blog. But, BlogHer for me is…casual. I am a casual person. I work from home. I own a couple of business outfits that I will pull out should I speak at a different sort of conference or get called to travel to my day job. I could wear those.

I won’t. This is a blogging conference. I get to be who I am on my blog…ME. The person who blogs here is not a person who wears a power suit. It isn’t a dressy woman. It isn’t a woman who packs multiple pairs of shoes to go on vacation. It is who you will see on the style board. It is who you will see at BlogHer.

But, this will be my fourth BlogHer conference. I know what to expect. I know that people will wear clothes from all ends of the spectrum. From super business like…to super casual. No conference I have ever been to has had quite the array of fashion choices as BlogHer…including other large women’s conferences I have attended.

The first year I went, I was nervous about what to wear, but I had found what I thought were the perfect pair of shoes, so I was confident I could pull anything off. I didn’t wear most of what I packed. I did wear the perfect shoes…which WERE perfect except for the fact that I hadn’t actually ever worn them except to try them on and didn’t realize that 18 hours in them would kill.

The second year, I decided to dress for the cocktail parties because it would be fun. (The clothes were fun. The blisters from shoes I didn’t wear often-NOT FUN-meeting someone who noticed my bleeding ankle and offered me a band-aid-priceless. My son would also say the way I rocked the one dress was priceless.)

Last year, I didn’t dress for cocktail parties. I wore comfortable shoes and clothes.

This year, I will be wearing a dress on Friday night…on account of the Community Keynote. It is a dress I have daydreamed off and on about since getting this blog and attending this conference with this blog as my primary blog. I probably wouldn’t have gotten it this year except for the keynote…but believe me…we have been looking for THE Retro-Food dress for years.

Back to the being taken seriously. My son has sweated far more over what to wear to BlogHer this year than anyone else. He wants to project the right geek image. My partner will dig out a couple of pairs of pants and some clean shirts and throw them in the suitcase. She will probably wear her Blogher Chucks. The daughter going has a cocktail dress she thinks she wants to wear to the parties. (yes, my 13 yo daughter owns cocktail dresses. Don’t ask.)

My ex-husband has been known to carefully consider what image he will project before he opens his mouth with his clothing choices for conferences, seminars, etc. No, he doesn’t talk about it online (that I know of), but I know he thinks about it and talks about it (or at least earlier in his career talked about it) with his co-workers, mentors, and family. I know a common lament of new professors, male and female, is that there is no class in how to dress for success as young professors in grad school.

So, BlogHer Conference Attendees talk about it online with their “co-workers” (because that indeed is what other BlogHers are in a way), mentors, and family. They also may not attend many conferences or a totally different type of conference. They might need to know the practical details (Wear COMFORTABLE SHOES and that beautiful shirt that looks great on you but has the buttons that don’t stay buttoned and bug you–SKIP IT). They may want to project a certain image regarding their blog and don’t know quite how to approach combining their personal appearance with their blog’s topic, look, and feel. So, they ask. They fret. They show off. They share their knowledge.

Does that mean one sponsor booth with a “Booth Babe” is causing a step back in a woman’s right to be recognized online and taken seriously? Nope. It means that BlogHer is diverse and full of beautiful women (and every single one of them is beautiful) at varying places in their evolution as bloggers and conference attendees. It means a Tide/Bounce Booth Babe (Tim Gunn) looks and acts very different than a Nintendo Booth Babe or the traditional Microsoft Booth Babe at other conferences.


  1. Can I just say how much I love that you just called Tim Gunn a “booth babe.” Because he is.

    Can’t wait to see you in your community keynote retro-food-representing dress fabulousness.

  2. LOL Maria. Thanks. Well, he is. A lot of flurry over one little booth babe. I am sure I will find a lot of great booth babes to chat up though. 😉

  3. “This troubled some people who think that Being taken seriously means not being concerned about appearance.”

    Actually that’s not true. I think it’s important to be concerned about appearance. I think it’s important to look our best. I think first impressions are very important …and I enjoy dressing for various occasions. I have dozens f shoes and sometimes buy the shoes before I have an outfit to match. I love dressing up.

    This isn’t about fashion at all, however.

    Apparently my post gave many people the impression that I think women should attend conferences all slovenly with disregard for ther personal appearance, and that wasn’t the intent at all.

    My point is that conferences are more than fashion – and the content and the connections should be front and center – not what everyone’s wearing.

  4. “I get to be who I am on my blog…ME. The person who blogs here is not a person who wears a power suit.”

    TW, can I be you when I grow up?

    As I said in my post, I’m wearing what I wear pretty much every day. I haven’t planned what I’m wearing to the conference. It will depend on my mood and what’s still clean in my suitcase. Maybe it will be an ac/dc tshirt. Maybe it will be a pencil skirt. Both are equally me and in my regular wardrobe rotation.

  5. Rochelle says:

    I wore new shoes to a conference once too. Ouch, what a way to learn not to make that mistake. I think it doesn’t really matter what type of outfit the person wears as long and they feel comfortable and confident wearing it. The conference sounds like it will be very enjoyable. Have a great time.

  6. No, you can’t be me Sassymonkey. You have to be you. 😉 Really this goes back to something boy child knows about me that the girls don’t quite understand. If you don’t remember the post where I mentioned that…it is in the first post talking about picking out my dress on this blog.

    He knows that I am NOT JUST the mom who wears jeans and a Melissa T-shirt or swag shirt. He knows I am the woman who can rock a dress. He knows that I am a woman who can be confident and self-assured or quiet and withdrawn. I am “mommy” who cuddles. I am Mom who makes horrible meals sometimes. I am a mixture of old-fashioned and yet hip in ways that other mothers are not. He has sorted out that clothing can “look like me” without being something he has ever seen me wear or looking like the me the girls see.

  7. Yes, new shoes or shoes that are not comfortable can be the WORST part of a conference. I sometimes think conferences should end up like high school dances, with all the shoes in a pile on the side.

    Thanks Rochelle. I am sure I will upload video, so you can see a bit of me.

  8. Deb,

    I phrased that wrong. I think I phrased it better this morning when I replied on your blog. I am not the “work me” when I go to this conference. I am the “retro-food blog” me.

    If my day job company had me on a panel or had me attending as a representative of their company–then of course, I would present myself differently.

    I have err four pairs of shoes right now. My daughter’s wedding this spring and the fact we moved somewhere where I had to have boots all winter doubled my shoe collection this year, more than doubled.

    The content and connections will be front and center. The agenda speaks for itself.

    The sponsors are always a hot topic and how they interact with the audience also hot. Let us not forget the furor over the very small babydoll tank tops (Trojan?) and pasties (oh, I don’t remember who handed them out off the top of my head, but I believe they are still in the cubby in the room my mom sleeps in) in San Jose or the (horror!) Butterball Potholders (loved-but many were insulted) the year after in Chicago.

    I think swag recycling last year took some of the complaints out of the actual swag…but then there were those who thought there was too much stuff for parents of preschoolers. Sort of agreed but um, that little flip cube from PBS, such a great fidget toy in this house that each died and was mourned even though we have no preschool children anymore.

    I am mixed on sponsors in some ways. Yay! Sponsors….allow me to attend a world class conference for far less money outlay on my part as an attendee than if there were no sponsors. (Those who complain about the cost of BlogHer tix…have you seen the prices of other national conferences? eek) Sponsors provide as I said, much of my yearly wardrobe. The Topix power bars from last year can be found in every suitcase in this house as well as many outlets. Sesame Street mousepad keeps coffee stains off my desk. Flash drives from sponsors keep our lives sane in so many ways. But, many companies have gotten a human face for me at Blogher. (I have an affection for T-Mobile that won’t quit after several conversations with them last year, even though we are an iPhone family).

    I tend to think of sponsors at BlogHer like I think of my drugstore or supermarket. They have products advertised that I wouldn’t in a million years buy and may object to strongly. I won’t stop going to the local pharmacy just because they sell Axe body products to men. I just don’t buy.

  9. I’m loving that green dress! Anything even similar would be cool. Too bad my huge baby belly won’t be fitting a dress that looks anything like that for months.

    I like to tell people you need to wear what makes you feel like a million bucks. Typically that will be something that’s appropriate for the occasion, but it’s still you. I think it’s great you’re doing that.

  10. That green dress is right up my alley. I’m so glad you turned me on to that etsy shop! I need a dress for a thing this fall.

    I’m now very sad that I won’t be at BlogHer this year. I’d love to see the dress in person and I didn’t realize Tim Gunn and Carson would be there. Damn.

  11. Thanks TJ. And huge baby bellies are beautiful without stitch on them.

    Chilihead–enjoy the Etsy shop.

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