I Studied Cool Work Outfits to Figure Out What to Wear to a Conference

Workwear might be the chicest way to dress, period. 

Even on the weekends, I like to lean into business casual–inspired attire such as button-down shirts, wide-leg trousers, and oversize totes. Tailoring is also a great aspect of workwear that I must touch on.

My friend has her first-ever work conference coming up, and she is really excited but has no idea what to wear. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to make a few suggestions for her. She’s after pieces that she can style in multiple ways since she’s only traveling with a carry-on and may need to rewear a thing or two. She has a more minimalistic wardrobe, something I love about her, but would go for a striped moment or a unique outerwear piece. Below, find 10 outfits to wear for a work conference.


(Image credit: @leiasfez)

Contrary to popular belief a black suit is anything but boring. Don't underestimate the power of suiting. When you walk into the room, people will just assume you're important. Every time you wear it, try pairing it with different accessories, and you'll never get bored.

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @aida.bdji)

Introducing the new prep. Fashion people are all over the idea of taking classic preppy items and styling them in an elevated way. This is an easy way to instantly look polished and play with layers on your work trip.

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @josefinehj)

When it comes to workwear, rotating cotton poplin button-down shirts is always the move, but if you occasionally get bored of them, you need to try this. Vertical stripes are low-key so flattering. Try a striped shirt for fresh look.

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

Let your inner Elle Woods out while introducing yourself to people at your work conference. A dash of pink will easily make your business-casual wardrobe feel like a lot more fun. Plus, a pink skirt is something you can wear to everything on the calendar.

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @erinoffduty)

Outerwear will be key when planning your work trip because you're most likely just packing a carry-on (meaning there's only room for one good coat). Nothing says "nice to meet you" better than a statement faux-fur number.

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @tylynnnguyen)

You'll instantly strike a pose in an outfit like this. This is the kind of work-conference outfit that will make everyone want to introduce themselves to you. Hello, new friends!

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @iliridakrasniqi)

If you're lucky enough to get away with wearing jeans at the conference, I encourage you to take the opportunity in full force. Whenever you want your denim to look more elevated, go for a dark wash.

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @endlesslyloveclub)

With the return of skinny pants nearing, I'm planning to ease into them. A skinny flare is a great way to do that. Pairing it with an oversize blazer creates interesting proportions. 

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @fakerstrom)

My inner prep-school child is all about this look. A blazer, classic skirt, and loafers will be the kind of work-conference outfit that you'll want to wear on the weekends too.

Shop the look:


(Image credit: @anoukyve)

Release your inner Chanel and Celine girl with a French-inspired tweed jacket. Nothing says "I mean business" better than a bit of tweed.

Shop the look:

Up Next: True Fashion People Are Rule Breakers—8 Ways They're Wearing White Denim Now

Associate Editor

Sierra Mayhew was always destined to work in fashion, but she didn't know it at first. Growing up with no choice but to wear a rotation of school uniforms and activewear, her love for fashion really blossomed when she moved away for college and was able to finally define her very own personal style. Shortly thereafter, she interned at Elle magazine and instantly knew that editorial was for her. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, she worked for ShopBazaar, contributing regularly to Bazaar.com, and finally made her way to Who What Wear, where she is an associate editor. When she’s not working, you can catch her always trying to catch a flight, rollerblading through New York City traffic, or exploring the latest luxury vintage boutique.