It’s a fine question. What should you wear? You can probably find hundreds of articles out there on what to wear when attending a writers’ conference, especially if you’re pitching an agent. As a veteran conference person, let me offer a few tips.
Dress to the nines! Wear your Sunday’s best!
Okay, after you’ve picked up your jaw, let me give you the real scoop: wear whatever is comfortable for you. If you enjoy wearing jeans and a t-shirt, do it. If you like some nice chinos and a turtleneck sweater–go for it!
There are typically two trains of thought on what to wear.
One says, dress like you’re going to a job interview since you will be talking to an agent. Always remember, two things: The agent actually works for you, not you for them! So you’re really the one giving an interview here. (turned those tables around on you didn’t I :-) Secondly, as long as you don’t look like a slob, you’ll probably be just fine. The agent isn’t going to critique the fact that you’re not wearing the latest New York fashions. As long as you look somewhat professional, you should be okay. And yeah, you probably should look professional to some degree, this is your career we’re talking about here.
The other train of thought is that you can wear whatever the hell you want! You’re a writer, man! Don’t box you in! You’re an artist with words! You gotta be who you gotta be, and not get pushed down by the man!
Well, yeah. You can come in flip flops, your Superman PJ’s and your hair in a pink mohawk. We’ll let you in. But you might give the wrong impression to the agent that you’re not taking your career seriously, so why should they?
But let me close (clothes?) with this: You can come in dressed like Zippy the Squirrel Clown, carrying bagpipes and smelling like a fishery at closing time…but if your writing is stellar and your story is compelling and an agent is blown away by it…your clothes won’t matter.
Remember, it’s all about the writing.
Jason Myers was the director of the 2012 DFW Writers’ Conference. Originally posted March 2012.