Should Event Teams Suit Up or Dress Down?

Author: Convene Editors       

5 trends

To dress up or dress down? (Photo Credit Adobe Stock)

Convene frequently features some of the most popular topics being discussed on PCMA’s Catalyst forum, which offers members a platform to — as the website says — communicate and collaborate. Here’s a selection from a recent Catalyst discussion.

Dress Casual

“Our team is considering moving from a traditional business attire for staff at our annual meeting to branded polo shirts or [something] similar,” Paula Fauth, events & business development for the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals, wrote on the PCMA Catalyst forum. “Can anyone speak to the pros and/or cons based on experience? From a staff perspective as well as member/attendee perspective? Our members tend to dress more casual and relaxed. Thank you.”


That is funny that you asked this, because I work for a business school and I put my student event staff in branded polos for our annual philanthropic event. My event client freaked out because they weren’t in “business attire,” however, my guests were in business casual and when I put business students in business attire I can’t tell them apart from my guests. Neither can the guests. I needed to showcase my students a bit more, and the guests loved it. They could easily identify which people in the room were students. It was more appropriate for the type of event and the students didn’t feel so awkward being overdressed. I say try it!

— Angela Senter, event coordinator, Carson College, Washington State University


For my production team, I put them in branded shirts. We provide the same shirts to our executive advisory council to wear on the first day for the first-timers event. The only rule I have is that all shirts be ironed and professional looking. I also provide them enough shirts to get through the week. They can wear a sweater or long sleeves, if a polo. It has helped our attendees to know who to go to for assistance. For our volunteers, we provide “I can help” buttons.

— Donna Jarvis-Miller, CMP, CEM, director, membership and events, American Public Human Services Association