This post’s question came from myself –
What should I wear to South by Southwest (SXSW)?
Most folks know that SXSW has a film and music festival, but not nearly as many people know that it also has an interactive festival, where ideas about social media, technology advancements, social responsibility, entrepreneurship, and design converge. There is a commonly accepted uniform for the ladies of SXSWi, and that is denim shorts, tank tops, and cowboy boots. This year’s festival was marred by torrential rain storms, so the uniform was augmented by hefty sack ponchos and looks of panicked horror as people darted through the flooded streets.
I wasn’t able to document much of the sartorial standouts at SX, because I was reaping what I sowed 18 months ago when I bought an Android phone instead of an iPhone. I was dumb dumb dumb, and you are paying for it by having to read words instead of looking at pictures. You have no idea how sorry I am.
SXSWi is a tough conference to dress for if you aren’t a flag flying Hipster. Rain, mugginess, tons of walking, no access to your hotel during the day, networking, day-to-evening attire… How do you dress for that? The good thing is that the only real fashion mistake you can make is dressing too square. No one cares how casual you take your clothes, so long as you don’t wear dockers or loafers, or (god) a pantsuit. You are better off wearing pajamas than a pair of slacks, so you can dress for comfort and call it rebellion. No one will question it.
I kept it simple with skinny jeans, tissue t’s, cardigans, and my Seattle Special rain coat, which I want to be buried in, because it saved my life this week.
I made two perfect SXSWi decisions this week, and I want to share them with you so that you can benefit from my experience. First, the bag:
The Le Sport Sac Deluxe Every Day bag. It is a cross body bag, so it was easy on my back. It was big enough to carry a pair of flip flops, my cardigan, and any of the ridiculous swag that I picked up (I got drum sticks and an ice cream scooper!), without being overwhelming or heavy. Plus it’s water resistant, so when I was caught in an intense thunder shower, my electronic devices, including my devil Android phone were safely tucked inside, dry as a bone. The bag itself is really light, so the only weight I had to lug around all day was the contents, which included a yoyo and a harmonica. It goes for $78 at Nordstrom, but you can get it at Nordstrom Rack for $40. LOVE IT.
Everyone who has been to SXSW before told me to wear comfortable shoes, so I went on a hunt for the most comfortable shoes I could find, and I found them.
Dr. Scholl’s Women’s Jamie. $50 at DSW. They are supportive, sturdy, comfortable. I tend to prefer a 5″ heel, so it was a personal challenge to go to a conference in a pair of kicks, but it was the right thing to do. I love these shoes and think you should get some. ESPECIALLY if you are on your feet a lot. Trust me.
I supplemented them with my Frye boots, which were perfect for Texas. By the end of the day my dogs were beggin’ for their sneakers back, though.
I hope this helps any of my fellow lady travelers who are about to embark on a similar journey.
What are your must-haves for work trips?