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PIMP YOUR STYLE: How to Make Your Writer's Wardrobe Work For You
by Diane Vallere

I'm guessing we've all heard the advice to start building your brand the second you decide you want to write for profit. Many of us started a website before we finished the first draft of our first draft. Our online presences are carefully constructed works of art: the photo we chose after bypassing thousands we didn't like, the bio that hints at our platform and our voice, and the blurbs that tease better than a high class call girl. But what happens when we have to turn on the lights and step in front of the very people we've been asking to leave the price of an ebook on our bedside table?

When you attend a writer's conference or convention, you become a hyper-version of you. You are a walking representation of your brand. How you conduct yourself-and how you look-are important elements to your success. You want to get noticed, but not for the wrong reasons. Here are a few tips how:

Red light district or blue light special?

Color can be your best friend. Are you promoting a book? If so, is there a predominant color palette to the cover? Consider your ARC or your personal copy to be an accessory to your outfit and dress to match it. If your book is purple, make purple your signature color for the conference. Maybe a purple dress on day one, purple scarf day two, purple shoes day three. People will notice you the first day. They'll come talk to you on day two and three.

Rely on the kindness of strangers.

You might have the most awesome network of close, personal friends who want nothing more than to see you succeed, but they might not know how to tell you they always thought your obsession with beige was unhealthy. Shopping with a friend rarely works. Why not? You see each other the way you've always seen each other. While this is one of the most awesome things about friendship, it's not so good when it comes to trying something new. You might never try on the perfect dress because it looks like nothing on the hanger and your friend tells you not to try it. These are the kinds of things professionals are there for, and the best thing is that you get their advice for free.

Rely on pins and needles.
If your clothes are too tight, too baggy, too short, or too long, people will notice. Check how your clothes look from the front and the back. If your skirt rides up in the back, it's not the right skirt for you. If your pants are so tight they're on the brink of bursting at the seams, consider how it would look if they did burst at the seams. In front of your dream agent. Right after you gave a fantastic pitch. Ask yourself what they'll remember: your pitch or your pooch? That's right. Most dry cleaners will do alterations for you for a low cost, and most can easily tell what needs to be done simply by seeing you in the clothes. Getting your clothes to fit right is well worth the money.

It's what's on the inside that counts.
You probably know if you are a woman, you need a bra. But that's not the only undergarment you should think about. Panty lines and excessive jiggle are not good. There's a reason the inventor of Spanx is now on the Forbes Rich List. Her unmentionables make clothes look better on without forcing you to trade your diet of cupcakes for celery stalks.

Comfort is best left for ice cream and stuffed animals.

There's not a person among us who isn't more comfortable in stretchy pants and a soft T-shirt, but going to a writer's convention is not about comfort. While I'm not suggesting you get yourself strapped into a corset for the event, I do think it's a good idea to think about structure. A blazer, twinset, or cardigan is going to look better than a sweatshirt with cats on the front, even if you write cat-fiction. You can change into your cat sweatshirt when it's time to retire to your room. Unless you have a roommate.

Don't mistake "appropriate" for "boring"

I convinced you to leave your cat sweatshirt in a drawer at home, but that doesn't mean you should abandon your sense of whimsy in the drawer with it. You already know not to write the boring parts of a story. Now it's time to apply the same thought process to your conference wardrobe. Find what represents YOU and make it part of your conference look. Maybe you love chandelier earrings. Maybe you love shoes. Make that one category your signature for the conference. "Great earrings!" you'll hear on day one. "Another pair of great earrings!" you might hear on day two. And guess what people will be thinking about on day three? "I wonder what kind of earrings she'll have on today?"

When the opportunity for marketing through social media exploded, the first thing we all learned (either through the grapevine or by experience)was to NOT talk about our books. Twasn't easy, we found, but nothing good in life really is. We had to figure out how to make people like us for who we are and what we represented, so hopefully they'd pick up our works, expecting them to be an extension of our online persona. Your conference clothing is going to do the same thing for you. Your goal? To look interesting enough that people what to know more about you and what you write. Don't let wacky clothes take away from your empire. Pimp your style and let your wardrobe work for you!


Visit Diane's website

Purchase Designer Dirty Laundry at the AdC Bookstore

Read Diane's AdC Review of Designer Dirty Laundry

Coming Soon...PILLOW STALK

Designer Dirty Laundry


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Melody said...

Well this put clothing in a whole new light! It was fun to read and informative. Thanks

Posted June 7, 2012 04:15 PM | Reply to this comment

Diane Vallere replied to Melody...

Thanks, Melody. Repeat after me: sweatpants are not an option! Thanks for reading!

Posted June 7, 2012 08:24 PM | Reply to this comment

Parker said...

I think women who dress up and look professional are more successful. Many years ago I recall a book that came out called Dress for Success. Obviously, there is something behind the thought. Besides, doesn't it feel great when you dress nice and look nice. It changes the whole attitude when you feel good about looking at yourself in the mirror.

Posted June 8, 2012 08:34 AM | Reply to this comment

Hope Tarr said...

Thanks for the informative post. All good advice! The bottom line here is that others treat us the way we treat ourselves. I've come to think of dressing nicely at conferences and professional events (and elsewhere) as an expression of self love. It says, in a single sweeping glance, "I know I'm worth it and you should know it, too!" Not sure you're savvy with what "nice" and "professional" means today? I'd recommend watching back episodes of "What NOT to Wear." Hosts Clinton & Stacy know their stuff, and I appreciate that they work with women as we are, not after we've lost X lbs. or undergone a nip n' tuck. ;) Below is the link to my blog on my April conference month travel with, yes, pictures!

Posted June 8, 2012 12:24 PM | Reply to this comment

Warren Bull said...

I like to show up dressed like on of my characters in period costume. It makes for interesting conversations.

Posted June 8, 2012 06:10 PM | Reply to this comment

Diane Vallere replied to Parker...

Parker, There's definitely something to be said for the Dress for Success concept. One of my all-time favorite movies, Working Girl, demonstrates it better than I ever could!

Posted June 9, 2012 11:14 AM | Reply to this comment

Diane Vallere replied to Hope Tarr...

Hope, What Not to Wear is one of my favorite shows! Yes, Stacy and Clinton know their stuff (and, at times, I find myself channelling them when I'm in a fitting room with a customer).

Posted June 9, 2012 11:16 AM | Reply to this comment

Diane Vallere replied to Warren Bull...

Warren, I'm sure you start interesting conversations, but what's even better is that they are interesting conversations *about your books*! Remembering why you're at the convention to begin with helps make those important wardrobe choices.

Posted June 9, 2012 11:19 AM | Reply to this comment

Kathy Waller said...

"If your pants are so tight they're on the brink of bursting at the seams, consider how it would look if they did burst at the seams." Wise advice, memorably stated. I'll always carry the image of pants bursting at the seams.

Posted June 10, 2012 07:04 PM | Reply to this comment

Pam said...

LOL when I read that all I kept picturing was the agent getting binged in the head with a button...

Posted June 11, 2012 08:06 AM | Reply to this comment

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