What to wear to Blissdom

by Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Today’s post veers from the norm here on Simple Mom. I much prefer to write posts that would appeal to the mass of readers (parents, people interested in simple living), but I’ve had more than a few people ask me what they should wear to Blissdom in a few weeks.

So I thought it would be fun to discuss the topic of what to wear to blog conferences, since they’re getting more and more popular, and because there are so many first timers attending Blissdom.

If you’re like me, you don’t have gobs of money. You also spend most of your days wearing jeans and almost clean t-shirts with hints of spit-up on the shoulder. Blissdom is one of the few times per year when you’ll solely be among adults for several days*, so it’s rather exhilarating to think of getting out of your yoga pants and putting on some jewelry.

*Unless you’re like me this year, wearing your most valuable accessory — a baby.

The following list could be applied to other work conferences as well, of course, but since Blissdom is on the horizon for quite a few of us, I’ll be referencing it here.

Hear are some basic suggestions for what to wear to Blissdom — or any work conference — when you spend most of your days in carpool.

1. Jeans

Photo by FaceMePLS

Yep, jeans. You can wear jeans. Don’t feel like this is a power suit thing. Sure, some people will be dressier than others, but don’t feel like you have to get all business-y to fit in.

Bring your nicer jeans — the darker the rinse, the more easily you can dress them up. I like to travel light, so I only bring one pair.

2. Layers

The Opryland Hotel is huge, and there’s a wide variety of temperatures throughout the building. I felt like I was constantly taking on and off my jacket last year. Wear layers, just in case your body temps ebb and flow, like mine.

Cardigans are great for this, as are scarves and shawls. Lisa Leonard does a fabulous job at layering — check her “What I wore Wednesday” series for inspiration.

3. One “out on the town” outfit

Thursday night is a concert at one of the hotel’s cocktail lounges, so make this the evening you wear something fun. Break out a dress if you don’t normally get a chance to wear one! Heck, follow Robin’s lead and wear a ballroom dress:

Photo by Mommin’ It Up

But honestly, if you don’t feel like dressing up, no worries. Be comfortable. It’s a night of fun, so if dresses drive you nuts, then jeans are perfectly fine.

4. Modest pajamas

Friday night is a “girls’ night in,” and wearing your pajamas is welcome here. But if you’re like me, you’ll want to get in your lounge wear daily, as soon as the evening hits. Bring jammies you don’t mind being seen in.

5. Fun shoes

Never have I seen so many cute pairs of shoes in one room than at Blissdom. No pressure, though — if you bring one to two neutral pairs, a super-comfy pair (more on that below), and a fun, just-for-the-heck-of-it pair, you should be fine.

Photo by Banoootah_qtr

6.Comfy  shoes

This hotel is huge. I was floored how much I had to walk between my room and the conference rooms — about a third of the way from the main session back to my room, I had to take off my shoes to keep walking.

Bring some really comfortable shoes. Don’t be shy about wearing them for the actual conference, but if you’d rather wear shoes that are more cute than comfy, toss a small pair of flip flops in your purse, and switch them out on your way back to your room.

With all these ideas, I plan to find my outfits at thrift stores, like I do with 99 percent of everything else I wear.

Your ideas on Twitter

This weekend I asked on Twitter what some of you are planning on wearing to Blissdom. Here are your responses:

@dutchbeingme I’m going to be comfortable (jeans/nice shirts) during conferece. Nightly parties vary from dress w/ boots to casual. #blissdom

@SippyCupMom Jeans, shirts and cardigans during day (Obsessed with cardigans!) and jeans and dressier shirts at night! #Blissdom

@CheleChestnut I’m undecided. Probably will take a bit of comfortable and a bit of dressy! Mixing it up! #Blissdom

@amyturnsharp Starting to freak out. I have 2 conferences in Jan. Thinking some dress over jean combos. Spanx. Heels. Red lips. Wicked grin.

@GoGingham Lipstick.

@shellthings comfy yet cute clothes. And BONUS: no snot or dirt from my kids! #blissdom

@Tiffanyblogs I’m thinking jeans with stylish (yet comfy) tops. Maybe one thing that is dressier for evening. Keeping it simple!

@PensieveRobin Dress for #Blissdom? Last year, the Princess dress http://bit.ly/9nCasY ~ This year? A goldish 70s retro jumpsuit! #IFI’mbrave 😉

@simplebites Comfort is key! And for me that means leggings and a cozy sweater –with a great pair of earrings, of course. #blissdom

@Holly_Hanna I’m going to wear some nice trouser jeans, cute cardigans, and boots. #Blissdom

@TheChattyMomma Bring casual clothes that can be dressed up & down to #BlissDom & you’ll fit right into any situation!

@beautyandbedlam Definitely going with my Frugal Fashionista style. Second hand designer finds, all the way. :) #blissdom

@womanonajourney will be wearing jeans, sweaters, and comfortable loafers during the day sessions. #blissdom and @womanonajourney thursday night is a LBD with tall black boots. Friday night is pajama party, which means sweats, a hoodie! And warm slippers!

@LivingMyMoMent Got a sweatshirt made for my sponsor that I will during the day and will prob do dress at night or blk pants & shirt #Blissdom

@NoFlashCards my baby but under the ergo and baby will be cardigans , jeans , a slimming tank holding in my post baby muffin top 😉

@simpleschool I plan on wearing whatever you tell me to wear. 😉 #blissdom

@sthrnfairytale comfortable 😉 flip flops, boots, jeans, skirts, dresses, cute and comfy.. clothes that are ME :-) and make me feel good.

@FoodforMyFamily I have mostly jeans and sweaters, cute Ts, one “professional” dress, one casual dress, heels, boots, Converse.

@SweetSadieMarie jeans, tops, accessories, cardigans, a dress, boots, comfy shoes, accessories… #blissdom

@afamiliarpath jeans and boots and some extra layers because i’m rooming with @eclecticwhatnot and she’s hot! #Blissdom

@brigidday Sweater dresses (I’m avoiding all things that button.)

@familybringsjoy Something comfy!

Look for your Prep for Blissdom package in the mail this week. In it, my friend Mandi of Life Your Way created a handy checklist of what you should bring — not just clothing, but business essentials as well.

If you’re going to Blissdom — what are you wearing? Or if you’re not, what are your essentials for packing for a business trip?

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  1. Great tips. Boots are the thing – they are fun, and also? FLAT. Win-win.

  2. I’m with Em … boots. My comfy boots.

    You’re getting me all excited now!

    And I SO remember Robin’s dress from last year! :)

  3. Gracious. I have no idea. So glad you posted this morning.

  4. Great article, Tsh!
    Can’t wait to see you again this year!
    Comfy and clothes that make you feel good – that’s what I’m wearing 😉

  5. Thank you for this list, Tsh! As a first timer to Blissdom, I really appreciate the round up of ideas and tips :-)

    Since I’m in that not-quite-pregnant-enough-to-need-maternity clothes yet can’t button my pants stage, I did a little thrift store shopping myself this past weekend.

    I’m definitely going for comfortable and familiar (I can’t imagine not bringing my converse) but slightly amplified from my usual mommy-at-home attire. Lots of dresses w/ leggings and my favorite pair of jeans (thanks to a friend who told me about belly bands this weekend) and any excuse to show off some of my favorite jewelry and cutest shoes is welcome :-)

    I’m SO looking forward to this … and to future conferences to come! :-)

  6. This is almost the exact same advice I give for packing light for most trips!

  7. Love all these ideas! Can’t wait to meet you Tsh!

  8. Great post! I love getting advice from the veterans! I haven’t decided what I’m packing yet, but I have a better idea thanks to the Twitter stream and posts like this. :)

  9. How cool to see my photo up on top? :)
    One helpful thing for me was a backup outfit/shoe combo. By the night of the concert, my ankles had swollen horribly – I mean like scary, I went to the doctor later horribly. They hurt and needed covered and supported, so I wore a dress that I had packed as a back-up (I drive, so I had more room) with a pair of boots. I got so many compliments, as opposed to people saying “what in the world is wrong with your feet?”
    I’m packing a dress with boots again, even though I think the freaky ankle thing is much more under control…
    Which reminds me: do NOT forget to take your regulars meds and vitamins and drink plenty of water. :)

    • Great points, Dawn! The water is a must — bring a water bottle, everybody.

      And thanks for making your photo available under the CC license. :) You do great work.

  10. Such a great article – thanks!! SO helpful. Also, wow…I thought I was excited before, but now squ… No. I will not squee until my Blissdom package gets here. Must save energy. :)

  11. Great post Tsh! I am getting so excited I am about to burst! But on the other hand I am freaking out about being away from home for 5 days! Who will take care of the dogs? The husband? The 2 grown kids who still live at home?
    I do want to second the bringing of a little pair of flipflops or flats to wear when walking and switch to your *cuter* shoes when you reach your destination. haven’t been to many blog conferences, but been to plenty of corporate ones!

  12. I just got back Saturday from a Stampin’ Up convention at this same resort/convention center, and holy cow — you are NOT kidding, it is gigantic! Good advice all around! :)

  13. Thanks for the inside look at what is a complete other world to me. :) Have fun!

  14. This is helpful – it will be my first Blissdom conference too. I am definitely going casual. I was exhausting by all the dressing-up events at Blogher and don’t want to repeat that!

  15. avatar
    Kristi @ Creative Kristi says:

    Great post!! I’ve been planning all week! I, too, will be wearing my baby (7 months old) at least part of the time (hubby is coming to watch her when I’m in sessions). Cant wait to meet you!

  16. Dark wash jeans, layers and interesting, yet walkable shoes. Sounds like a good plan for everyday life, too 😉

  17. I think Blissdom sounds like fun- I live too far away, however.

    Speaking of what to wear…http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com/2011/01/when-judgemental-thoughts-attack.html

  18. Love #Blissdom, love the variety of outfits everyone wears. Thinking maybe I should avoid heels, since the comments I ALWAYS get are, “you are SO tall”! LOL

    • That’s funny — the comment I always get is, “I had no idea you were so short!” Apparently the way I write is that of a tall person, not someone with a 5’2 frame. :)

  19. Firm believer in what we all need to have for dressing simply and nicely. So wish I were going to Blissdom this year but I’ll know what to pack next year 😉

  20. Wish I could go. I look forward to reading all of your blogs and seeing lots of pictures about it!

  21. Before kids, I traveled Monday – Thursday for my job. The rule I always followed when traveling for business was to give each week a color theme. I had a “brown” week, a “black” week, and a “blue” week. Each week, I built all my outfits around one pair of shoes, and one belt of that week’s color. I only had to take accessories that coordinated with that color. This plan helped me travel across the country with only one pair of dress shoes!

  22. I’m a jeans and cute shirt gal. I also have a love affair with cardigans so I will have a few with me. For nights I am bringing dresses. I rarely get a chance to dress up.

  23. Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I just sent it to my husband with the plea: “Can I go to Target on Sunday for about 10 hours?”

    I haven’t been away from my husband and 4 boys for about a year – I can’t wait to meet some of you fine ladies! Heck – I can’t wait to just be AROUND some ladies….

    – Jamie

  24. Thanks Tsh! I would have missed packing a few things if I hadn’t ready this! Looking forward to meeting you!

  25. Thanks for this post… I wasn’t really sure what to expect at Blissdom. Can’t wait!

  26. Thanks for this! I just signed up, it’s my first blogging conference, and I’m clueless!

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