Here is the downside to (predominantly) women's conferences that hasn't been mentioned in any debate over the merits: clothing. Figuring out what to wear and how to navigate a field where fellow bloggers judge you by your shoes is a total pain.
For the first time in about six or seven years, I'm not going to BlogHer, but that has nothing to do with the clothes or the shoes. The upside of BlogHer growing so large is that you can wear whatever you want. Wear a dress, wear shorts (although pack a cardigan or risk freezing due to air conditioning), wear a t-shirt with your Twitter handle written in sequins across your chest (shudder), it doesn't matter.
This year I'm going to Alt Summit, and while everyone I've met online seems really nice, it's definitely a more artistic, fashion-savvy crowd, not to mention it's at the Fairmont, which means my sneakers and capris are staying home. Adding to my panic is that the party theme one night is Alice in Wonderland. I wish I'd know this while I was at Disneyland last; one crazy hat could have solved my problem. Between kids, work, a yet to be unpacked home, and various other time sucks (ants! wonky tire pressure!), throwing together a Queen of Hearts-themed outfit is not going to happen. Do I go hipster or do I dress up?
I ditched work to head to the mall this morning to find a dress and a dressy cardigan. I'm sure there is a name for that - knit bolero? - but I don't know. I bought a dress and two knit boleros (doesn't sound right. Shrunken sweaters?), and as I walked toward the food court to pick up a victorious salad, I checked Facebook where a few people were rallying together to say let's make this casual. Oh no, we will not. I just bought a dress, so this thing is on.
But now the shoes. I may go casual after all.