Monday, March 28, 2016

Introducing the PPWC's Dress Code -- Sort of

By: Darby Karchut

First of all, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference is a fun conference, filled with kind-hearted people. It’s not a middle school lunch room. You and I, and all the other writers/authors/agents/publishers, are the cool kids. And there’s loads of room at this cool kids’ table, no matter what you are wearing.

That said, here are a few sartorial tips that might help you decide what to pack:

Most important thing to wear is a smile. It makes you feel good and makes others around you feel good. You’ll never know how your friendly face might ease another person’s anxiety.

Go with comfortable business casual. Certainly, jeans and a tee shirt are just fine, too, unless you are pitching to an agent or editor. Then, better to dress up than dress down. But, don’t fret if you don’t have anything fancy. Even clean jeans and a pressed shirt or blouse are fine. Unless you have a medical reason, I’d shy away from yoga pants or sweat pants.

Plan on being on your feet walking around and standing in lines. Sure, you’ll be sitting a lot, too, but comfortable shoes are always in style. Speaking of style, I heard rumors that a pair of low top Converse (a black sparkly pair) will be making their debut appearance.


Comfort and Stylin' 

Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy-schmancy cocktail dress or snappy suit for the Friday or Saturday dinners. What you wore during the day will be fine for dinner. Here’s what the conference folks told me: “All meals are casual, except Saturday’s banquet, which ranges from casual to cocktail dress (some people will wear jeans, some formal gowns—it's entirely up to attendees). There will be no costume or themed nights this year.”

Dress in layers. I would err on the side of assuming the conference rooms will be warmer than colder. Outside the hotel? It’s Colorado. In the spring. The weather is extremely unpredictable. No. Seriously. Assume we will have winterspringsummerfall on any given day. Heck, during any given hour. Again, layers are really the best choice. You’ll be taking stuff off and putting it back on again all day.


Be aware of the size of your briefcase or laptop case or purse. The dining hall can be a death trap for the wait-staff because of these. I have yet to see a lunch or dinner go by without someone tripping over a briefcase or purse, or snagging their toes in the strap. Place your case or purse under the table and between your feet, or under your chair. Just make sure those straps or handles are tucked away.  

Carry breath mints or gum. Watch the amount of perfume or aftershave.   

Leave your favorite superhero or heroine outfit at home. 

Business cards: if you have some, bring them. All you need on your card is your name, email (website or blogsite if you have one), and your phone number. There are loads of inexpensive sites online that will print up a small batch for you. You don’t need a ton of cards, just enough to use, so order the minimum, because you’ll make different ones as your career progresses. It’s a business card, not a marriage. And if you don’t have or want business cards, it is no big deal either.

Remember that smile. You’re with fellow writers and book lovers. And we’re all here for the same reason: making our dreams come true.

About the Writer: Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. She's been known to run in blizzards and bike in lightning storms. A former middle school teacher, she now divides her time between dodging death by Colorado and writing urban fantasy for tweens, teens, and adults. Darby has also recently dipped the toes of her running shoes into contemporary fiction. 

Best thing ever: her debut novel, Griffin Rising, has been optioned for film.