At this national conference in San Francisco, I knew that lots of people would be interested in how Joyce “turned out,” so I planned my conference attire carefully. I know it sounds silly, but what else can you control besides your presentation? I orchestrated my 4 days at the conference to represent Joyce (or different parts of Joyce) accurately and professionally, not too frilly and not too butch. What I was hoping was that friends and colleagues would recognize the old me in the new presentation.
I began with black cord pants, tailored white dress shirt with stitching that resembles whale boning, and a sharp black and white jacket, along with patent black shoes. Second day was black/white wool dress slacks with a silk green blouse, no jacket, reprising the patent shoes. Third day was my big day, the day I was supposed to announce to a ballroom filled with participants the results of the committee I chaired this year, selecting the best dissertation of the year in my field. I chose a suit with a knee-length skirt and long jacket, subtle pinstripes of deep red, brown, and cream, and a dark red shell, along with brown heels and sheer black stockings. On the 4th and final day of the conference, I chose a brown-themed knee-length skirt and circle patterned blouse (red, gold, black, tan), and my brown heels with chocolate brown tights.
All four of these outfits were comfortable and served me well from early morning all day, well into the night. I cannot speak for others and how they perceived me, but for my own part, I feel these outfits helped me do what I wanted to do.