What To Wear: Your ICP Fashion Expert’s Advice

Posted: November 29, 2015 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: Blog

“So, what are you wearing?” This is a simple, yet common question I have been asked when attending political events. Though some people may think that what you wear to events does not matter, through my experience I have observed the exact opposite. First impressions are vital, especially from a political perspective. No college student wants to be viewed as the young, inexperienced kid. However, when someone attends an event underdressed this is how they are viewed.

After all my trials and tribulations with outfits at events, I’ve compiled a list of three key ways to help decide the daunting question of what to wear. The first thing to do is look at the invitation. The outfit you wear should reflect the invitation. If you are lucky, the invitation will tell you exactly what to wear. Second, you need to pay particular attention to where the event is being held. If it’s in a casual place such as a restaurant, it should be okay to dress down a little. If the event is in a nice location, that is an indication to dress up more. The third thing I always do is simply Google similar events. Since the caucuses have been around for so long, there are hundreds of pictures events; it just takes some research. After these three steps have been taken and you still are unsure about what to wear, dress professional. It is always better to be dressed up rather than dressed down.

Iowa Caucus Team members Rebecca and Logan at The Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner.

Iowa Caucus Team members Rebecca Christopoulos and Logan Kentner at The Faith and Freedom Coalition Dinner in September.

In my experience, there are a select few political events that require a full business professional look. These events are typically rare in Iowa, but luckily they are easy to distinguish. If the event requires paying a substantial amount of money to get in ($50+), always wear a suit. If the event is in a formal ballroom or something comparable, be sure to wear business professional.

The hardest experience I have had when deciding what to wear is when an event was held at a Pizza Ranch. I was about to meet a candidate for the leader of the free world, but at the same time I was going to an extremely casual restaurant. I have found that events like this are best to dress business casual. As a guy, I typically wear a nice button-up, khakis and a nice pair of shoes. This is an almost guaranteed perfect outfit because it’s not too dressed up, but not too casual.

Once you have chosen your outfit and you arrive at the event, there will be a somewhat awkward encounter where half the people are in full suits and the other half are in business casual attire. I have had my fair share of “death stares” from older people just because I was wearing jeans and a nice T-shirt to an event. Though you might feel embarrassed, just remember to stick it out and learn from the experience.

IMG_1204Kentner is a sophomore studying politics and business. He enjoys quality time on his Harley Davidson exploring rural Iowa. Follow him on Twitter.