They say the clothes make the man (or woman). This is especially true at a trade show. You have merely moments to make a first impression on potential customers. According to the Harvard Study of Communications, you have only 7 seconds to make that first impression. Of that, it’s thought that 55% is based on the visuals - how you look.

Let’s make sure that those 7 seconds - and time thereafter - go great. Here are key tips for how to dress at a trade show.

A Company Coordinated Outfit

You can look like a unified team without wearing the exact same polo and khakis. One way to do this: Pick a color scheme for the entire team, and dress to match that. For example, if your company’s branding is the color red, have everyone wear a red top and then accessories and attire to match. You each look unique but still come across a cohesive, professional team.

Of course an even better solution is to buy company shirts so that the entire team has a cohesive look. Be sure to buy both men’s and women’s shirts and not just men’s. Many women get stuck with shapeless male sizes that don’t look that great. Remember, we are trying to dress to impress.

Shoes that are NOT New

Buying new shoes for a trade show outfit may seem like a good idea, but think about this: They may look great but, if not broken in, the blisters will cause a pain and discomfort that will make for a miserable experience. If you are miserable, it will affect your mood and energy and that will affect the quality of your interactions.

Many companies have gone to the trouble to order custom shoes in the company’s colors. If you choose to go this route, get them ahead of time so that you can break them in. Converse Chuck Taylor’s are really popular especially if you are going for that jeans and t-shirt look.

A Trade Show Outfit With Pockets

Many women’s outfits do not include pockets. However, a dress pant, skirt or blazer with 2 pockets can make a major difference at a trade show. They let you carry items like pens and business cards to share and hand to leads with ease. This is much smoother than having to run to the table for them.

A Trade Show Outfit With Pockets

Naturally, it’s important to appear professional. Hair that is in it’s place, nails that are well manicured and clothes that are ironed and pressed. Here’s a pro tip: Get yourself a travel steamer. Having one of these with you will ensure you clothes are wrinkle free. But make sure you wear shoes that are comfortable (and, as mentioned before, not NEW!) and accessories, like jewelry, that make you feel good.

However, also be conscious of the type of event you’re attending. A full business suit with high-end brand shoes may be a little more than necessary for some trade shows. One way to feel this out: Look at photo galleries from past years of the trade show you’re attending. That’ll help to get a feel for how the attendees and booth workers are dressing.

That being said, always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Always lean on the more professional side.

Other Trade Show Tips to Keep in Mind

Another way to establish a great first impression is how you present yourself physically. Learn the Body Language Tricks Every Trade Show Booth Pro Should Know.

Speaking of company shirts, if you are thinking of using t-shirts as a giveaway, check out this blog post for some important tips. T-shirts as a trade show giveaway