Friday, 16 October 2015

What I Wore: Tech Conference in Sweden.

From the 24th to 27th of September 2015, myself, fellow University students, and alumni headed to Sweden to attend an engineering and technology conference - WomENcourage. It was a great experience; we accepted the scholarships we were awarded and presented posters on our separate engineering/computer science projects! This conference was the ideal setting to debut new style pieces in my wardrobe. I got compliments whilst in Sweden by other conference attendees on some of my outfits, which was the icing on the cake. My style has certainly turned towards investment pieces, leaning towards designer, especially for formal occasions like these.  This blogpost will feature the key pieces that I wore, suggesting the type of attire that would be suitable to wear at a technology conference.

WomENcourage was the first academic technology conference I attended in my life. The last venue, my first time going, was in Manchester. You can read about that experience on my blog here. This year, I got to travel to Uppsala, Sweden - not only attend the conference but to receive a scholarship and present a poster on my undergraduate engineering project! Circumstances that I I feel SO grateful for. I was only in Sweden for three days, so I had to pack light. In addition to my laptop, power charger, camera, beauty stuff (makeup, hair moisturer etc.), as I was packing, 'capsule wardrobe' came into mind. Pieces that can be worn together, separately, and it will still look cohesive. Importantly, as it should always should be, comfort and warmth must be provided by the pieces. These are the  items I wore to the technology conference!

Designer brand, Sandro, Salwa co-ord ribbed top. (source)
Sandro, designer brand, Joelle Skirt. (source)

Sandro was a brand introduced to me by my Mum. I am not sure if they have flagship Sandro stores in the UK, but in Europe this brand is very well-known for its high prestige in delivering quality clothing. With my love for co-ords, I was pleased when I was shown this co-ord set. In this freckled, speckled number, you have a knitted top and a tulip skirt which gives a very flattering silhouette. The top is almost like a modest crop top, meaning that is reaches just the top of the hips and whilst the skirt can be worn at the hip it can also be pulled up to make it high-waisted. From a distance the set looks like a combination of navy blue and white dots but when closer you could not be more wrong. The true colour palette is revealed to be a mixture of navy blue, white, black, and a neon yellow. These spring colours, and the fact that there are four colours, make this co-ord set favourite choice to accompanying pieces of similar or same colour. For example, wearing this with a midnight blue peacoat would match with co-ord set, as would a neon yellow trench coat from Zara, or a staple black blazer. This co-ord set got a positive reception when I wore it at the technology conference (which I must say is a perk when attending an all-female conference because you are more likely to get a compliment on clothing choices in addition to your work) and I will definitely consider wearing it again for a business/PhD meeting or another formal function.

Joa Skirt, Designer brand, Sandro. (source)
I call this, the glitch skirt. Remember in the 90s (really testing the age group of my blog audience here) when the television use to go out of signal and you would get a black and white splatter of dots running around the screen? That nostalgic memory is made tangible in this designer skirt. If you want 'wearable tech', you are welcome. You sort of get it in this beautifully tailored skirt by Sandro. Again, the tulip skirt is a really elegant and formal silhouette, and although I felt really grandeur wearing it around the technology conference, the pattern of the skirt was a very tongue-in-cheek humorous nod to the techie environment that I was in. Yet, if you were not attending a technology conference, this is a very monochrome digital print that will turn heads. Not just because it is a slightly psychedelic, but because of that nod to nostalgia. 

Black jeggings, Uniqlo.

Whenever someone asks me an opinion of where to find a good pair of affordable jeans, without hesitation, I say Uniqlo. Uniqlo jeans, especially their jeggings, need to be a staple in everyone's wardrobe. Uniqlo do both male and female jeans.  In my opinion their jeggings are one of, if not the comfiest type of jeans I have ever had the pleasure to walk in. The elasticity in the jeggings ('legging trousers', as Uniqlo calls them) are rave-worthy, which is great as a student because you can run to a lecture and not worry about your jeans giving up on you at the last stretch. Additionally, because of their elasticity the are great for rolling up if you are a bit on the short side or if you have naturally shapely legs or those built from playing sport they honour the curves as opposed to crumpling up at odd places or becoming uncomfortably tight in some regions. Did I forget to mention, that they keep you warm in the winter? They do! To make life easy for myself, I chose my black jeggings for my trip to Sweden. It was great to wear around at the airport; felt super snug like when you wear your favourite gym leggings. At the conference I wore it with the Sandro Salwa top and Lacey London black leather buckled shoes. The jeggings can rest at the hip or can be pulled to become high-waisted which make it very multi-functional - a always a plus when living light.

Relaxed Jaquard Jacket Co-ord, ASOS.
I also wore this jacket whilst interning for a start-up in London, and I praise it in this exhilarating, detailed blogpost. For Sweden, I realised that I probably needed a suit jacket because it was still a business affair. However, from experience, majority of technology conferences are more casual than smart attire. Therefore, I had to find a happy-medium and this Co-ord Jaquard jacket by ASOS offered just that. It just drapes over the body, and the shimmer all over the jacket gives it a fluid-like illusion on the body. It suited the all the Sandro designer pieces that I brought with me to Sweden, was relaxed enough to make me feel comfortable conversing with others in more relaxed attire, but still corporate enough to wear whilst speaking to a lecturer from Uppsala University, the conference venue. Yes, this jacket was great purchase because it is so transferable to different seasons and functions. What is consistent about this jacket though, is the cool vibe it projects.

Navy blue Music Bag, Leather Satchel Company.
This was another piece I used whilst interning at a start-up in London this summer. In Sweden, I used this as my walk-around-the-city bag and it was light and stylish to carry. This is a very purchasable bag and is worth investing in. Coming in a slick navy blue, it is a very great alternative if you find that looking in your wardrobe you have a sea of black bags and you want something that will change things up a bit. A navy colour still compliments other colours, just how black does, but because it is an unexpected yet subtle choice, it can give an ordinary outfit a pleasant uplift in cohesion and aesthetic, Not only is this bag well made and highly worth investing in, but it usually turns heads when you open it. Its opening and closing mechanism makes poppers and buckles look completely complicated and not worth the hassle. Instead, this bag has a metal bar slotted between two strips of folded leather and this metal bar goes over the handle.  More pictures of this can be seen on my other blogpost. Even now as a PhD student at University, this bag is ideal for carrying a laptop, notebooks, power chargers, and more whilst still looking slim.

Calypso, Lacey London black buckled shoes. Bought originally at TKMaxx.
You can never go wrong with a good pair of brogues. This black, heavy-duty (I wear them alot) shoes are like brogues but the leather is softer meaning that they are breeze to walk in. Simple goes a long way, and these shoes are delightfully simple and a tad charming. I say charming because of how familiar it looks compared to other black leather shoes on the market but it has a quirky twist to them which is the asymmetrical placement of the buckles and the lack of indentation or any decorative pattern. The lack of adornments almost makes it a black canvas, making it very easy to pair with highly patterned or bolder pieces. You can even wear these shoes with a skirt, which is a bold statement to make as shoes like pumps and ballet shoes are the first suggestions that come to mind when naming shoes that look good with skirts and dresses. Yes, these shoes may not be dainty, but they are edgy and heavy-duty and will last you a long time.

Stefanel designer brand, monochrome Jaquard oversized knitted scarf
This scarf is as big as you think it is. When walking around people may think you are wearing a carpet around your neck but really, they wish they were wearing it because it is SO SNUG. Like a proper cup of tea, this scarf will make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and outside. The quality of this scarf is exceptionally high, to how the scarf has been knitted to how seamlessly it connects to the almost wool/cotton blend on the scarf's interior. Sweden was becoming increasingly chilly at night, so I was thanking my lucky stars and earlier-self that I had this scarf in my possession and that I packed it in my suitcase, respectively.

My experience travelling and living in Sweden for a bit was a whirlwind! I stayed in an Airbnb for the first time and met so many interesting academics and fellow students at the conference. I kept in touch with a few people I met, got to chat with industry professionals from Google, and even got to wear a virtual reality headset for the first time! I shall be uploading photos and vlogs showing what happened soon! Some pictures and content can  already been found on my Instagram and Twitter.

PhD life has kept me anything but idle. Everyday a new opportunity comes up, and new idea pops into my head, and my desire to publish anything new about my Sweden trip gets pushed back. In truthfulness, I have a cinematic film, photography, and a new vlog series to upload - so my blog and YouTube will dotted with new content soon enough. Until then, I am going to let my life unfold magically.

**I received a lovely email from a reader of this blog yesterday. Thank you for emailing me, I hope the career advice and comments in general will prove helpful to you!

Take Courage,


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