I am thinking about what should I bring to the conference.

Normally, will people dress up (like full suit) for the dinner?

p.s. I am in CS domain.

  • 6
    Related: What do people usually wear to conferences?
    – ff524
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 5:13
  • Since the previous question already addresses presentation, I edited this one to focus on dinner wear.
    – ff524
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 5:14
  • 2
    @DaveClarke that depends on the attitude. For example a monocle requires to put it on right after finishing the presentation (with "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention") and before saying "Are there any questions?".
    – Trylks
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:24
  • Remember that there are many options between "sandals, old jeans and t-shirt with coffee stains" and tuxedo. Casual dress shoes, a nice jeans and a proper (polo?) shirt, for instance. Looking tidy may be in order but "dressing up" (as in disguise) only looks silly.
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 14:27

4 Answers 4


No. You do not need to wear a suit for presenting at a conference. Most of the times, CS conferences have the typical t-shirt (or shirt), jeans combination of computer / tech guys.

For the dinner, you can dress a little more formally (if you want) but still a suit is not required. In fact, if you are young (<30) , wearing a suit and a tie would probably seem a little weird.

Bottom line: Wear what you usually wear when you go to work for the presentation and a little more formal (nicer) wear for dinner.

  • 1
    Expanding on the answer. There will probably be people from industry and they will probably wear suits or at least sport jackets (and no ties). A bit more formal than usual is not bad. It really depends on what makes you feel comfortable. For the bottom line I'd simply say: nobody cares.
    – Trylks
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 10:11
  • 2
    @Trylks This depends a lot on the company, and whether they are there as conference participant or officially representing the company (e.g., in a booth). The latter are usually required to dress up as part of company policies, they former tend to dress casual like everybody else.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 10:35
  • 1
    @Trylks But, yeah, many companies have formal dress code for any publicly-facing meetings.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 10:36
  • 2
    Question was updated to just dinnerwear, you may want to remove obsolete bits from the answer.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:22
  • @Trylks The people from industry that I've met at theoretical CS conferences dress just like the rest of us. Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 14:56

If it's not the first iteration of the conference, chances are that you could see past editions of the conference, including some pictures of the dinner, so you can just do what you see.


Basically, what @Alexandros said. Just wanted to add a specific example: a (CS, European) conference I attended last summer got this fancy place for the gala dinner, and they asked the attendees if they could dress in formal wear.

This wasn't quite well received: most people didn't pack a suit (a lot of them traveled with only hand luggage). The collective decisions was to either do the best they could (in the situation) or not really care.

Finally, the dinner was a mixture of some suits and dresses (but mostly on older people, I would guess 30+ or even 40+), most people in pants and shirt combination or half-serious summer dresses (instead of standard T-shirt) plus an odd few wearing crazy print T-shirts and jeans. I've seen a few people come in with a tie, look around and then discreetly take it off and tuck it in their pockets :)

So bottom line is: overall, people at the gala dinner will be slightly less casually dressed than your typical day in the office (in European labs, at least) or conference presentations. Also, it's not uncommon to end up in a bar after the gala, and you probably don't want to overdress and look out-of-place if that happens.

  • 3
    +1 for the bar after the dinner. You definitely do not want to go overdressed there.
    – Alexandros
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 12:56
  • 3
    This also really depends on where you are. Where I am (Japan) formal dress is expected, even if you work for a boss who realizes that people who wear nice clothes are guaranteed to have -10 debuffs to INT. Whether or not we actually want to hire people who mimic the homeless and hip in dress habits, there are contextual standards to which participants who intend to go somewhere should attempt to adhere (hint, most folks aren't going anywhere, their whole lives -- hence the oceans of hip mediocrity in which we swim).
    – zxq9
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 14:15
  • @zxq9 True enough for the location. I added "European" in my answer (I understand there's variations in Europe too, but in my experience, everybody's good with what I described). But really, I wouldn't expect somebody who knows that putting on a hoodie and baggy pants will NOT cause a -10 INT debuff to imply those people "mimic the homeless". While older generations might still have prejudice like that, I would expect that we are would try to overcome those instead of spreading them. The next "homeless mimic" you see might just as well be your kid's math teacher - if you're in Europe.
    – penelope
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 15:59

I can only tell you my experience at conferences - biomedical in the U.S. - the bio conferences tend to be pretty dressy with most conference goes in sports coats (for guys) and formal pant suits for women.

I would bring a nice shirt/slacks and sports coat, at least you can quickly mold to the situation. I didn't know the conference was that dressy and felt out of place in a polo shirt and slacks (this was again my experience). But every industry is different, it depends on where the conference is (hawaii or chicago), how many people are there, who you want to impress, etc.). Nobody will remember if you overdressed but everyone will remember if you were that guy who showed up to a gala in shorts/t-shirt.

  • 1
    I was just about to answer something along that line. In medicine or a medical-related field, the attire is usually formal at European and American conferences, for talks and socials.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 17:40
  • And contradictory to what's being said in other answers, if anything, the attire for socials is less formal than for talks (understand: no ties, jeans, dresses etc.). It's best not to show up in you favorite 'LabView' t-shirt, cargo shorts and leather sandals with socks.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 17:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .