Selecting the best wardrobe for a networking event might be an afterthought or add an extra layer of stress if you're already nervous. The correct outfit is one part message, one part comfort and can vary based on the venue and purpose. So even if business casual is de rigueur is your line of work, it's important to consider the following tips:
Examples arranged from dressy to casual. Captions viewable on tablet & PC.
Where are you going? A tech conference invites a different level of formality that would be out of place at a financial convention.
Are you attending as a presenter, sponsor, or guest? Are you hosting other attendees? Where are you sitting?
'Dress to Impress' is a great tip, but you don't want to put a wall between you and your audience.
Remember you'll probably be sitting a good bit, so you'll want to wear clothing that has a little bit of give to keep you comfortable and focused on the speaker. Conference rooms often run cold so a blazer or dressy V-neck sweater will keep you warm and help you look great. Lastly, don't forget to pick good shoes that are comfortable for lots of walking without appearing too orthotic or casual.
If you feel comfortable, you'll look and sound comfortable ultimately reinforcing your confidence. Happy networking!