What to Wear to Alt Summit 2013

By Gabrielle. First & last images by Justin Hackworth. All other images by Ben Blair for Design Mom.

A year ago, at the request of readers, I posted a little guide to what I wore to Alt Summit. Based on the comments, you seemed to enjoy it, and it ended up being a really good thing for me, too. I used those photos as head shots and avatar images all year long! And I like having a record of what my wardrobe was like at that moment in time. So this year, I’m doing the same post with the hope that it will again serve me well — and that hopefully you’ll like it, too.

But I have to say, I have had this on the calendar for a week and couldn’t quite get brave enough to hit publish. If you’ve been reading Design Mom for even a short while, you know that I take and share dozens of photos each week, but normally don’t post many photos of myself — and certainly not 20+ images at the same time! Thank you for indulging me.

Let’s start with the Ms. Peacock outfit.

I wore this for the Clue Party on Thursday night of the conference. I made my hat in the hotel room a few minutes before the party started! Earlier that week, I picked up 2 peacock feather wreaths and a roll of black tulle at Michaels. My intention was to fashion them into some sort of peacock fascinator, but I ended up running out of time! So I simply put the two wreaths back-to-back with the tulle between them and hot glued it all together. (Yes. I did pack my hot glue gun with me across ocean. That should not surprise any of you.)

The tulle in the center of the wreaths kept my head from going all the way through, and I also glued in tulle that draped over my eyes to add some drama. But seriously, I don’t think I needed any additional drama. I was already wearing 2 wreaths on my head!

My hat was so big that I couldn’t bring it home with me, so I gave it to my sister Sara. (Hopefully it will make it into her legendary costume stash.)

Dress from COS — I love the satin detail on the back. I bought it last spring during my Paris shopping trip with Jordan. Peacock tights I’ve had forever. The necklace I found at a shoe store — doesn’t it look peacock-y? And the silver heels are from Naf Naf.

The next outfit is what I wore on Thursday during the day. You’ve seen me in it if you read my Chris Anderson post. I adore this dress! The boxy fit. The zipper pockets. The color. The neckline. The whole thing makes me happy.

Dress from COS, picked up last spring at the same time as the grey peacock dress. Black tights from the grocery store. Black booties are the same ones I wore last year. The silk polka-dot scarf I found on ebay; it’s by Ralph Lauren. The cuff is the same one I wore last year — a gift from Mara.

This outfit is probably my very favorite! I wore this on Saturday during the Design Camps and it’s so comfy it might as well be pajamas. It’s the only jumpsuit I own, and I wish I had 10 of them. I bought this last summer and have worn it probably a hundred times since then. It’s made of polyester and is easy to clean, plus never needs ironing. It always looks good! And if I add or subtract layers, I can wear it all year long. I asked Ben Blair to take some shots focusing on the neckline of the jumpsuit because I think it’s so flattering!

Jumpsuit from Benetton. Cardigan from H&M. Gold flats are the same I wore last year. If you haven’t noticed yet, I shopped my closet for most everything this year! One of the only new additions was the peacock hat. : ) Speaking of the gold flats, they are sadly worn out and I can’t seem to find any I like quite as much. If you spot any fabulous replacements, please let me know!

Outfit #4 I wore while I traveled. Comfy. Warm. Easy to wear in cold Paris and cold Salt Lake City.

Sweater from Banana Republic — I bought it last fall from their new shop on the Champs Elysees. Bright blue jeans and sequin hat from H&M. I’ve had both for over a year. The black booties are newish. From Bocage.

Next up is the outfit I wore on Friday during the day. You’ll see more of it when I write up my post about Stefan Sagmeister (coming soon!). In these images, I don’t think I look particularly striking in this outfit, but I sure felt confident in this get up at the conference! It was a power outfit!!

Black skirt I bought the weekend we moved to Colorado — it was from Macys. The turtleneck is from H&M. I bought it last month — only 5 euros! Black tights are my grocery store pair. The red shoes are the same ones as last year. The necklaces are from Ethiopia.

Outfit #6 is what I wore on Tuesday before the conference started, when I was running errands around Salt Lake City. This outfit has the most pieces and layers and is the most flexible. A good winter-time ensemble.

Dress is by Tamar Daniels — she sent it to me last year. It’s an amazing travel dress. You can crumble it into ball and it still looks great. Alas! I heard Tamar’s line has shut down. Denim jacket is from The Gap. I’ve had it for years. The tights are another grocery store pair. The boots are the same as last year. And my favorite part is the scarf — handknit by my sister Rachel from the softest wool!

Outfit #7 is another that is not looking very flattering to me in these pictures, but I feel great in it in person. Hah!  I wore this on Wednesday of the conference during registration.

Gold jeans, brown turtleneck (5 euros!), and silk shirt all from H&M. The necklace is a cross from Ethiopia — a gift from a friend there. The shoes I’ve had for years.

Lastly, not pictured is the dress I wore to the Friday Night Mini-Parties. It’s actually the black zipper dress I showed you last year! (I meant it when I said I mostly shopped my closet this year.) I don’t have pictures of it from this year, but this is the coat I wore over it. Cute, right? The coat is from Naf Naf.

And that’s it!

What do you think? Is there a look you like best? How did I do at Alt Summit 2013?

P.S. — I’m aware that this post, and last year’s post are obnoxiously named. You don’t need direction on what to wear to Alt Summit — you are perfectly capable of getting dressed all by yourself! And though there are “what to wear” classes and guides, they are mostly for fun, because there is no dress code at the conference. I’m just being cheeky. : )

102 thoughts on “What to Wear to Alt Summit 2013”

  1. Love the outfits and especially love that you shopped your own closet. It gives me some inspiration to rethink a few pieces in my closet for an upcoming work trip.

  2. Great post Gabby. I travel frequently for work and I am on the hunt for a great bag – big enough to hold my mac book pro, charger, files etc. Preferable one that doubles as a purse so that you don’t need to carry two bags! What is the gorgeous black bag on the floor in some of the shots? It looks large enough to hold a laptop – am I right? How about a post on traveling for business? I.e. what size suitcase, what size carry on? What do you consider essential in a carry-on? I am fascinated by how other people pack and am constantly checking out other travelers in the security line to see what size and kind of bag they are carrying-on. Thanks!

    1. Ah! The tote!! I meant to mention the black tote. It’s a Kate Spade tote I bought from Zappos. I actually bought it for this particular trip and had it sent straight to the hotel where I was staying. : )

      It has a cheery polka dot lining and is very well constructed. It is not a bargain tote bag, but I think it will last for many, many years. And since I shopped my closet so much for this trip, I had some budget left over so I could splurge.

      And I love the idea of a traveling for business post. Though I might not be the best author for that one. Often, my travels include something like Alt Summit, and I don’t pack lightly for conferences. : )

  3. Well, I have a whole new level of respect for you now after seeing that peacock hat- amazing! I totally enjoy these type of posts and actually was referencing your Alt Summit outfits from last year a few weeks ago when I was trying to pack for a conference and needed some inspiration. So thanks for sharing, even though I know it can be awkward to post a bunch of pictures of yourself- way to take one for the team :)

  4. A. You look stunning!
    B. That hat! It’s so glamorous and fancy and over-the-top. I love it!
    C. I mean this sincerely, and I know it’s indelicate, but how in the world do you handle having to pee when wearing a jumpsuit? I love the look of them, but I’m five months pregnant and can’t last an hour without a bathroom break, and I’m hoping not to have to fully disrobe in the stalls at work if I buy one. Any advice?

    1. Hah! I’m no expert since this is my only jumpsuit, but it hasn’t been an issue so far. Mine comes with snaps down the front and an elastic waist so it’s super fast in and out. : ) I’d say, it takes me about the same amount of time as having to do up a zip fly + a belt.

  5. Gabrielle, you look great! I think my favorite is the jumpsuit outfit too! I want one. You look casual but chic and comfortable which is hard to do. A+++

    as a side note, i like your P.S statement. You are cool.

    1. Thanks, Andrea. I love wearing them and I feel great in them! In fact, lately, I wear them more often then my regular denim. I think everyone should get a pair! They’re stretchy and comfortable and they work like a neutral color, but feel unusual and different.

      But when I saw these images I kind of made a grimace. I’m only sharing the most flattering one — the rest are even more grimace inducing. Let’s hope it was just the lighting. : )

  6. what a fun collection, and definitely noticing more and more french influence in your wardrobe! will be fun to see how it changes between now and next year with a combination of the excitement of a move back and notstalgia for a time past…

  7. Love the hat, love the shoes, love the dresses, love the outfits, love ALL the pics, and love that you are so gracious to share. Ben took great pics so I’m sending him a big cyber hug.

    1. I agree, Diane! I feel like there are so many things I can’t pull off. And maybe I can, I’m just too self-conscious? Like colors of shoes and tights. Can I wear my gray tights with camel colored boots? Doesn’t help that my husband loathes skinny jeans, on anyone (which is all I own, by the way). I have found that I love the fact that I can walk outside when it is raining and not get the backs of my jeans wet when wearing skinny jeans. I hate having wet-bottomed jeans!

      This comment was all over the place. Sorry about that! :)

      1. I’m sure you can totally pull off any of these looks!

        I will say that Alt Summit is a fun place to try anything that feels too daring for my normal every day errands. Nothing feels too over the top there!

  8. You are 100% best dressed! I remember most of those outfits, they were all so perfectly put together and effortless looking. I didn’t see you in that jumpsuit, but I am a BIG jumpsuit fan (I wore a polka dotted shorts jumpsuit to the Friday night parties) and the cap-sleeve sort of detail on yours is fantastic. You are a beauty, Gabrielle!

  9. You are totally one of my style icons. I love the simplicity of your outfits and the angles, shapes, and colors. I would love to see a regular style post about your outfits!

  10. You looked absolutely fabulous in that black high wasted skirt and black top—gosh. Mara and I were admiring you from afar. I was thinking to myself—I forgot my black! I neglected to wear any black at the conference and completely regretted it because black is so chic and flattering.

    Lovely, confident woman—you look like you’re straight from Paris! And that pant suit! Chills. That is so amazing. I would wear that every day! Loved this post. Love seeing your beautiful style! How many times can I say ‘love’ in one post? :)

    1. Oh. Your comment is making me smile, Koseli! Thank you.

      And I so feel that way about black! When I’m in doubt about what to wear to anything — from errands to Alt Summit — black is my default.

  11. You look fabulous in each ensemble. FAB! And I love posts like this one… I really enjoy a look at how stylish women put their outfits together, and it helps me shop my own closet because new ideas always pop right off the screen. Thanks for sharing, and please do not hesitate to hit publish on future posts. :)

  12. You looked so pulled together and professional. Don’t you love it when you have such a well-balanced complete closet that you are able to shop for a high-profile conference without having a panic. That to me is a perfect wardrobe – something for every occasion.

    By the way, I noticed your first dress is a boat neck and I’ve been wondering how others deal with bra straps when wearing boat necks. I’m always pushing mine to the edges of my shoulders, but it only semi-works as then they either slide back into view or slide off my shoulders. Maybe it is just my shape that has that problem and others don’t. Just curious how you manage.

    1. Good question, Grace! I’m sure there is some trick of the trade that a bra specialist could share, but what I do is tighten up my straps right before I put the dress on. In fact, I slightly over-tighten them so they’ll stay in place. And that usually works. But if it’s a long evening, by the end of the night, I’m usually fidgeting with them again. So if anyone out there has a more reliable solution, I’m all ears!

      1. Years ago in a sewing magazine I read about strap keepers. You can stick them on yourself, or buy something similar (see links). Basically, they’re a loop at the edge of your neckline to hold straps in place. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution it may be worth a try.



  13. You are gorgeous! Thank you for being brave and modeling! And please thank Ben Blair, too. Your outfits were great! I loved the hat, too…clever!

  14. My favourite is the first one, but they’re all really cute! How do you manage to keep your figure after 6 kids? (nosy housewifey question there for you, sorry Gabrielle!)

  15. Ah – love this post! Love your style…wish I had access to your closet :) I have to ask where you got the little necklace you are wearing with the jumpsuit? I’ve been looking for something similar.

    Thanks for sharing your fabulous taste!

  16. This post is so inspiring! I pinned both this one and your “what to wear to Alt Summit” post from last year to refer back to. I love that you have such a classic style that is still fun and creative.

  17. thanks for posting! it’s fun to see. my favorite is the all black with the pretty red heels. lovely. and, never thought i’d love a jumpsuit, but that thing is great. i can see the usefulness!

  18. A) The peacock wreath hat is the bomb. I want to wear it everyday!

    B) How did you pack so many shoes?! My biggest problem with packing for work events like this is narrowing everything down to 2 or so pairs of shoes. You clearly didn’t restrict yourself to such a silly number. Tell me about how you made it work with luggage, etc.


  19. I like all of the outfits, but my favorite is the one you wore to travel! Maybe because it looks so comfy and it’s how I dress every day. :)

    I think it’s great fun to see how you put your outfits together. I tend to look at the calendar, realize I have a wedding or whatever the next day, and go into Emergency Shopping mode. But I like seeing how you take a piece from here and a piece from there to create something new and unique.

  20. Aaaah… I L-O-V-E it all… I can’t figure out which outfit I like the best… Brillaint. Congrats. Wait. My favorite is the Clue Party dress. The dress and necklace are brilliant together.

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  23. That first dress, with the peacock blue tights, is the bomb. I’m curious – a long time ago you mentioned trying some Kerastase supplement as suggested by your hairdresser. Did you do it, and did it work??

    1. Good question! I’m super forgetful about taking vitamins, so I’m still working through the 3rd box, but I think they have definitely worked. My hair fall out seems to have slowed considerably.

  24. Just wanted to echo what everyone else is saying. I actually love every single outfit, but you are really rocking that peacock hat! I think this may be my all time favorite teaser photo of any blog post.

  25. Just saw that Talbot’s new catalog has gold leather ballet flats that look extra comfortable since you are looking for some.

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