Fashion Show Etiquette Part 1 – What do I wear?

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A Fashion Show doesn’t mean you need to dress like a human peacock… unless you sort of already are a human peacock!


The first year I attended Fashfest I was so nervous about walking in front of the press wall and having my photo taken or being asked questions, I snuck in aound the side and sat like a huge weirdo in my seat until my date for the evening arrived. Even then I was feeling a tad self conscious about what I was wearing,, and it wasn’t until I was dragged to the wall by the Fashfest PR team that I actually walked in front of all the cameras.

Now, I know that this sounds completely ridiculous, and you’re very right to ask “who would even care what you were wearing Grant, jesus! Conceited much?” And while you’re absolutely right to ask that (and the answer of course was NO ONE!); it paints a picture of the fear that I think a lot of people feel about attending a Fashion show, which is to say that they will be judged for what they are wearing.

The great Anna Wintour said it best herself in the amazing documentary The September Issue:

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“There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous.”


I get asked a lot by friends and colleagues for advice on what to wear to all sorts of occasions, and a fashion show is no different. Like a birthday party or a first date or even a job interview; a fashion show isn’t really an event that you should be dressing up for.

Now, let me qualify that with the following example.

On the last night of my first year at Fashfest I was standing in front of the media wall being interviewed by a local magazine, when a man walked through the frame and was seized upon by the interviewer. He was ‘dressed up’. I have no doubt in my mind that this guy was taking the piss, because he was wearing old jeans, some sort of fluffy Patagonia looking hoodie, and a beanie that looked like he had scalped a troll doll. He also didn’t want to be interviewed and it was painfully obvious. The reporter tried to ask him some questions about his ‘look’  and he eventually responded with “This is fashion, isn’t it?” before walking off.

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It wasn’t fashion, and it was a very obvious statement of “Fashion is dumb so I am going to make fun of it.” which is exactly what Anna talks about in The September Issue, and what I am getting at when I say not to dress up for an event.

For a Fashion Show or an interview or even a bloody funeral, you want to look like the best possible version of yourself for that situation.

If you don’t wear a hideous troll beanie on a regular basis, why would you wear one to a fashion show?

If you don’t wear anything but cargo pants and polo shirts to work, why would you suddenly wear a three piece suit to an interview?

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People get an idea in their head that the fact that it’s a fashion show means that they need to suddenly try some whole new look that they would never otherwise wear, and the truth is that this is the worst thing that you can do to yourself. You’ll be uncomfortable, self conscious, and people will assume that you’re just being a bit of a tool.

As you can see from the images in today’s post, I have worn some outlandish things to Fashfest and other fashion shows over the years – but these are all bits and pieces of my actual wardrobe, and not really outside of the norm for what I would wear on a daily basis. A more extreme version, granted, but not completely alien.

So for what it is worth, that’s my advice: wear what your ordinarily wear, but better. Don’t dress-up, and don’t aim to ‘stand out’. As clichéd as it sounds, just be yourself. Trust me, you’ll thank me on the night.


Tickets for Fashfest 2016, Canberra’s largest annual red-carpet event, have just been released and are currently available through the Fashfest website.

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