UPDATE: Check out our latest post on Model UN fashion for women written by Caroline Bello:
For every single Model UN conference one attends, there is always a background guide, a rules of procedure guide, and a research guide. However when it comes to what to wear to a Model UN conference, there is a severe lack of consensus surrounding what is appropriate. For students who have just started their Model UN careers, the whole concept of western business attire can be a bit foreign and intimidating, and searching “western business attire” does not necessarily make the whole process of choosing what to wear any less confusing. Therefore, in order to clarify the doubts for the many stressed out female delegates out there, Best Delegate has created a beginner’s guide to Model UN fashion that includes a list of key pieces of a Model UN wardrobe, outfit suggestions, and some miscellaneous fashion tips that you might find helpful
Key Pieces of a Model UN Wardrobe
There are usually three to four days in a Model UN conference, so you might assume that you need three or four completely different outfits for each day. However, this is not necessarily true; what you really need are a couple of key pieces which you can mix and match between days to create completely different outfits using the same pieces. The pieces suggested below will help you build a Model UN wardrobe for the many conferences to come.
The female suit is often considered the quintessential business attire. Pioneered by the world renowned fashion designer Coco Chanel, the female suit is worn by women all around the world in all sorts of formal environments, such as Model UN conferences. On average, a good quality female suit tends to retail at a rather high price. However, investing in a female suit will not only be useful for Model UN conferences but also for future internship or work opportunities. Having said that, if you are willing to invest in a female suit here are a couple of things that you might want to consider:
- When trying on the jacket, the shoulders should extend about an inch beyond your shoulder and the length of the sleeves should reach to your wrist bones. Make sure that the suit is not too tight or not too big and that you can move your arms freely without feeling constricted. A tight suit can be really uncomfortable while a large suit might appear slightly unflattering.
- Navy, black, camel, and gray are good colors for suits. These colors are neutral and becoming, and they are easy to pair with different shades.
- Underneath the suit, you may wear a blouse or a button up. You may definitely consider matching them with patterns or solid colors.
- Make sure that the pants are neither too long nor too short. They should not drag on the floor, but your ankles should not show either
It is not always necessary to purchase a business suit in order to look put-together. A blazer paired with a pair of straight black pants makes a delegate look serious and chic. When purchasing a blazer, the same requirement set forth about suits applies. Neutral colors such as navy, black, camel, and gray are suggested. These colors function well because they are versatile and combining them with different colors is a breeze. Blazers are also very useful for keepingwarm and covering up sleeveless blouses and dresses.
Blouses and Button Ups
Blouses and Button Ups can be either paired with straight pants or a knee-length skirt. The easiest way to wear colors and patterns is through blouses and button-ups. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the top:
- Make sure that the blouse is not too low-cut.
- Take care that the blouse or shirt is not too tight. Tight shirts or blouses are really uncomfortable, especially if you are going to be wearing them all day.
- If the blouse or shirt is too sheer, wear a tank top or a spaghetti strap shirt underneath the shirt. Committee rooms tend to be really cold so wearing something underneath would be an added bonus.
- If you are wearing a sleeveless shirt, wear a cardigan or blazer on top.
Straight pants are a great choice for your Model UN. They are flattering for all body shapes and can be paired with just about everything. Jeans and leggings, however, should never be worn to a Model UN conference. These types of pants are comfortable, but they are better suited for casual wear than for western business attire.
The appropriate skirt for a Model UN conference should be knee-length. When you sit down, the skirt should only ride up about four fingers up your legs. Pencil skirts and A-line skirts are great pieces to combine with your blouses and blazer. When you don’t want to wear pants, simply wear a skirt! The top part of your outfit can still remain unchanged. Just remember that when you wear a skirt, you should wear tights underneath. Wearing different colors of skirts is encouraged, but just makes sure that the colors are not too vibrant and are neutral and slightly muted.
Wearing a dress is by far the easiest solution to the question of what to wear. You do not have to worry about matching a top with a bottom. The length guideline for skirts also applies for dresses. If your dress is sleeveless, you should wear a cardigan or blazer to cover up and you should also wear tights under your dress.
Ladies, I know you love your shoes, but wearing five inch heels or platforms to a Model UN conference is definitely not a great idea. Comfort should definitely be a priority seeing that you will spend the entire day debating without ever having the chance of changing out your shoes when your feet hurt or are tired. Kitten heels or two-three inches heels are great for Model UN conferences. They give you a little bit of height without greatly hurting your feet. The other alternative you have for shoes are flats. Some flats are really fashionable and give you the comfort you need. It is important to note that the shoes worn to a Model UN conference should be closed, meaning that sandals or open toe shoes should not be worn.
A necklace or a pair of earrings can instantly brighten up any outfit. However, make sure that they are not too flashy or over sized. You want the jewelry to complement the outfit and not the other way around.
- Bring a big tote. You need a bag that is big enough to fit your laptop and your research papers.
- Bring a pair of flats and stuff it in your bag. If you are wearing heels, after a long day of walking in them, you would definitely be grateful for the opportunity of changing your shoes.
- Bring a cardigan and also stuff it into your bag. You never know how cold the conference room will be.
The color you choose to wear says a lot about you as a person. The human brain reacts to colors differently and produces a different emotional response accordingly. The emotional effects produced by colors can be used for our everyday interpersonal relationships. By wearing a certain color you can influence how other people perceive you and thus produce either a positive or a negative image. Businessmen and politicians around the world use color to their advantage. I have personally used color psychology during my high school Model UN years and have discovered that colors evoke certain emotions in people, so here is a list of colors and what messages they transmit.
- Blue gives off the impression that you are a trustworthy and honest person.
- Black conveys messages of confidence, authority, and power.
- Dark green and purple generally give people the impression that the person is calm, relaxed, and friendly.
- Red is an eye-catching color; people who wear it give others the impression that they are confident and assertive.
Dressing up for conferences is definitely one of my favorite parts about Model UN, and it is definitely a great way to show your fellow delegates your amazing sense of style. The tips listed on this guide are merely suggestions and there are definitely more ways in which you could dress up for a Model UN conference. I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any other tips or suggestions feel free to post them in the comments section!