Outfits: what to wear to an academic conference in the tropics

I've been putting together the last preparations for my Puerto Rican conference, and one of the most important (and fun!) parts of that process, is putting together a warm weather wardrobe to serve me through my days mixing professional and leisurely activities. I created a collage of the items I will be bringing. This is for the conference part of my trip, I'm obviously also bringing some more casual items: bikinis, sundresses, denim shorts. But you probably don't need help to figure out what to pack for some sunny days of hanging out by the pool or visiting quaint local neighbourhoods. Now, this isn't the most efficient list of items, but we're not travelling with carryon only and summer clothes don't take up a lot of space, so I could afford to bring some extra options. And the more, the merrier!

So, what I'll be bringing:
- a blazer and a cardigan in neutral colours that go with all of my outfits, for chilly airco moments during the conference
- three dresses that are fun, sleeveless and not too skimpy or tight. Air circulation will be a must to survive the +30°C temperatures, but I don't want to bare too much skin on a professional event, so this is the perfect middle ground
- two versatile sleeveless tops - a button up, and a shell top that go with everything
- two mid thigh, airy bottoms - a skirt and some shorts. Both of these go with all of the tops. I wanted to put together tops and bottoms that I could wear untucked, because tucking in tops is a total sweatfest when it's hot outside
- three pairs of sandals - one pair of low gold wedges (dressy), one pair of smart flat sandals (business-casual) and of course my trusty Birkenstocks (casual comfort)

This is what that looks like.

what to pack for an academic conference in the tropics
 McGregor blazer, H&M cardigan, H&M dress palm leaf print dress, Mango shift dress, Zara shirt dress, Mango abstract print skirt, C&A jungle print shorts, Geox wedges, Avance Coco Bella sandals, Birkenstock Salina sandals

And this is what a couple of my outfits will look like. I will probably be adding some accessories to finish of these looks - necklace and/or earrings, watch, rings. Those elements generally push a casual outfit more towards business casual. Also, some subtle make up (a day-time smokey eye) and wearing my hair up will go a long way to dress up a look, so this is just the fundaments I will be working with.

what to pack for an academic conference in the tropics

Apart from that, I'm also bringing a couple of sundresses for casual affairs and time off, and of course some bathing suits. Since I will be staying at the same hotel as a lot of my colleagues, I took special care to keep my off-duty outfits more modest as well: a one piece instead of a bikini, and a coverup of course. Think more oldtime moviestar visiting the tropics rather than Rihanna strutting her stuff on a Barbados beach. And since I will probably also be doing off-duty networking, I count the bathing suit as part of my professional attire! :-D

I'm ridiculously excited about this trip. Keep an eye on my social media for updates, and I'll try to blog while I'm there!


  1. Ah, isnt it amazing when you can combine business and holidays? I have been to 3 conferences this year but damn it none of them was in the tropicals!

    You look lovely in these dresses-clever and very stylish! Good luck with you presentation :)




  2. Heel mooi, en wat een prestatie om zoveel dingen te hebben die goed met elkaar matchen! Het enige dat ik zelf niet zo snel zou dragen zijn de shorts, vind die toch wel erg casual. Zou dan eerder voor Palazzo pants o.i.d. gaan, luchtig maar toch classy ^^
    Vind vooral de bovenste middelste jurk je amazeballs staan! Succes daar :)

  3. Snap ik helemaal hoor, ik houd de shorts ook voor de minder "prestatie" gerichte dagen. Als ik gewoon wat sessies bijwoon wil je niet negatief opvallen, maar niemand die dan echt naar je kijkt. Voor mijn eigen presentatie of recepties doe ik wel een jurkje aan! :D