This conference needs a better dress code.
It can be tough to figure out what to wear at any off-site conference but especially in Traverse City. That's because we're right in the middle of summer vacation and many of us take advantage of northern Michigan's recreational activities while we're here.
The problem is that ``business casual'' includes everything from golf shirts and khakis to sport coats and blazers.
Up here you see more golf shirts than blazers early in the week. But that changes. The Blue Blazer Index always seems to spike on Wednesday and Thursday when the big hitters are on stage.
Of course, the speakers all come dressed to the nines in their darkest workaday suits.
Jim Padilla changed that a little yesterday when he walked on stage in shirtsleeves because he says suit coats are confining.
There are always a few folks with no sense of decorum who wear shorts. But they always have some ready-made excuse like they just drove up from Detroit or they're on their way to the first tee. But thankfully I didn't notice any of those Tommy Bahama shirts with palm tree fronds.
Evenings are another issue. Some folks dress up before heading out for the reception under the yellow tent. Others don't. And then what do you wear to a party at a nice restaurant or winery?
Some guys don't even pack a tie when they come here. But that means they're not presenters and they're not being invited to any of the nicer dinner parties.
And it's tougher for women. At least my wife says it is.
Look around. You just don't see women wearing golf shirts unless they're on the golf course or they work for one of the exhibitors that require a team look.
And then should they wear a pantsuit or dress in the evening?
Hey, a good rule of thumb is that it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed because people will think you just came from some place swell or are headed to a nicer party later.
But the need for a dress code was hammered home yesterday. A very savvy vice president at a large global supplier was overheard asking if last night's industry dinner held out on the fairway was going to be a black-tie affair.
But next year maybe it should be.