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What not to wear at Natural Products Expo East 2018

Take note of these quick tips as you pull out your luggage to pack for Natural Products Expo East.

Jenna Blumenfeld, Freelancer

September 4, 2018

2 Min Read
What not to wear at Natural Products Expo East 2018

Between hours of networking, miles of walking, evening dance sessions and way too many food samples (read: stretchy pants), even fashion experts would have trouble packing for Natural Products Expo East.

We're here to help. Through years of attending expo, we’ve braved blisters and bloat to learn what clothing and accessories work best to help you have a top-notch show experience. Avoid these fashion faux pas to ensure that you have your best Expo East ever.


Your stilettos are on fleek. But if you choose to wear them during Expo East make sure you also pack a pair of super-comfy shoes to change into when you need to hoof it to your important meeting located on the other end of the convention center. More than once our team members have dealt with painful blisters because of our shoe choices.

Think twice before you choose ballet flats as your back-up—they have a tendency to rub the back of your heel near your Achilles tendon. Choose instead a cushy option such as Birkenstocks (hey, this is a natural food show) or comfy sandals that are light to carry. Sleek sneakers are a good choice, too.

And when in doubt, heels that feature a chunky heel or a wedge are usually more supportive than stilettos.

Single-use bottled water

Successful Expo East attendees don’t rely on beverage samples alone for hydration. They tote along a refillable water bottle to quench thirst with pure water, not mini-cups of (usually) sweetened liquid. Plus, using a reusable water bottle rather than a single-use plastic one will show other attendees that you support a plastic-free initiative.

Messenger-style bag

A messenger or cross-body bag seems like a good idea to carry at Expo East. It provides hands-free functionality (all the better to snatch that new grain-free protein bite) and it's easy to pack with product samples. After three days of toting your bag around the show floor, however, your shoulder will likely start aching even if you alternate the shoulder strap from your right side to your left side.

Try instead to carry a small backpack around the show floor—the weight is distributed across your shoulders. Thanks to the abundance of sleek, professional-looking backpacks available on the market, you won't look like you're on a camping trip, either.

Summer clothing

Baltimore can be balmy in September, but as you’ll be spending the majority of your time in the convention center, be sure to bring along a sweater, cardigan, blazer or cozy wrap to stave off air-conditioned chills after hours of perusing the show floor. It can get cold in the BCC! Bring your summer clothes, but save them for morning and evening strolls along the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

Hawaiian shirt

I mean, you do you. But maybe just don't.

About the Author(s)

Jenna Blumenfeld


Jenna Blumenfeld lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she reports on the natural products industry, sustainable agriculture, and all things plant based. 

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