Physical appearances can leave a lasting impression, and the stakes become higher in a business setting. A good first impression can help you land deals, connect to the right people, and represent your company better in a competitive market. That said, when you’re on the road all the time, smart dressing can be a challenge when you have a limited wardrobe.
Fortunately, there are ways for you to look sharp without sacrificing the convenience of traveling lightly. Designing an effective capsule wardrobe, for one, will help you pull off sophisticated looks without repeating too many of the same outfits–perfect for a short business trip. To help you get started, this article will give you a rundown of key things you need to remember and ideas on what to add to your travel bag.
Dress Code Reminders
Before packing your suitcase, you need to get into the proper mindset first. After all, packing for a business trip is quite different from packing for a vacation, so there are some requirements you need to bear in mind as you plan your travel wardrobe. Here is a quick list of the things you should consider when preparing for a working visit:
Always Dress to Impress
On a business trip, you’re not dressing up for yourself alone; you’re also suiting up to represent your company. The way you present yourself is an extension of the company you’re speaking for, so it’s crucial to bring your A-game. Invest in wardrobe pieces that can help you achieve a stylish business look, such as a snappy blazer or a well-fitting pencil skirt. Wearing control top tights is another way to look more dressed up and highlight your figure. It may also give you a confidence boost to pull off sophisticated apparel without worrying about any extra bumps and curves.
Check for Dress Codes
Always check for a dress code. Whether you’re attending a work convention or going to a partner company’s office, make sure to stay on top of any dress codes in place. Not only does it convey respect, but also shows that you did your research on the company or event you’re visiting. If you don’t find any dress code, stick to formal business attire. While some companies do allow casual wear, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed on a working visit.
Opt for Practical Wear
While it is important to dress to impress, don’t forget to consider practicality as well. For example, while high stilettos may be in season, wearing them to work may impede your performance on a day that you need to walk around a lot. Hence, try to find a balance between what’s fashionable and practical. Look for inspiration online and reconsider your wardrobe options. If needed, secure a few items that will give you a crisp business look while keeping you comfortable, like a new pair of tights, a comfortable yet sharp-looking pair of shoes, and a matching belt.
What to Bring
Now it’s time to assemble your suitcase contents. Most travel experts recommend bringing just enough clothes for one carry-on item to make boarding and moving around easier. For business trips that last one to two weeks, fashion aficionados recommend bringing around 12 articles of clothing to mix and match and some accessories to pair with them. Twelve garments may seem too few for an important work excursion, but don’t worry. With proper planning and styling, you can introduce fresh looks each day even with a limited apparel selection.
Here is the breakdown:
Your four tops should include three formal blouses (for a business setting) and one casual shirt (for more relaxed get-togethers). There are a variety of business-appropriate tops available in the market, including button-up dress shirts, oxford shirts, and even the classic, crisp white shirt.
In terms of color, neutral colors like white, black, and gray are the go-to because they’re easy to pair with other clothes. However, keep in mind that white tops can easily get dirty, and stains can be quite visible. As such, consider adding shirts of another color. On the other hand, if you prefer using a monochromatic palette, play with textures and patterns to break the single color block and introduce interesting details into your ensemble.
Your bag should contain three kinds of bottoms: pressed trousers, a suitable skirt, and a clean pair of jeans. Having this selection of bottoms allows you to prepare for different occasions because these garments can be worn flexibly. To illustrate, jeans are usually worn in casual settings, but wearing them with a clean white shirt and a blazer can elevate the look in more relaxed, business environments.
Every gal should have a little black dress in their arsenal. This applies to business trips as well. A well-fitting dress of decent length will come in handy in various situations. Whether you’re heading to work or attending a business dinner party, having a little black dress on hand can save you lots of time looking for something more formal to wear in an unfamiliar place or country.
Additionally, you can significantly spruce up your little black dress with the right accessories. Pair it with a blazer and a pair of pointed shoes, and you’re ready to strut in the office. On the other hand, wearing it with a white pair of sneakers dresses it down for more casual settings.
A snappy blazer is a must on business trips. Depending on where you’re heading, however, consider adding another coat to go on top of your ensemble for colder areas. With these garments, it’s best to stick with more neutral colors such as navy blue, dark brown, or dark gray to make matching easier. You can simply add splashes of color with a few well-chosen accessories, such as a thick, red scarf or a brightly-colored handbag.
2-3 Pairs of Shoes
In terms of footwear, make sure to bring a pair of heels, flats, and sneakers. This ensures that you’re prepared for any event and also helps you avoid sore feet in the process. When choosing footwear, stick to classy designs with a bold touch. Doing so allows your outfit to make a statement without standing out too much in a business setting. Before packing shoes into your suitcase, make sure to polish them and check for any signs of damage. Have them repaired immediately and stick to only bringing pairs that are in tip-top shape. After all, the last thing you want on a busy trip is your shoes giving out under you.
Accessories are the cherry on top of the cake. When picking out accessories in a business setting, here are recommendations that you can consider:
- Minimal but sophisticated jewelry (Large jewelry can look tacky, so be careful.)
- Purses (one for the day and one for the evening)
- Scarf (perfect for a dash of color in a monochromatic look)
- Watch (Consider changing the wristband color to match with your attire.)
For your hair, don’t forget to bring pins and ties that can hold your hair in place. While you can reserve fancy hairstyles for special events, keeping your hair neat is a must for corporate settings.
Pack Light with Style
Indeed, dressing sharply with limited clothing choices may seem hard to pull off, but it’s not impossible. To make things easier for you, prepare your outfits beforehand and make a list of how you plan to wear them. In this way, you don’t need to mix and match them on the trip itself and you can focus on finishing your work-related tasks with the confidence that you’re looking your best.