Planning Your Outfit for Business Travel

Everyday,  when I prepare for work,  one of the highlights is choosing what I am going to wear to the office that day.  First, I ask – which of my tops do I feel like wearing?  Should I wear my button down shirts?  Or maybe – I can go for chambray?  Oh – if it’s Friday – maybe I can dress down a bit and wear a polo shirt.   Then I look for bottoms.  Should I wear jeans?  Or maybe I can wear the skinny trousers.  Black or khakis?   Then the details that add on to the basic palette.  Which of my socks go well with this combination?  Shoes of course are a source of major excitement – when I choose what to wear – then comes the belt.  Blazers or leather jacket?

So you can just imagine how it can be a source of frustration for someone like me, to choose and plan my outfits when I travel.  I cannot bring an extensive wardrobe for my trip – that will be impractical.  As you know, we glampackers must balance our need to look nice when we travel with the reality that we should actually be able to live out of a small suitcase during our trips.

Today I will give you some tips on how to plan outfits for your business trip.

But before I walk through possible choices that you should consider,  I will have to set you up with the proper perspective when you are traveling that can help you with your decision making.

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Choosing what to wear to work is one of my favorite things to do in the morning.  So how can I reconcile the fun part of dressing up for work and packing light?  Read on for my tips.

a.  During business travels,  your main focus is on achieving the objectives of your trip.  So  packing a limited number of clothes to choose from can actually free up some of your brain cells for getting actual work done.

b.  Being perceived to have a wide range of wardrobe isn’t really that important for the people you will meet during that trip.   Remember – you don’t see them everyday – and if you really want to be remembered for what you were wearing – you must focus on looking crisp and sharp — rather than being remembered for the number of  outfits you wore through the trip.

c.  Last but not the least,  if you pack light,  you can actually take advantage of the shopping choices that may be available to you in your destination that you may not typically have the chance to buy when you’re at home.

With that out of the way – these are my rules for the clothes that you must bring:

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Pack three pairs of trouser and three shirts.  If you mix and match,  you will have nine different looks.  Pack a blazer (with and without the blazer you have 18 looks).   For me,  my go-to pair of shoes are my pair of Adidas Stan Smith.
  1. Pack three tops – different colors.  I don’t really care what colors you bring – just make sure that they are colors you are comfortable with.  I prefer bringing along long sleeved shirts – they are more versatile than short sleeved shirts – and I have the option to fold the sleeves for a different look.
  2. Pack three pairs of trousers.  I prefer packing a black pair, another pair in navy and the last pair are khakis.
  3. A blazer or a leather jacket
  4. Five pairs of underwear,  3 pieces of undershirts,  5 pairs of socks (mix between trouser socks and sports socks
  5. One pair of shorts that can double as swimming trunks.
  6. Seasonal choices

For Summer – a Pair of quick dry shorts and T-shirt

For Winter – Puffy Jacket ( the one that will compress like the jackets from Uniqlo), thermal underwear (two of them), gloves

For Spring or Fall – a sweater, cardigan, or vest

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Underwear and Undershirts.  Five and Three.  That’s the most that you will need.  Of course – this means that you will need to do some washing during your trip – but it really takes me no more than ten minutes to wash these.  I bring five pairs of socks – because I want to have sports socks and trouser socks.  You will notice that I don’t care if I bring red socks and underwear.  That’s because I hand wash them separately so I don’t have to worry about them bleeding onto my other clothes.

I have given you my list that will go into your bag.  I will now tell you what you must wear.

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I wear my jeans and Leather jacket on the plane.  These are heavy pieces of clothing – and they can also be bulky to pack.  So to save on space- I wear them.  This is also what you must do for Trench coats.  Carry them with you instead of packing them inside your bag.
  1. Let’s start with the pants you should wear on the plane.  I suggest wearing jeans.  I don’t pack jeans onto my suitcase because they are usually heavier compared to the trousers.  However, I’ve discovered Uniqlo’s Miracle Air skinny jeans and they are good options for travel jeans that you can pick in your suitcase (substitute it for one of the pants above).
  2. During the summer, I wear a polo shirt.  Winter, spring or fall – a long sleeved shirt.
  3. I also bring along a sweater (because I get cold inside the airplane).  I even bring a scarf or shawl to keep me warm.
  4. Belt and shoes that match.  I prefer the following colors:  black or blue.  I don’t really care much for brown shoes when traveling – it isn’t as versatile as the colors I mentioned above.
  5. Seasonal choices

Summer – Lightweight Blazer

Spring or Fall – Leather jacket (note if I packed a leather jacket in my suitcase – then I wear a blazer )

Winter – a coat (trench or parka – whatever you think will keep you warm )

This clothes list will give you a full variety of clothes to wear for two weeks.  You can mix and match these pieces and you will get more than 10 varieties.

I hope this has been helpful for all of you.  Remember – being a glampacker,  you must always balance your need to travel light and the need to travel fabulously.

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