Bracing Yourself For The Business Trip
Business trips can be a real pain. You’re either schlepping to places you’ve never wanted to go, or jetting off to countries you’ve always wanted to explore but find yourself without any time to really ‘see’, due to back-to-back meetings.
Worst of all, though, is actually getting there. Whether it’s via plane, train or boat, the travelling part of a business trip can be a bit of a sartorial nightmare. Not only will you need to pack all of your work essentials – including important documents, your laptop, and maybe even a tablet – you’ll also need to take enough clothes to cover both that all-important lunch meeting and a round of drinks with a client in the evening.
No one said it was easy being boss.
Still, travelling for work needn’t always be the major planning operation it often is. We can’t pull a sickie for you, but we can offer some time-saving, stress-easing tips for travelling on business, in style.
The Right Luggage
First things first, you’ll need to source the right tools for the job – in this case, we’re talking a sturdy, roomy travel bag.
Whether you’re going short-haul racing from London to Berlin for a day or heading transatlantic and transferring from Dublin to New York for a week, you should be looking for luggage that’s made of leather and that can be wheeled. A durable material like leather helps to protect the contents of your bag far better than canvas, while wheels just make your life that little bit easier.
Alternatively, if your trip doesn’t require you carting around several changes of clothes, then you could opt for a minimal, well-crafted holdall. Easy to carry, casually stylish and usually featuring several compartments to divvy up your away from home essentials, a 24- or 48-hour holdall is the perfect size for trips that last no longer than a couple of nights.
- Barbour Leather Travel Explorer Holdall
- Barneys Leather Holdall
- Stitch Treacle Starboard Leather Holdall
- Collezione Leather Holdall
- M&s Collection Leather Holdall
- J.crew Montague Washed-leather Weekend Bag
Your Travel Outfit
Since you’ll most likely need at least one suit while you’re away, it’s worth wearing the blazer (and any coat you decide to take) when travelling. This not only helps save it from the inevitable folds and wrinkles from being stored in luggage, but also keeps you looking sharp and front and centre for any travel upgrades.
Team it with some slim chinos/dark jeans and a plain tee/shirt/polo (all items that can be mixed and matched throughout your trip) for a comfortable yet refined aesthetic.
The Capsule Business Wardrobe
When it comes to packing, prioritising classic and versatile pieces not only keeps your luggage as light as possible, it also enables you to pull together outfits for any on- or off-duty occasion that may arise. Essentially, you’re looking to create an edited version of your day-to-day capsule wardrobe.
Therefore, you’ll want to stick to neutral colours for the most part – grey, navy, white, black and a little brown – and consider these key items:
Keeping in mind the length of time you could be wearing your clothes for while travelling, it’s important to opt for items that are both comfortable and stylish.
A pair of chinos in grey or beige team just as well with your suit jacket for an informal meeting as they do a shawl neck cardigan or T-shirt during your downtime. Also worth including is another pair of formal trousers in a seasonal fabric (wool or flannel for winter, linen-cotton blends for summer), giving you another option when it comes to crafting business- and smart-casual looks.
Provided you get the fit right with these, they’ll be just as comfortable to wear as pyjamas but much more socially acceptable in the daytime.
- He By Mango Slim-fit Garment-dyed Chinos
- Reiss Tullum Heavyweight Twill Chinos Grey
- Reiss Medway Classic Twill Chinos Navy
- Next Cotton Linen Mix Slim Fit Trousers
- Next Charcoal Textured Slim Fit Wool Trouser
- Reiss Conrad Flannel Tailored Trousers Grey
The same advice applies to your tailoring: pick the right fabric choice for the season and destination you are travelling to.
Utilise fabrics such as tweed, cashmere and heavy wools to keep warm during wintertime journeys or trips to satellite offices in colder climates, and go for lightweight cotton and linen for those trips where you’re bound to get a little hot under the collar.
- Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In Harris Tweed Fabric
- J. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket In Heathered Italian Wool Flannel
- Reiss Garda Peak Lapel Three Piece Suit Navy
- Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In 100% Linen
- M&s Collection Linen Regular Fit Suit
- Next Tailored Fit Delave Linen Suit
Sick and tired of undoing and retying laces at security? Only have room for one pair of smart shoes in your travel case?
Opt for pair of loafers. They’re easy to slip on and off when required, immensely comfortable, and can be dressed up with tailoring or down with chinos and a roll neck.
- Bass Weejuns Larson Penny Loafers In Black
- Reiss Anstice Tumble Leather Tasselled Loafers Black
- Topman Hudson Tan Leather Tassel Loafers
- Churchs Elveden Leather Penny Loafers
- Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Casey Leather Penny Loafers
- J.m. Weston 180 The Mocassin Leather Loafers
Aside from your suit, you’ll want a selection of pieces that you know go well with one another, allowing you to get ready quickly and easily, whether you’re running late or feeling a little worse for wear after one too many Martinis while wooing that client.
We’d recommend: a few dress shirts (Oxford cloth versions are recommended due to their thicker construction which handles wrinkles much better), a neutral v-neck jumper, a few basic tees/polos, a shawl neck cardigan, a couple of ties, another pair of smart shoes (Oxfords and monk-straps both work), socks, underwear, and a pair of black or navy jeans (if your schedule allows for something a little more casual).
That should comfortably cover almost every scenario that could potentially arise:
- Reiss Ascot Button-down Oxford Shirt Sky Blue
- Uniqlo Men Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
- Club Monaco Button-down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt
- John Lewis Spotted Silk Tie Navy/white
- M&s Collection Knitted Tie
- Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino V-neck Sweater
- Sunspel Sea Island Cotton T-shirt
- Uniqlo Men Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt
- Reiss Butler Shawl Collar Cardigan Ecru
- Aldo Xaveri Leather Oxford Brogue Shoes
- Richard James Regular-fit Selvedge Denim Jeans
- Polo Ralph Lauren Three-pack Cotton-blend Socks
Don’t live out of a suitcase; as soon as you reach your hotel room, get everything unpacked as a matter of urgency.
The longer clothes stay folded in your bag, the worse they’re going to look when you go to wear them. Most hotels should have an iron that you can borrow but, failing that, hang your suit up on the back of the bathroom door while you take a hot shower – the steam will relax any major creases.
Quick Travel Tips
Finally, a quick-fire round of tips to make the whole thing that little bit less painful:
- Keep important travel documents and essentials in your coat or suit jacket interior pockets, so they’re safe and always to hand.
- Store metallic items and loose change in your jacket pockets so that all you need do at security is slip it off to ensure you don’t send alarm bells ringing.
- Keep in-flight essentials like headphones, reading material and water at the top of your bag so you don’t need to awkwardly rummage.
- Don’t forget an eye mask and some quality sponge earplugs if you need to catch some shut-eye on the red eye.
- Flying can be harsh on your body so if you’re skyward bound don’t forget to take a few select grooming essentials. Along with travel versions of your favourite products, we’d recommend packing some gentle cleansing face wipes, a breath freshener and eye drops to keep you looking and feeling on form. For more advice, check out our Frequent Flyer’s Grooming Guide.
Flying into a meeting in a creased suit jacket and ill-fitting jeans won’t be winning you any points come your annual appraisal, so try referencing the above advice next time you’re out of office.
What’s on your checklist when going away for work? Do you have any tips for staying stylish while travelling on the job?
Let us know in the comments section.