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How to Pack for a Business Trip

June 20, 2017

Travel Light, Travel in Style

Most business trips require more than one outfit. A suit is standard, but what about for the more casual events, like client dinners and sporting events? A suit would be too formal and out of place. So how do you pack light while still covering your style bases? In the following video, Tom James, also known as “The Virtual Tailor”, shares his expert insight.

If the video above does not play, please click here to watch it.

The Key to Business Travel Style: Transitional Pieces

The goal is to bring clothes that are versatile enough to play different roles and either be dressed up really well or dressed down really well.

Formal Outfit

Since this is a business trip, the suit is a staple. But the rest of your travel wardrobe depends on what suit you wear. According to James, the suit should be one of your transitional pieces, and what makes a suit transitional is the pattern. Pick something that’s not a solid or something with too wild of a pattern.

You will wear the suit when you travel, freeing up room in your bag. If you pack right, a carry-on should suffice.

Sport Coat Outfit

The reason you want a patterned suit is because the jacket can transition into the second outfit, which is a bit more casual but still dressy. All you have to do is switch out the suit pants with a nice pair of solid-pattern slacks, and Voila! You’ve got your “Sport Coat Outfit.”

Smart Casual Outfit

This outfit will be a little more casual than the “Sport Coat Outfit,” and it accomplishes this by changing out your shirt. In the first two outfits, you’ll wear a basic solid dress shirt and necktie.

For this outfit, you will want to choose from one of two transitional shirts that you’ll bring (so in total, you need to pack 3 shirts: 1 dress shirt and 2 transitional shirts).

The transitional shirts should be made of an end-on-end fabric, and James gives the example of a blue chambray shirt and a blue gingham shirt.

You can wear these shirts with your patterned suit jacket, slacks, with or without a necktie.

The gingham pattern is a little more casual, so it can be worn by itself with dark grey slacks. Or, if you’re heading out to a sporting event, you can use it for your 4th and final outfit…

Casual Outfit

This one is simple: with your gingham shirt on, switch out your slacks for jeans.

So in total, all you will need to pack is:

1 suit (jacket + pants)

1 pair of slacks

1 pair of jeans

1 pair of shoes

3 shirts

1 belt

Socks, underwear, undershirts, toiletries

All of which should fit nicely in a carry-on.

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