Working Wardrobe: Packing for a Business Trip

Camel Blazer:  Ann Demeulemeester | Top: Madewell | Skirt: Ann Taylor | Sandals: Pierre Hardy (Goop)

The last two months, I have racked up thousands of travel miles jetting around the country — mostly for business. I’ve been traveling so frequently that when I return to my apartment, I don’t bother putting my suitcase away. (All the easier to pack for the next trip, which is usually just a couple days away.)

Because my travel schedule has been so crazy, I’ve tried to quickly master the art of packing for a business trip. I tend to veer toward conservative clothes, but paradoxically, I never want to feel anonymous or forgettable in my corporate clothes. It’s quite a balancing act.

And unlike my personal vacations, I don’t storyboard or pack anything frivolous for these corporate trips — but I still tend to over-pack.

This week I was in California for a series of meetings, and I stuck to a simple color story of camel, white and black. This was the¬†first time I successfully¬†optimized an interchangeable wardrobe of separates — and I was REALLY pleased with the results.

I put together a little slideshow with most of the looks:

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1. As soon as I arrive at the hotel, I unpack everything. If I’ve packed correctly, this should only take 10 minutes.

2. This outfit is deceptively comfortable, and pencil skirts are an incredibly powerful sartorial statement for a meeting.

3. This pleated skirt is a nice alternative to a suit. This American Apparel version has been a workhorse in my closet.

4. This houndstooth T-shirt was just $25 but looks chic and sophisticated when paired with office-ready neutrals. This was a big surprise — the brand is Brandy Melville, a funky tee collection typically aimed at juniors. This worked well for a business casual dinner.

5. Another outfit for a business casual dinner. Typically, I’d wear a white blazer with these trousers (I LOVE a white suit). Unfortunately, my white blazer is at the dry cleaners, so this camel blazer worked in a pinch.

6. My heel height is directly proportional to how much walking I am expected to do throughout the day. If I know I’ll be hoofing it to a client dinner, I’ll stick to flats for the entire day. You can’t go wrong with Chanel.

Let me know if you like the slideshow format, and I’ll include more from future trips!

  • Andrea Billups

    Great column. Loved it. And yes, never wrong with Chanel.