“What should I wear today?” is a perennial question for anyone who works outside of their own home. It’s even more of an issue for business travelers, who generally need to pack lightly yet dress appropriately no matter what time of year they hit the road. Your goal, of course, is to look good in any and all situations, from a grueling three-hour meeting to an after-dinner chat with a CEO.
Travel experts advise sticking to a few wardrobe essentials — garments that serve more than one purpose, coordinate with everything else in your suitcase, and make sense with your scheduled itinerary. Here are a few fashion tips for professionals who wish to look the part while on the go.
Tips for Women
Mixed fabrics — wool, wool blends, synthetic fibers, specially treated cotton, and other wrinkle-resistant materials — make for ideal travel apparel for women. Because pure linen and silk crease easily, they do not travel well. Neutral shades (black, white, gray, navy, or beige) work best. Also pack a travel-knit dress and an elegant jacket or blazer that matches everything.
When it comes to accessories, convenience is key: Wise choices include a medium-length scarf that can double as a belt (or even a blanket on the plane), an elegant wristwatch, and pearl earrings. An extra pair of nylons or stockings is a good idea, too, in case of a fashion emergency.
Tips for Men
Start with solid colors in neutral shades (brown, black, navy, gray, or beige), so you can comfortably mix and match your three-piece suit with anything, as appropriate for the occasion. One wrinkle-free blazer is essential, too, in a color that coordinates with pants, shirts, and shoes. The same goes for shirts, which should be solid colors and wrinkle-free (i.e., not 100 percent cotton or linen) .
If you’re allowed to wear denim, make sure your jeans are dark wash, in a boot or straight-leg cut. They look best when worn with a wrinkle-free shirt or tailored jacket. Take a reversible belt (black and brown) and, for flights, wear a pair of comfortable but nice slip-on shoes.
Remember that savvy road warriors never take along an item of clothing they can use only once. They pack in layers, so they’re ready for a change in climate, too.