Planning and narrowing down outfits to take away with you is never easy, especially when you need to pack your best clothes for an upcoming business trip. Whether the dress code is smart casual or requires your best suits and shirts, you’ll need to know what is essential and what isn’t. Here, Christopher Legard from menswear retailer Joseph Turner shares his top tips for what you should pack for your next business trip.
Business trips are a great opportunity to develop your skills and network with like-minded people, and when you’re in a professional environment, it’s important that you look the part. While the dress code can differ depending on your line of work, you’re bound to still need plenty of smart outfits packed and ready to hand.
And, it’s not just the clothes you’ll need to think about, but also what grooming products and accessories you’ll need to complete your smart looks. Here, I will be sharing my top tips to help you pack for any of your business trips.
Choose fabrics that don’t crease easily
There’s nothing worse than pulling your best shirt out of your luggage to see it’s full of kinks and creases, especially when you need to make a lasting impression. Twill fabrics are softer and thicker than your standard poplin shirts which makes them more resistant to creases and easier to iron if you’re in a hurry!
Although the thick composition of denim makes them less likely to wrinkle, sometimes the dress code will require something a little more sophisticated. Tailored corduroy trousers are a perfect alternative, as the classic tufts in the fabric can disguise any other creases. If you need something more formal, then a dark pair of twill trousers teamed with a crisp shirt will look undeniably smart.
The toughest feat may be finding a suit that won’t crease, however there are some materials that are less likely to look ruffled after travelling. Polyester blends are usually best for this, but thicker woollen and tweed suits will also resist creasing more than thinner alternatives like cotton. To keep your suit looking crisper for longer, carry it around in a garment bag rather than folding it into your suitcase.
Take classic pieces to mix and match
It can be all too easy to pack unnecessary items, especially when you don’t have an exact itinerary of events for your business trip. But, doing so may make it even more difficult to pick an outfit each morning.
Instead, I would recommend taking an array of versatile pieces that you can mix and match with other elements. For example, taking a crisp white shirt and a mix of 2–3 different trouser types will mean you’ve got a new look every day. Packing a couple of neutral or versatile layering pieces can also have this same effect, so think about taking a couple of crew neck jumpers or cardigans to wear over your shirts for a smart casual aesthetic.
Pack footwear to complement your looks
The footwear you take on your trip needs to look professional, and while some meetings and trips will require you to wear your best dress shoes, there will be a little flexibility for those less formal occasions.
Loafers and moccasins will look great paired with some tailored chinos and a formal shirt to achieve the smart casual look. Brogues will also have a similar effect, keeping you looking professional and well put-together, without the need to be very formal.
If you don’t know what your trip will entail all of the time, packing a mix of the above could be a good idea. This will ensure your best shoes are only worn when you really need them, prolonging their original condition. Plus, a comfier pair will be a good idea if you have a lot of walking to do.
Pick classic accessories
Looking your best means picking the right accessories to complement your looks and when you’re dressing to impress this should include things like cufflinks, ties and belts.
When you have to pack for a couple of days, you’ll want these accessories to be as classic and versatile as possible so you can re-wear them without it being noticeable. For cufflinks, I’d recommend a pair of plain silver or gold ones in a timeless oval or square shape rather than going more creative. Your tie will also need to be plain and look professional, as it will need to match an array of shirts you take with you. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t add a touch of personality. Choose between versatile colours like black and navy, or lighter pastel shades.
Your belt should be simple and not be used as a statement. For this reason, I’d suggest avoiding any big belt buckles or branding, and stick to simple, quality leather.
Keep yourself well-groomed
Once you’ve sorted your outfits for the trip, it’ll also pay to consider how you’ll groom yourself. This could mean visiting the barber’s ahead of your time away and getting your hair and any facial hair neatened up.
As well as this, you’ll also need to take products that’ll help you to remain groomed during your trip. I suggest investing in hair products that’ll keep your hair clean and styled well throughout the day. This could include matt clay or hair wax to keep any strands at bay.
If you’ve got facial hair to contend with, it’s important that this is also preened to perfection. You can do this by investing in a good beard oil and brush to keep it tamed.
Packing for a business trip can be difficult, but you can get prepared for your next one with my top five tips. From picking the right fabrics to keeping yourself groomed, you can be sure you’ll always look the part.
Written by Joseph Turner