Friday, November 9, 2012
Jackets for Business Travel
“Business” means wool, and “travel” means nothing too finicky. Leave the linen suits and the Super 150s at home — they’ll just wrinkle en route. Your best bet is a plain, dark jacket in medium-weight worsted wool. That keeps it classy, goes with most trousers and shirts, and will be the least likely to show travel creases and wrinkles. If you’re going long enough to need two, bring one dressier jacket and one sportier one. An easy way to do that is to bring one suit and one sports jacket, and then use the suit jacket with unmatched trousers for a third outfit if needed.
Trousers for Business Travel
By the same token, if you’re going to need a suit at any point, figure on using it both as the matched suit and as two separate pieces for other outfits. A dark gray suit for your most formal occasions easily becomes gray trousers that can pair with a lighter sports jacket for a more casual look. Apart from any pants that come as part of a suit, be thinking in terms of wool or cotton slacks rather than jeans. Jeans are bulky and less multipurpose — if you need to look relaxed and casual, you can do it just as easily in brown or gray slacks or a pair of khakis, and those can be dressed up further than jeans when needed.
Shirts for Business Travel
Unless you’re a die-hard purist, go ahead and go for the wrinkle-free cotton shirts. The treatment is a mild one that’s safe for nearly everyone’s skin, and it’s nice to have the option of not pressing your shirts at the hotel if you’re short on time. That said, cotton dress shirts are the way to go, precisely because they can be pressed — most hotels will provide a small iron and ironing board on request, and it’s a good way to look extra-crisp on business trips. One plain white shirt and one plain light blue shirt is a good pair for your lightest packing; if you have room and need for more than two, make the third something with a little color and pattern that can be worn more casually.
Shoes for Business Travel
If you only have room for one pair, make it plain black leather oxford balmorals. If you’ve got room for two pairs (and you almost always do, especially since one can be worn onto the plane), bring the black oxfords and then a pair of dark brown leather shoes.
The brown ones can be a touch more casual, but should still be something you’d feel comfortable wearing a suit if you needed to.
If you’re willing to wear one and pack two — which is getting crowded in carry-on luggage, but doable — the third can be something casual like loafers or topsiders (boat shoes).
Alternatively, if you know that exercise is going to be part of your networking needs (or if you’re just really, really dedicated to hitting the gym even when you travel), bring a pair of tennis shoes instead of casual leather ones.
Accessories and Sundries for Business Travel
It’s always the little things we forget, so make sure you’ve got all the small items you need to complete your outfits:
• Neckties — one for each day of the trip
• Pocket squares — one plain white, and one or two more in color
• Socks — one pair per day, matched to the trousers
• Underwear — one pair per day
• Undershirts — ditto
• Belts — one to match each pair of shoes you bring (tennis shoes don’t need a matching belt)
• Cufflinks — only if you wear French cuff shirts, obviously
• Any tie accessories (clips, pins, chains, etc.) if you use them
• Toiletries (a Dopp kit is a nice way to keep them all together)
There’s no need to look for “travel” versions of most of these, apart from the liquid toiletries, which will need 3-oz. containers for air travel. The key thing to be thinking about, like the larger items, is interchangeability — you want to pack as few ties and belts as possible, so choose the ones that go with multiple pairs of pants, shoes, etc.