When it comes to packing for an important business trip, it can be easy to panic and throw half of your wardrobe in the suitcase ‘just in case’. This is especially true of winter travel, where the prospect of freezing cold weather can override all good sense and sartorial acumen. So how do you pack for a winter business trip to stay warm and stylish whilst you’re away? We’ve compiled some of the most important packing tips so you can put your best fashion-foot forward, look sharp and stay comfortable.
No matter what the weather, there are certain basic items that will always need to go in your travel bag. It’s always best to bring a toothbrush, toothpaste and a small towel, even if you think that your accommodation will probably provide them. It’s always better to have an extra essential item with you, rather than discover that you won’t be able to brush your teeth before that important meeting. Socks and underwear should be coordinated to the clothing that you have packed to avoid a situation where you only have a black bra to go with that white shirt. This probably isn’t the occasion to display your personality through sock choice, leave the chequerboard at home and pack plain black. It can be a good idea to make a list of basic essentials; something you can’t manage without always seems to get left behind.
Pick Your Colour
Picking a base colour for your tailored work clothes can be a really good idea, whether it is black, charcoal or navy. That way, you can choose shirts and tops in various matching colours, as a way to make multiple outfits out of a small number of items. It also means that you can leave those ‘just in case’ clothes at home, because you can create different looks out of a few pieces of essential clothing. With clever packing, you can wear the same suit every day of a short business trip, but still have a very varied look for each day. It also means that you can transition from a board meeting to after-work cocktails as smoothly as possible, without any moments of panic about what to wear.
Discover the Base Layer
There’s a reason that people from cold European countries look so nonchalantly chic as you’re jumping up and down in the snow, trying to slap some feeling back into your hands. That reason is the base layer. Whether you choose merino wool, hi-tech synthetics, or basic cotton, a thermal vest and a pair of long johns layered under your suit can be the difference between a successful business trip and contracting a chill. Silk underwear is also a great choice for travelling in the winter, providing a surprising amount of insulation without looking bulky underneath your outfit. For the ladies, a silk camisole can also double up as a pretty top for after-work drinks, multipurpose packing at its best!
The Transformative Power of Outerwear
Never underestimate the transformative power of a really good coat. A super stylish piece of outerwear can make even the blandest of outfits look like it was carefully curated by Anna Wintour herself. Whilst travelling for business in winter, the first impression people have of you is likely to be largely influenced by whatever coat you are wearing as you enter the building. A well-cut wool coat, that fastens smoothly over your suit will not only keep you warm between business meetings, but will also pull your entire outfit together. If you tend to wear a lot of dark clothes, this can be a good time to inject a tasteful splash of stylish colour, or lighten up your outfit with a classic camel tone.
One Shoe Rule
Packing shoes for every occasion just isn’t going to cut it on a business trip when you need bag space for more important items, and you potentially have carry-on luggage only. The multi-shoe issue can be solved in the cold weather by wearing a smart shoe boot. These will keep your feet warm, whilst looking both smart enough for the office and casual enough to pair with jeans on an evening. It also means that you can discreetly add thermal or wool socks underneath, without looking like you’ve worn your slipper socks to the office. Wearing a multi-purpose shoe to travel in also has the added advantage of freeing up space in your bag for other essentials.
Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise
Small enough to fit in all the nooks and crannies of your bag, big enough to make significant sartorial impact, accessories are your friend when it comes to business travelling. They’re a great way to add colour to a neutral-heavy outfit, and they can completely change the look of a business outfit. For the gents, ties and pocket squares are a really effective way to make the same suit look very different, as well as injecting a little personality into the corporate wardrobe. Don’t bother about matching them, it looks more on trend to mix colours and prints for a fresh take on an old favourite. For the ladies, a couple of scarves can be easily slipped into the gaps in your luggage, and can completely change the appearance of a shirt or jacket. They’re also the perfect accessory for winter business travel, adding an extra layer of warmth as well as an extra layer of style.
You might think that you need to leave that bulky wool jumper at home, but if you travel smart by wearing larger items on the plane, you can make sure that you don’t need to leave any essential cosy items at home. Rolling items, instead of folding them, can also help you maximise the space in your luggage and leave room for a few extra essentials. Making sure that you use every space in your bag can also help you make the most of your packing space. Don’t forget that front pockets, coat pockets and the inside of shoes are all spaces that can accommodate an extra pair of underwear or a forgotten roll of deodorant.