before take-off


Travelling for work essentially means that your wardrobe, whether you're on the plane, having breakfast in your hotel, attending meetings and functions, or having dinner with colleagues, is constantly being scrutinised. This, especially if you're relatively new to the company, as I am. Plus, I hate lugging around lots of things so I always aim to pack light.

I have a work trip to Bangkok, Thailand, coming up this Friday, and it will encompass all of the above. It's a short trip, and it's going to be warm weather, so packing light is a breeze compared to some of my previous trips.

The guiding principles for packing for a work trip are:
- Pack things that don't wrinkle.
- Study the itinerary carefully and work out an outfit for each event/meeting. Note the venue, weather, local culture, what's happening, with whom I will be meeting, what I will be doing.
- Be prepared for unexpectedly changes in schedule. Once, I had no chance to change when I was unexpectedly invited to a lunch with Very Important People. The day had been fairly casual and I was in a white shirt, jeans, and flats. I wasn't shabby but people were in suits, enough to make me feel quite mortified.
- Don't bring anything complicated and stick to the tried and tested - you usually don't have much time to change or get dressed so there's not much time to fuss about outfits.
- Err on the side of conservative.

- A tailored jacket. In cool/cold weather, it's practical. Even if I'm in jeans, a jacket makes me look instantly more office-ready, so if I unexpectedly have to go straight from the airport into a meeting, I don't feel too sheepish in my jeans and t-shirt.
- Dresses. A smart one travels better than shirts and packs light because it minimises mixing-and-matching. A good one is all-purpose enough to spend all day in meetings in, and still look polished enough for dinner. My favourite is even comfortable and low-key enough to travel in. A change of shoes and layering with jackets and cardigans does the trick.
- Two pairs of comfortable shoes, one dressy and one casual.
- A cardigan that can be buttoned or belted into a top. Sometimes this takes the place of a jacket, especially when I'm travelling somewhere warm.
- Tops. For a trip below five days, you only need about 3-4. One of these should be a plain white shirt - it's one of those things you can repeat without anyone really noticing.
- Versatile black trousers. I like my slim-fit ankle length ones because they dress up or down so easily. Swap for a skirt if you are a skirt person.
- Jeans. It should be a nice smart-ish pair that works for every occasion in between where you dress down or even rough it out a little. Sometimes I skip this if I think my black trousers will do for all occasions.

Above is my travel outfit for Friday, which, plus a cardigan, will take me from my flight to a meeting, and then a welcome dinner.

Saturday, I'll wear another multi-purpose dress (also navy) for meetings in the day, and then I'll change shoes, add a gold sequined scarf and a gold cuff for the dressy dinner in the evening.

Sunday is a company brunch, followed by a possible visit to some facility somewhere. We can dress down for this, so I'm wearing a plain sleeveless white jersey top, my wide-leg dark denim jeans, and a cardigan. We part ways after this and I can stay in the same outfit to go shopping and eating in Bangkok - yessss.

Monday is more R&R before my flight some at night -my dress on day one with flip flops will do, and if I need to change, I can always wear the jeans again with a spare clean top.


hannah-rose said…
i love reading these kinds of posts. im hopeless at packing - whether for business or pleasure. these rules are great even for holiday packing, they are reminding me to not take so much stuff and just pack for utility. i'm travelling in february and im definitely going to take your advice!

If Jane said…
good thiking...;)0
Have a good trip! :) The black trousers are a good "never fail" item. "Never fail" items are essential for travel, like you said it's best not to bring things that are complicated.
Fashion Tidbits said…
nice tips! i'm going travelling soon, so neat!
lin said…
hannah-rose: i love articles and posts like these too, and i find them useful in a general sense, but it's through own experience that really helps. i loathe packing things i don't wear, especially when i could use the space for shopping!

if jane: thanks! i do spend a lot of time of thinking about these things.

pret a porter p: I'll try! Exactly, when things fail on you on a trip, it can ruin everything.

fashion tidbits: thanks. hope you have fun on your trip...where are you going?

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