What to Wear When Travelling for Business


Choosing what to wear on a flight is not as easy as it seems when it comes to traveling for work. Work related travel is a special category, requiring us to take clothes that will give us a polished look even when off the job. When we get to our destination we may need to go straight to a meeting or conference and this requires some planning when it comes to choosing what to pack. 

We also need to put some thought into the overall travel collection, what the pieces are that we will need while staying out of town. We need to put some thought into how we can maximise space while still being able to take work as well as casual attire. 

Here are nine things to consider to help you choose business travel attire that you will enjoy wearing:

1. Know the purpose and culture of your destination

 What you pack depends on how long are you staying for, the weather, and the types of meetings and events you will be involved in. Formal business meetings a the corporate HQ in New York will require much different attire to a few casual coffee meetings with a prospective client in Cairns. 

2. Take classic pieces that can be repeated

Classic pieces are those that form the basis for every woman collection.  When travelling they can provide many looks and you may only need to fill out the collection with a couple of extra tops and blouses for variety. 

Classic pieces include:

  • A white shirt, 
  • Little black dress,
  • Silk blouse, 
  • Trench coat, 
  • Tailored pants,
  • Pencil or a line skirt.
  • Fine cashmere sweater
  • Quality tailored blazer 

3. Choose pieces that can be worn both casually and for work 

Many of the classic items listed above will enable you to have a travel collection that will be appropriate in many situations depending on how you put them together. Leave prints at home. Choose a neutral colour palette of two or three shades and add in a couple of statement coloured blouses that suit your skin tone. Add in a pair of crisp looking jeans with your classic pieces for a casual day off. 

4. Err on the side of caution and always have a polished look

There is nothing worse than feeling under dressed. When travelling for work you want to make an impression no matter what environment you find yourself in. Even when you are “off duty” you never know when you will bump into someone related to your work. Adopting the points above and taking classic pieces that can be worn across the board will ensure you always have a polished look. And of course, impeccable grooming and polished shoes are a given.   

5. Have a selection of wrinkle free clothing 

Some fabrics have better ability to retain their shape and appearance than others. Try to wear wrinkle free clothing on the plane, especially if you are heading straight to a meeting. The best wrinkle free fabrics are merino wool, cashmere and pre-treated washable silks.  You can find very fine merino wool dresses, pants, skirts and tops.  Super fine Merino Wool breathes and can keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.  A silk camisole or blouse can be a great light weight layer when paired with knitwear on the plane. 

6. Natural fibres are best

Natural fibres are cotton, wool, silk, cashmere and linen. Fabrics made of these will provide much more comfort than polyester or nylon. Natural fibres breathe, and allow you to stay cool and reduce perspiration. Natural fibres drape better on the body. They also speak of quality and have a nicer appeal than the others. 

7. Invest in a quality suit

There are many kinds of suits. I recommend investing in a high quality fine merino wool suit which has the properties spoken of above. On the plane you can ask to have the blazer hung up. The woollen pants will be wrinkle resistant and look fresh once you get off the plane. If you are taking a suit to wear later, bring it on the plane in a suit bag as carry on and ask to have it hung up in the jacket compartment.

8. Colour will give inject your personality in the collection

Take some beautiful silk scarves, a pair of heels with a little colour, or a piece of knit wear made of your best colour. This will allow you to inject some personality and extra style to your look while at the same time remaining appropriate to the situation.

9. Less is more

The length of the trip will determine how much you take, however most of the time we can get away with much less than we anticipate. Statistically we only wear 20% of our wardrobe and this applies to travel also. The last time I went to Paris for work I took a very small suitcase and still only wore half of what was in there. The items I wore repeatedly were ones that I loved, was most comfortable in and quality items that could be layered. Choosing from the list of classic items mentioned above will take you a lot further than you image. 

Choosing what to wear on a flight and at your destination requires some planning and the extra effort will pay off.  A well curated travel collection will give you the certainty of having a polished look ready for any interview, pitch or impromptu meeting that arises. 

Lalita Lowe, your Personal Fashion Curator


Lalita Lowe