So you’re packing for that dreaded business trip. After all, no matter where you are going, or how much you like your co-workers, there’s nothing like trying to pack for a week of professional activities with only a carry-on (you don’t want to be that person who makes everyone else wait for luggage).
While we can’t save you from unfortunate events such as getting stuck sitting next to your boss during a 9 hour delay on the tarmac or the TSA taking your eyelash curler (true stories), we can help you with making the most of your limited carry-on space.
Pick a palette. Start with your main neutral, which for most of us will probably be black or perhaps gray. A favorite pair of pants or a tailored jacket like this impeccably cut black Paul Smith blazer is a good initial building block.
Select a secondary neutral, such as white or cream. Gray and camel or beige shades also work well with black.* Accents like the black trim on this white silk Line & Dot blouse are also good – it would be perfect on its own paired with a black pencil skirt, but the trim adds interest under a jacket or cardigan as well. Basic cardigans like this one from White House Black Market are a good choice as well.
Pick two colors that work together to be your main highlights. It’s best to keep them either warm or cool and in the same color family, e.g. jewel tones like cobalt blue and emerald green, or muted pastels like mint and cornflower blue. This royal blue Roland Mouret tulip skirt would work well, or if you really want to make an impression try a pair of red trousers like these from Stella McCartney.
Now consider the pieces themselves. I’ve found that in most settings, you can usually get away with two bottoms, four to six tops (including cardigans/blazers for layering), two pairs of shoes and a dress or two. Add one pair of shoes (you’ll be wearing the other pair on the plane) and a couple scarves and some jewelry to mix things up and you’re set. These Tod’s ankle boots are the perfect option since they would work with both skirts and pants.
The final rule/trick? Everything has to work with everything else. The only exceptions allowed are evening pieces if you have to attend a formal event. Lay everything out on your bed (or use Polyvore) and anything that seems like it clashes goes back in the closet.
4. Roland Mouret ‘Tonu’ Skirt, $496.16
7. Banana Republic Leona Leopard Scarf, now $37.99
*Those of who only really wear neutrals can stop the color selection process here.
– Jacqueline Zenn
Image Layout: Second City Style