Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mail Bag: Packing for a Week-Long Business Trip

Greetings Kasmira!

Would you have any recommendations on what and how to pack for a business travel? I don't travel often for business and I'm lost. I'm so inspired by your fashion blog but I can't seem to mix and match like you do.

I will be travelling for business for 6 days. I am from Asia travelling to MSP for 3 days and then on the 3rd day will travel MSP to ATL. I'll be in ATL for another 3 days. I wanted to pack as light as possible but I can't seem to fit my shoes and clothings in one cabin bag. I do not want to appear clumsy with a large luggage because I will be flying from city to city and find large luggage cumbersome.

My work clothes consist mainly black, grey and dark blue colors. How many tops and bottoms would you recommend? I have 2 pairs of shoes and 1 flipflops. Would you be able to show us how you pack your (checked) luggage? How it looks inside your luggage? And do you pack extra clothing in your handbag? I'm travelling internationally for 18hours flight.

Thank you for taking time to read my mail :)


The best “practice” I’ve gotten at a week’s worth of outfits from a small selection have been Jane’s capsule wardrobe challenges. The rules have been slightly different each time, but essentially the following items were allowed:

- 10 items of clothing (including shoes)
- 5 accessories
- A coat
- (Hosiery and underthings were “free”)

I’d recommend the same strategy for a week-long trip, breaking the capsule down as follows:

- 1 dress
- 2 tops
- 2 bottoms (skirts or pants)
- 1 blazer
- 1 cardigan
- 2 pairs of business shoes (consider flipflops or sneakers as “free”)
- 1 more item of your choosing

- Purse
- Scarf
- Necklace
- Earrings
- Brooch

Whenever I started a capsule, I first decided on a color palette. It sounds like you’ve already got that part covered! You should be able to interchange the items without odd color combinations.

Next, pull all of your items and start mixing and matching. Some tips:

1. Layering adds many possibilities. A skirt can be worn over a dress. A blouse can be worn over or under a dress. Blazers and cardigans can change the look of an outfit.

2. A scarf is one of the most versatile accessories. It can be tied a variety of ways and places. Try it in a bow around your neck or as a sash around your waist.

3. Plan the outfits in sequential order to minimize repeats on successive days. Even if you do repeat an item two days in a row, you’d be surprised at how few people will notice!

Here are a few of my capsule wardrobes:

Clothing: 1 dress, 1 skirt, 1 blouse, 1 sweater, 1 cardigan, 1 pair shoes, 1 pair boots
Accessories: 1 purse, 1 tote, 1 scarf, 1 pair earrings, 1 brooch

I wore that dress three times in one week and no one noticed.

Clothing: 2 dresses, 1 blouse, 1 tank, 1 pair jeans, 1 light jacket, 2 cardigans, 2 pair shoes
Accessories: 1 purse, 1 tote, 1 necklace, 1 pair earrings

If you can wear dark denim for work, it makes a nice piece to dress down for casual evening activities.

Clothing: 2 dresses, 1 blouse, 1 knit shell, 1 skirt, 1 blazer, 2 cardigans, 2 pair shoes
Accessories: 1 tote, 1 scarf, 1 bracelet, 1 brooch, and fuzzy slippers!

I stayed home sick from work one day of this challenge, but I still wore my capsule outfit. I just added some comfy slippers.

Clothing: 1 dress, 1 blouse, 1 long-sleeved tee, 1 sweater, 1 skirt, 2 cardigans, 2 pair shoes, 1 pair boots
Accessories: 1 purse, 1 scarf, 1 necklace, 2 belts

This capsule was Valentine-themed in honor of the holiday.

I feel pretty adept at creating many outfits out of few garments, but I wouldn’t say I’m good at getting it all in my suitcase! Besides my work wear, I’ve usually got a tripod and many days of exercise gear to fit in my bags. I just try to get creative. I stuff small items inside of shoes. I roll some things but leave others flat - depending on how badly they wrinkle. I pad delicate items with softer things. I’ve never photographed the inside of my packed suitcase; it mostly just looks messy!

In my carry on, I have all of my electronics, my glasses/contacts, and warming layers (anything from a scarf to a heavy wrap, depending on the climate). If I were traveling internationally, I might bring a few more layers and additional toiletries in my carry on – in case my luggage were delayed.

Have a great trip!


The Tote Trove said...

It was fun to see how you could create so many outfits out of so few pieces. Well done!

sylvia @ 40PlusStyle said...

I travel quite a bit but always pack too much... Should try that capsule style packing sometime...

Sarah said...

I love seeing your capsule wardrobes! I've always been interested in maximizing outfit combinations from a small amount of clothes. You give so many good ideas.

Anonymous said...

Wow, seeing all those pictures in comparison I just have to say how much more I love the red hair. Blonde don't stand a chance against it! :)