How to pack light, versatile, and stylish for business travel.
I’m a fan of keeping it simple. And when it comes to travel, taking a less is more approach in terms of packing really pays off. It’s a skill I have honed by spending nearly 100 days on the road every year for the past 10 years. Packing versatile definitely requires some thought, but that little bit of time invested in planning can save a ton of time (and money) at the airport.
I recently went to Dallas on a three-day business trip. I took one bag that I carried on the plane. Here’s what I packed, along with some tips on how to pack light, versatile, and stylish for business travel.
This Look: Khaki poplin suit by Brooks Brothers (Made to Measure), Blue polo shirt by Billy Reid, Brown silk pocket square with light blue border by Brooks Brothers, Brown suede penny loafers by To Boot New York, Watch with brown leather band by Timex, Brown leather plaque belt by J.Crew, Leather duffle bag by Floto Imports (similar here), Brown leather iPhone case by J.Crew
When packing light, what you wear for the travel portion of the trip plays an even bigger role than what you put in your suitcase or duffle bag. A versatile suit is always a great option. Knowing the climate as well as what types of activities and events you will be attending—meetings, seminars, cocktail parties—should provide all the information you need to choose an appropriate suit. This is important and will be the foundation of each look.
Since it was spring and temperatures were forecast in the 70s, going with a khaki suit was a no-brainer for me. For the flight, I kept it comfortable and casual with a polo, but packed a few other shirt options, accessories, as well as a pair of navy chinos to pair with blazer to break up the suit. But rather than spell everything out, take a look a what I packed in my duffle.
What I Packed
Top Row: Leather duffle bag by Floto Imports (similar here), Khaki poplin suit by Brooks Brothers (Suiting Essentials), Blue polo shirt by Billy Reid, Brown silk pocket square with light blue border by Brooks Brothers
Second Row: Black neoprene computer sleeve by Incase, 13″ Apple MacBook Pro, Orange and camo large accessory bag by Topo Designs, Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle with leather case, Credit card reader by Square, Orange and camo medium accessory bag by Topo Designs, Black New Wayfarer sunglasses by Ray-Ban, Brown leather plaque belt by J.Crew, iPhone 5 by Apple, Brown leather iPhone case by J.Crew, Watch with brown leather band by Timex, Coral silk pocket square by Brooks Brothers, White cotton pocket square with navy border by The Tie Bar, Eye glasses by Bellagio (similar here)
Third Row: Black running shorts by Nike, White sleeveless running shirt, Radar Path sunglasses by Oakley, Black running hat, Navy chinos by J.Crew, Blue micro stripe shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke (similar here), Blue/purple plaid shirt by Neiman Marcus, Pink stripe shirt by J.Crew (similar here), Navy and coral striped bow tie by Brooks Brothers, Navy silk knit tie by The Tie Bar (similar here), Vintage silver tie bar (similar here), Grey cardigan by American Apparel
A Few Things of Note
– Items are arranged by how they were packed in my duffle; bottom row went on the bottom of the bag, and so on.
– Always put electronics on top to make getting through security screening a breeze. And don’t bother putting your belt or watch on before heading to the airport—you’ll just have to take them off. Remove that extra step by just placing them on top of everything in your packed duffle bag and putting them on once you are through security.
– I knew I was taking a bit of a risk by choosing to bring just a pair of suede loafers. Any rain at all and I could kiss them goodbye (or look a little less put together wearing the suit with my runners). But with clear skies and no clouds forecast, it was a style risk I was willing to take.
– If you are like me, you travel with all manner of electronics. It’s always good to have a small bag to keep all of your device’s power cords together in one place. I really like this accessory bag from Topo Designs. It’s the perfect size and stylish to boot.
– Slippers? Yes, slippers. (To go with the pajamas that aren’t pictured.) At the hotel, whether I’m unwinding at night or grabbing breakfast in the morning, I inevitably find myself needing to go to the lobby for something. For that reason, I always pack slippers, which are a much better option than just socks.
He Spoke Style
Photography by Rob McIver Photo.