What should I pack for a business trip?

What should I pack for a business trip?

Business travel is tough. And not just because you’re expected to be at your best on no sleep and an internal clock that’s spinning like a roulette wheel. But a simple ways to make it easier is one a lot of guys overlook – nailing what you’re going to wear. Having to pick outfits is tough enough at home. With weather and a schedule you’re not used to, it’s almost impossible.

Which is why your business trip really starts two days before you fly. If you plan for everywhere you’ll be before you get there, you don’t have to cobble outfits together by the seat of the pants you forgot to pack. “There’s always a tendency to take too much, but then stuff gets in the way,” says Thread stylist Brooke Philips. “You should think about where you’ll wear everything. Grab what you want, then edit it down to the essentials.”

To avoid carousel queues, you should stick to hand luggage only, which means you need items that work together. “A neutral palette means everything goes,” says Brooke. “Then you can have the odd brighter piece, to lighten things up.” Most of what you pack should also sit near the middle of the smart-casual spectrum, with a couple of items at either end that you can slip on either for the office, or afterwards. Below, Brooke breaks down the ultimate business trip bag, which will have you prepared for any occasion, anywhere in the world.

The business trip essentials

Brogues: “They go with all your smarter pieces, but can also work casually.”

Trainers: “A minimal style is in the smart-casual sweet spot. They dress up with tailored trousers but also mean you’re ready for a relaxed dinner. They’re more comfortable on the plane, too.”

Navy chinos: “They’re smart with a shirt and brogues, but dress down with a tee and trainers.”

Grey flannel trousers: “Keep these for business hours. They’re smart enough to impress clients and colleagues.”

Merino jumper: “It’s the perfect lightweight layer – you never know when you’ll be outside – and dresses up and down easily. It’s also perfect for the plane as the fabric regulates your body heat.”

Long-sleeved polo: “It’s midway between a jumper and a polo shirt; again, in that smart-casual zone. The longer sleeves are more formal, though, so you can lose the blazer if it gets warm. It’s comfortable and you’re smart, but not overdressed.”

White formal shirt: “It’s a business trip, after all, so make sure you can dress all the way up if needs be.”

Blue Oxford shirt: “This is better for lunches. It’s smart with a tie but also looks good left open, which gives you flexibility.”

T-shirts: “Slip into a fresh one before you head out and it will feel like you put on a whole new outfit, even if you’re in the same trousers and jacket.”

Blazer: “Something unstructured is more versatile. Look for softer shoulders, which are smart but not stuffy.”

Tie: “It shouldn’t be shiny. Go for something with texture, as that will go with all your shirts and trousers.”