Your Wardrobe on the Road
By Dawn Stanyon, AICI FLC, Professional Image Consultant
Traveling is not glamorous. Planning, packing and then navigating from point A to B is often exhausting and frustrating. And when the trip is business and not pleasure, there’s even less joy. But that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to look like you just rolled out of bed. Just because you have to get up at 4:00 am and stand in a mile-long line to sit wedged between strangers doesn’t mean your professional image goes on vacation. Here are a few tips on how to represent your personal brand when you travel:
Basic Pieces & Layers
- Women: It’s as easy to wear a comfortable skirt or pants as it is to wear old jeans or yoga pants. Keep your layers neutral or monotone. These pieces can be worn over and over again while you travel. Invest in a few pieces that are basic, classy and wrinkle resistant.
- Men and women: Wear your suit jacket with dark-wash jeans. This keeps the jacket relatively wrinkle free and kicks your whole travel look up a notch.
- Because temperatures can vary widely from car to airport to plane to end destination, consider a vest or lightweight sweater or shrug: pieces that you can easily shed and wear over and over again.
- Big scarves are a classy and essential layering piece for women. They can double as a blanket or eye-mask on the plane and then be used to alter the look of an outfit once on the ground.
Accessories are Key
- Women: Jewelry doesn’t take up much room in your suitcase – so bring more than you think you’ll need. A variety of jewelry options allow you to keep basic outfits fresh.
- Men: No one cares if you wear the same suit several times on an extended trip: ties and shirts are your statement pieces.
- Women and shoes: wedges are great for traveling; they are generally easier on the feet than pumps. Flats are great – but make sure they are broken in and comfortable. (Always carry moleskin-padded bandages – they can be cut to size to protect hot spots on your feet.)
- Bring a beautiful and durable leather satchel or messenger bag that you can then use as a briefcase or handbag. (Here’s a great messenger bag for a woman; and here’s one for a man.)
- Your carry-on suitcase should be the required size (usually 45 linear inches or 22" x 14" x 9"). Don’t be that guy holding up the line because you thought you could jam your large suitcase into the overhead bin.
- Luggage should be clean and labeled. If your bag is covered in florescent duck tape or looks like gorillas have handled it, it’s time to invest in a durable and classic piece.
Dawn is a Certified Image and Professional Development Consultant. A graduate of The Emily Post Institute, the London Image Institute, 360Reach Brand Analyst training and WSET Level 1 wine certification, Dawn's focus is on empowering people to reach professional success. As Director of Sales at The Emily Post Institute, she has worked with the Post family for six years. Prior to Emily Post, she was a non-profit director of development and community relations, a PR and fundraising consultant, and a graduate of the University of Vermont. Follow Dawn's Professionality blog for tips on professional dress, personal development and workplace inspiration.