By Dawn Stanyon, AICI FLC, Professional Image Consultant
Your luggage, just like your clothing, shoes and accessories, makes a statement about you. It's an easily identifiable manifestation of your image. While that hounds tooth canvas bag is easily identifiable and fun, is it a true reflection of your attributes? If you have to walk into a client's office with your bag, would you be embarrassed?
Unless you're a comedian or Katy Perry, you don't want to lug around a hard-sided suitcase emblazoned with cherries or cartoon characters. If you travel for work often, consider a high-quality bag that is utilitarian as well as professional: lots of pockets, sturdy, easy to navigate through busy airports, and that will last and still look good. It's worth the investment. Consider the per-use breakdown: if you buy a set of luggage (big bag, carry-on and a "medicine bag") for $500 and you use it at least 10 times per year for 10 years that breaks down to $5 per use. That may be the same amount that you spend on coffee each day!
If designer labels are part of your personal brand, by all means, buy Louis Vuitton or Prada. If you're on a more moderate budget, you can find good quality Samsonite, London Fog and Beverly Hills Country Çlub bags. Check out www.ebags.com. TJ Maxx is a good place to find reasonably priced pieces that are traditional but might sport interesting and easily identifiable details. And for women, if you favor more feminine pieces, consider an Emilie Sloan train bag in "silver stone." These bags are sturdy and then they fold up for storage.
Finally, before you make a purchase, take the bag for a walk. If you can, pull it around the store before you buy it. You want to make sure that the roller wheels actually roll, that you like the multi-directional spinner wheels, and that you are comfortable with the handle and weight.
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.