Your boss has just told you: “You’re going on a business trip”. You immediately imagine exotic travelling, adventure, freedom, warm nights out, and meeting new people. Then you get your schedule and see that where you’re going, it’s the dead of winter. Your days will be filled with business meetings and your nights with business dinners. That’s when the practicality sets in. What do you pack to keep warm? How many changes of clothes? Where do you put all your toiletries and creams? What will you do with your bulky winter coat that you’ll certainly need where you’re going?
Today I want to share with you some practical tips on how to pack for a typical 4-day business trip in winter so you can still look professional, even when you step off the plane. If you’re a businessman, you might be interested in this article instead: “What to Pack for a Winter Business Trip (for Men)“.
1. Choose 1 Base Colour for Your Suit
Decide whether you prefer navy, charcoal or black and use this as your base colour for your entire trip. Then incorporate at least 1 white shirt for business meetings, and 2-3 other shirts or tops in other colours. By choosing 1 base colour, you can plan what other tops and accessories you want to take. This way, you can eliminate those “just in case” clothes that usually sit at the bottom of your suitcase.
2. Layer With Wool or Cashmere
If you’re going to a cold climate, layering is the best way to stay warm. I love layering because you can always add more if you’re cold, or take off if you’re too warm. If you’re not warm enough in your shirt and jacket, layer a cardigan made from wool or cashmere over your shirt.
3. Think About Your Winter Warmers
I’m talking about the layers underneath your shirt. Before your business trip, purchase high quality thermal underwear that matches your skin colour. Thermal underwear is specifically made to retain the heat close to your body so it will keep you warm all day. If you’re going to give a presentation on your business trip and are prone to getting nervous and a little sweaty, then consider whether you need such warmth close to your body on those days.
4. Keep Your Toes Warm
Boots or heels? The answer really depends if you choose to wear pants or a skirt. Pants give you the freedom to wear either. For skirts, heels are really the only choice you have. To keep your toes warm in boots, I recommend wool or thermal socks. To keep your legs warm in a skirt, there is a solution: thermal tights. They may be difficult to find in stores, but a quick search online should give you some solutions. Thermal tights are the businesswoman’s answer to class and warmth.
5. Scarves and Gloves Are a Must-Have
This is where you can add a little of your personality to your business look, and a lot more warmth. Even in Autumn I find myself wearing my favourite gold/yellow scarf because it’s so cosy and goes with everything. To maintain your ‘professional look’ choose a scarf in a solid colour or a conservative pattern. A scarf with stars, sequins, and a multitude of sparkles does not look professional. When choosing gloves, leather or suede always look professional. Keep your knitted gloves at home.
6. Don’t Forget a Quality Winter Coat
When you enter a building, the first piece of clothing the other person will see is your coat. Make your first impression count and choose a coat that speaks business and style. A wool coat that buttons up even when you’re wearing a suit underneath is the ideal choice. Stay away from parkas or other puffy coats. These are great for the weekend, but have no place in an office.
My last two tips aim to make your travelling more comfortable.
7. Take a Separate Bag for Soiled Clothing
This comes in handy if you’re asked to open your suitcase at the airport screening point.
8. Put a Small Hand Towel into Your Carry-On
I never take a flight without a small hand towel or face wash in my hand luggage. It’s ideal for when you clean your teeth aboard a flight or wash your hands in a public restroom that has no paper towels.
Now I’d love to hear about your tips. How do you keep warm when you’re travelling on business? Leave a comment in the section below.