Whether you have started a new job or if you have been promoted to a new position, the opportunity to travel for business is an exciting one; particularly if you haven’t traveled before. When the boss tells you that you will be attending a conference, training seminar or a trade show representing your organization, there is a lot to look forward to.
As the date gets closer you realize that your wardrobe (which has always been good enough for daily office wear) could use some updating. Dressing well for the office is one thing, but participating in a large public event where you will be networking may require something a little better than khaki pants and dress shirts. You don’t want to be under dressed but at the same time, you don’t want to stand out as an inexperienced person by being overdressed either.
What to pack, what to buy and what to wear are a real concern because you will absolutely be graded on your fashion choices (no pressure). We’ve gathered tips from some of the world’s top fashion stylists and resource articles to help you hone your look for your upcoming business trip.
Whatever Forbes Magazine states becomes the golden rule when it comes to business. The internationally respected authority in business news and topics, Forbes sets the standard for doing business the right way.
One of Forbes best articles on dressing for business talks about formal attire, and provides a guide to navigating dinner (or lunch) in a five star establishment. In “Key Menswear Essentials to Refine Your Personal Style and Wardrobe” author Troy Alexander discusses everything from the suit to the casual coat, and how to choose the right outfit for business functions.
If you are heading for a business trip in a hot climate, check out this article by Jacquelyn Smith which talks about striking a critical balance between being comfortable and looking professional in “How to Dress for Success in the Warm Summer Months”.
If you aren’t sure how your wardrobe choices can support or inhibit your career growth, check out this article from professional executive stylist Lauren Solomon “The Image Secrets That Drive Career and Business Success”. The article also provides grooming tips and “before and after” photographs of business leaders who nailed new opportunities and recognition after learning how to make a better first impression socially and professionally.
It is not surprising that some of the fashion tips provided by the writers at Mashable recommend a more cutting edge and creative take on professional wardrobe. When you consider that Mashable is a community of technophiles and start-up entrepreneurs, the environment and vibe is cool, casual and creative.
Author Sylvan Lane acknowledges the confusion about ‘business casual’ in his article “What Do You Wear to Work When Your Office Has No Dress Code?” Lane goes as far as to explain that each employer and business culture, as well as sector has their own unwritten rules when it comes to business wardrobe. It is a humorous article that demonstrates how valuable it is to ask for guidance, or to take your cues from management and your coworkers when it comes to day-to-day or business travel attire.
Entrepreneur is another go-to when it comes to reliable business information for professionals. There are a number of resource articles available through the website that provide valuable learning and guidance for men when it comes to professional apparel.
In the “How to Dress for a Business Meeting. Yes, Seriously” by Kim Lachance Shandrow, you will find a great infographic that you may want to print off as a handy reference guide. The same author also wrote a piece called “The Stars of Shark Tank on How to Dress for Success” with statements from venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary and fashion icon and CEO Daymond John. The two business leaders divulge exactly how important the right appearance is to both leadership and to being treated with respect by colleagues and customers.
Most business environments require a suit, and there is no limit to the number of styles and options available. Historically business men would have to pay top dollar to have a custom suit, where today, thanks to ecommerce, custom made suits can be ordered online and delivered within a short period of time. If you are a man that completely hates shopping for clothing, this is very good news.
Start by knowing your measurements. Most tailors will take your measurements for a small fee, giving you an accurate set of important numbers that enable to you to shop for your best fit. Once you have your fit, you can feel comfortable ordering your clothing online which enables you to price compare while having access to the styles and fabric options you want. It is a convenient and affordable way to quickly establish an appropriate wardrobe if business travel is going to be a regular thing in the future.
Now that you have a style guide and have purchased the right pieces to expand your professional wardrobe, packing for your business trip also takes some careful planning. If you have had the same luggage since high school (and it has seen better days) consider investing in a large suitcase and matching carry-on luggage piece before your trip. You may be dressed for success, but toting a beat up suitcase into a five star convention or hotel will sabotage your look.
When it comes to shoes, pack light. One pair of black and one of brown dress shoes, some penny loafer styled semi-casual shoes and sandals (if needed for free time) are plenty to pack for a 5-7 day trip. If you plan to be doing a lot of walking in the airport with indirect flights, wear running shoes to prevent sore feet and change back into your dress shoes when you arrive at your gate.
Enjoy the experience of traveling for business. While it can be tiring, it is also a fabulous opportunity to deepen professional connections and network with new people, while seeing new sights and cities and growing your career opportunities.