Fashion For Real Women

What To Wear for

Business Travel

Business travel. It's a great way to build your career but can be a real challenge when it comes to packing. If you're going someplace you've never gone before for business travel, the first question that pops in your head is, "What in the world am I going to wear?"

This is a very real concern. Not only do you want to make a great impression, particularly if you're meeting with a client for the first time or trying to close a big deal, but you want to "fit in" with the locals and not pack your entire closet in the process.

Business travel attire
Business Travel Attire

So how do you do it? With advance planning, capsules, and a few business travel tips and tricks.

1. Check The Weather

Find out what the weather's going to be like at your destination. Just log on to and type in the zip code or city name of the place you intend to visit. It will return a 10-day forecast and give you a good indication of what to expect weather-wise.

If your business trip is more than 10 days out, you can check historical averages for the area and get a good idea of what's in store. Also, if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory illness, you can learn the local health indicators for pollen, mold spores, etc. All in all, a handy site to have in your business travel bookmark list.

2. Inquire About The Dress Code

If you travel even a little, you've probably already discovered that dress codes can vary significantly from city to city and region to region. Don't assume ANYTHING! It will cause you unnecessary grief. This is particularly true in international business travel.

Be as specific as possible. If your hostess says, "We'll be having dinner at La Maison de Snob. The dress is casual," find out exactly what casual means to her. Shorts and flip flops? A skirt and blouse? No tiara? What?

Now this may seem a little obtuse--unless you've made this very faux pas in past business trips. Let me give you an example:

I once attended a creative thinking seminar given by an energetic speaker who could have easily found a second career as a stand up comedian. He was hilarious. In his polo shirt and khakis, he was pinging all over the room.

During the seminar, he relayed an embarrassing situation he'd encountered on a recent trip to Chicago. It seems that on his way to the 44th Floor to give his creative thinking seminar to a group of executives, he was stopped from getting on the elevator.

Why? Because he wasn't wearing a coat and tie. He'd come in his "standard uniform" of polo shirt and khakis, which was how he was most comfortable teaching his class.

At first he thought the guard was pulling his leg. But when his 8:30 am start time came and went as he argued with the guard in the lobby, he demanded to speak to the seminar contact. The coordinator confirmed that he would, indeed be required to don a coat and tie. He had to wait until the stores opened at 9:00 so he could go buy the required clothes. The class started an hour late, and his company lost the training contract as a result.

Who was at fault? The person who arranged the meeting. Who ended up paying the price? The one who came in from out of town.

The lesson? Don't count on your business contact to tell you what you need to know. Ask so there's no question. If you don't feel comfortable enough with your host or client to do this, call the local Chamber of Commerce to see what's appropriate business travel attire. Or, if you'll be traveling abroad, contact your country's embassy in your destination city to find out what to expect.

Don't leave your business travel attire to chance. Your career is too important!


Need more help in building your business travel wardrobe? Grab a copy of Business Wear Magic by author and image consultant Diana Pemberton-Sikes to discover how to increase your income by dressing appropriately for your line of work. You can find it online at  .

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