Chances are you’re going to be hitting the road for work sometime soon, and chances are you’ve probably stared at an open suitcase on your bed just dreading the packing process. But, putting together a simple style strategy for a 2 or 3-day trip is actually pretty easy when you focus on the basics: versatile items and a little bit of planning. With a little bit of practice, you’re going to be packing quickly, traveling lightly, and crushing every style scenario.
As it often is with Cheesecake Factory menus, sometimes having a lot of choices is not a great thing. It’s the same thing with packing, even though it’s a short trip you’ve got this tendency to pack for every conceivable scenario. So, when you’re preparing, it’s important to keep two things in mind: editing and multitasking. Editing down what you’re taking to the essentials is not only going to make packing more simple, but it’s going to make getting ready a breeze (you don’t need 4 ties for two days of meetings, trust us). Multi-tasking is key because you want all things you’re packing to pull double duty so ultimately you’re bringing less and traveling lighter.
What To Pack
A Navy or Charcoal Suit - You can easily get multiple wears out of an essential suit like navy or charcoal. Wear it with a white shirt and tie on day one, wear the jacket as a blazer with dress slacks on day 2, and then a new shirt and tie on day 3.
1 Pair of Dress Pants - Wear them dressed up for a day of meetings and then dressed down for drinks or dinner.
4 Versatile Shirts - Try two basic dress shirts in white and blue, and then throw two more casual options like an oxford, chambray, or patterned shirt, both of which could be dressed up or dressed down, depending on your third-day itinerary or evening plans.
1 or 2 Ties - The key here is easy-to-match patterns that are, yup, you guessed it, versatile. Bonus points if you swap in a knit tie for one of them as an alternative.
1 Pair of Dark Denim - For a more casual day of meetings or for the evening, dark denim is the ultimate role player.
A Light Jacket or Sweater - This one is weather and temperature-dependent obviously, just make sure either choice works with everything else you packed and protect you from the elements, add warmth if need be, or just work as a pillow on the plane.
1 Pair of Brown Dress Shoes - A versatile brown lace-up can be worn with everything from a suit to denim.
The Extras - Optional extras that can be adjusted depending on your taste and bag size could be a t-shirt or two, a set of workout gear, a second pair of shoes for the plane trip (sneakers or loafers, both of which can be dressed up or down), or a secondary warm layer like a hoodie or cardigan.
Seems pretty simple and functional, doesn’t it? Plus you’ll still have plenty of room for the essentials like underwear, socks, a belt, and a well-put-together dopp kit. Hell, pack properly and you may even be able to size down to a weekender bag or duffle rather than going the suitcase route. After your trip, don't forget to take stock of how you did and make any adjustments the next time around. The goal is to fine-tune this packing list to the absolute essentials and take all the stress out of packing and dressing. Ultimately, you’re not only going to fly through with a well-packed, light bag but you’ll be looking at a stylish, efficient wardrobe that’s ready for whatever is on your calendar app of choice.