An Entire Week’s Business Wardrobe in Just One Carryon

BasicTops

The core of this particular travel wardrobe consists of one pair of black knit slacks, denim leggings, and these three tops.

When I fly across the country each year to serve as guest professor at Taylor University, I do not check any luggage. I’ve devised a way to pack everything I need for the entire week in a business-casual environment—in freezing January, no less—with what I can carry onto the plane.

The key is to plan each item of clothing to pair with at least one other item. I always choose black for my basic palette and solid colors for the rest of the core items, since solids are less memorable. For my 2014 trip, my two accent colors were Radiant Orchid and Turquoise. I chose a long-sleeved top in each of those two colors, plus another in black.

The long black jacket added warmth and versatility in a business environment.

The long black knit jacket adds warmth and versatility in a business environment.

Next I selected an unstructured black-knit business jacket to layer with the core items. Then I added a casual plush jacket in Radiant Orchid (not pictured). The casual jacket was perfect for relaxing after hours and while traveling, and also doubled at night as a travel pillow.

This shirt’s sheer fabric made it unsuitable as a wear-alone top, so I considered it an accent scarf with sleeves.

This shirt’s sheer fabric makes it unsuitable as a wear-alone top, so I consider it an accent scarf with sleeves.

Five scarves, a black belt, and a sheer cardigan overshirt provided visual interest and gave the illusion of far greater wardrobe variety than actually existed. Worn with a pair of black knit slacks (for business) or dark-blue denim leggings (for travel and leisure), these very packable items provided me with more than enough options for an entire week without ever repeating an outfit.

I vary the outfits and color palettes on each trip. Although I’m proud of my wardrobe-planning accomplishments, I don’t want students’ recognition of the same outfits I wore the previous year to overshadow what I’m teaching them.

Planning each day’s specific wardrobe outfit ensures I won’t wear the same dominant color or memorable accent piece two days in a row. That ploy heightens the illusion of a wide variety of clothing.

Planning each day’s specific wardrobe outfit ensures I won’t wear the same dominant color or memorable accent piece two days in a row. That ploy heightens the illusion of a wide variety of clothing.

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Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana has gathered packing pointers over the years on numerous domestic and foreign trips. Most recently, she travels in conjunction with the publication of her latest book, 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

© 2014 The Savage Sisters

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