With airline travel becoming increasingly challenging, it puts more pressure on the business traveler to choose wisely. I recently spoke with a group of women who travel every week and are searching for ways to maintain a fresh new look each day without feeling like they are wearing the same thing every day. I have another client who travels two or three times a month and her company does not want to pay for a checked bag so everything must go into a roll-on. So what to do?!
It is easier when you travel and are calling on different clients during the week but those whose travel takes them to one client for three or four days can find the wardrobe challenges daunting.
My suggestion is to take one basic suit (jacket with pants or skirt) then add variety through:
Your suit serves as the base while adding texture, color or interesting scarves gives variety so that you and your clients have a feeling that you are wearing a different outfit each day.
Texture: Notice in this example, the ruffles on the blouse offer lots of texture. Now this blouse might have more ruffles than you care to wear but the point is that the eye is drawn to the texture of the blouse. You hardly notice the long, black sweater and the gray skirt. We are just looking for a concept here, not that each of these pieces would be perfect for your body type or personality.
Day 1: Your core suit is gray. You wear it with a simple shell; let’s say black with a jewel neckline. Accent with an interesting necklace.
Day 2: Wear the skirt with a textured blouse and long black cardigan as in the example.
Day 3: Wear black trousers, the cardigan and shell with a bright colored scarf at the neck. Use a longer silk scarf (print or plain) and loop it around your neck then tie the ends in front. Your attention will be drawn to the scarf and the sweater and trousers will be subordinate.
Day 4: Wear your gray suit jacket with black trousers and a bright colored blouse.
Notice on this second example that the blouse becomes the focal point. Again, these colors or styles may not be to your liking so we are again looking at the concept. For a warm palette, let’s look at the possibilities.
Day 1: Wear a chocolate brown suit with trousers. Wear a camel shell and interesting accent jewelry.
Day 2: Wear the yellow sweater, floral blouse and camel slacks as above.
Day 3: Wear the chocolate brown suit jacket, second floral or bright colored blouse in toasted greens, teal or burnt orange or a combination some of these colors and camel slacks.
Day 4: Wear the chocolate brown slacks, yellow sweater and brown shell from day 1 with a brightly colored scarf.
In both cases, you have other possible combinations beyond the suggestions given.
Let me just throw out some other possibilities. Let’s say you have a traditional, waist length cardigan. For the gray/black option, it could be in red, plumb, or blue: shades that go well with gray or black. Button the bottom few buttons and wear a shell underneath that coordinates with your skirt or slacks. Add a scarf at the neck pulling in coordinating colors and you have another option requiring hardly any suitcase space. For warm tones, how about a teal blue, lime green or burnt orange? The bright color will give a completely different feel to your basic colors and look fresh and different.
I would suggest basics of gray/black or gray/navy for cool toned skin and chocolate brown/camel for warm toned skin. As spring approaches, a warm or cool toned taupe is excellent for business. These neutrals will still go with the bright colors that complement your natural coloring.
With these few suggestions, I hope your imagination is now ignited to see the variety of possibilities that can be made. Don’t forget to keep track of what you wore with each client so you can use a different combination for the next visit. By doing this, you will appear fresh and different each time you call on a client.
Tip: Dry cleaning will change the fabric color over time so be sure to dry clean both jacket and bottom together so they maintain the same color.