Even if you travel for work often, it's still a big deal. You have to be on every second you're not recovering from the day in your hotel room. Maybe you have clients to impress, or maybe it's the bigwigs from your own company. Or both.
This is not the time for ill-fitting, uncomfortable clothes. You need to focus. But you also need to look polished and put together, which isn't easy when you're living out of a suitcase. You need outfits that you can wear all day in the office and then out to dinner with the team.
Some people say to pack a handful of separates you can mix and match over the course of the week. That can work, but I've never been thrilled with that idea for a business trip. An ample chest means that any spills are going to end up on the front of your shirt. That's a problem if you need to wear that top again. And if you're spending a week in important meetings, do you want anyone recognizing that jacket from the other day?
Know What to Scale Back
You don't want to be the one with the overstuffed, unmanageable suitcase, even though you're bringing a different outfit for each day. You need to save room somewhere else.
One person doesn't need an entire bottle of shampoo for a week. Treat yourself to some wee tiny travel bottles even if you're going to check your baggage. Back when I was a road warrior, I could be packed and out of the house in 20 minutes thanks to those babies. All I had to do was refill them.
You get two pairs of shoes for the week, including the ones you're wearing on the plane. Three, if you need sneakers for the hotel gym. Business travel isn't the time for cute shoes that perfectly go with that one outfit.
If you're doing separates, you can get away with wearing a skirt or a pair pants twice - unless they're in an eye catching color like Royal Blue or Red.
And Know What to Bring
Bring along a couple of scarves and a small assortment of jewelry. They don't take up much room and can really make an outfit pop. Bonus - scarves and large necklaces can cover the coffee stain you got during the morning meeting.
I like to plan an outfit for each day and you know I'm going to tell you to make them all Vikki Vi Classics. Roll them up for packing and they'll come out of the suitcase ready to wear. Unlike all the clothes I had to iron back in my business travel days.
I love that they'll make you look as polished as someone in a tailored suit - and leave you feeling so much more comfortable. If you need the look of a suit, Vikki Vi Blazers are your new favorite traveling companion. At the moment, we have them in Black and Navy.
Be Ready to Shine
It's frustrating and unfair, but you already know that you're going to be judged more harshly than your thinner colleagues. When traveling, dress like you're heading straight to the office from the airport - because you probably are. One skinny member of my team wore a tracksuit on the plane even though our boss' boss' boss was flying with us. It didn't damage her career, but you and I both know that if she'd been plus size, the big boss would've decided she was sloppy and would hold it against her.
Remember, when you're traveling for business you need to look smart, not pretty. Even out to dinner or at the big after work cocktail party your clients are hosting. You'll miss your casual wear, but just think of all the suitcase room you'll save by leaving them home.