Everything you need to look good for any occasion on an overnight business trip can be packed into a single bag. And that bag should fit into an airliner's overhead bin, says Ryan Short, founder of Styletherapy for Men, a Toronto fashion consulting business for young professionals.
Mr. Short has pulled together 10 essential items that work together for maximum style with minimum fuss. Here are his guidelines for a wardrobe to carry you from the plane to work to evening.
This is a travelling man's best friend. Navy looks good with just about every colour and goes easily with jeans. The great thing about an unstructured blazer is just that – it's unstructured. Usually made of cotton or linen, it has a worn look to it, yet it maintains its shape on your body. For summertime, pair it with darker denim jeans and a lightweight shirt in the morning when you're rushing off to the airport. For winter travel, opt for a silk and wool blend charcoal sweater or a fitted cardigan. (Charcoal works well as it will match the essential items in your wardrobe.) You can find a great unstructured blazer at Banana Republic or The Bay. $250-$500.
A short-sleeve, button-down shirt
Choose a light cotton or linen fabric. This versatile item can be worn with jeans, dress pants and shorts.
Dark denim jeans
Jeans should be straight-leg or boot-cut and fit just right – no holes or fancy pockets. Darker denim jeans go with everything.
Mix-and-match sports jacket
A sports jacket is essential, and best in navy, charcoal or a pinstripe. Mr. Short recommends a jacket with a pair of mix-and-match trousers rather than a business suit. The jacket also pairs easily with jeans. Usually sports jackets have a more rigid feel and are a heavier wool or cotton blend. If possible, carry it in a separate garment bag, or fold it loosely on its hanger and place it on top of everything else in your carry on. After your business day, keep the jacket on but switch to a pair of jeans. Ditch the tie, open the top dress shirt button and you're good to go for a night out. You can find a great sports jacket at Harry Rosen and Banana Republic. $500-$800.
Look for a lightweight wool for the summer, heavier wool for the winter. Look for a trimmer fit, not a boxy leg, as you want to keep stylish from day to evening. Wool is naturally wrinkle-resistant.
Two dress shirts for two business days, three dress shirts for three business days. Opt for a luxury-blend cotton and keep them in simple colours such as white and Oxford blue. This way you will need only a couple of ties to match. French cuffs – shirts with double cuffs that require cufflinks – always look classy. Hand wash please, as the cuffs can become worn in the dry cleaners. You can find a great shirt at Green Shag or Banana Republic. $175-$325.
They work better than lace-ups. You're be grateful when you hit the line-up at security and have to take them off and on. Look for a pair with a leather sole and a leather top. While they are still a slip-on shoe, they maintain a dressier look that can be polished before your next meeting. Go for a pair from Hugo Boss or Canali. Expect to pay extra for a great slip-on, but remember they will last. $300-$600.
One tie for two shirts, so you can pull outfits together quickly. Add a great pair of cufflinks, a classic tan leather belt and a pair of fashion sneakers to throw on when you're exploring (bagged and zipped into a separate compartment in your suitcase). Colourful socks add a note of personality.
Workout clothes, shaving kit
Look to Nike and Lululemon for quick-drying workout gear. Tuck your shaving kit into one of those zippered compartments in your bag to prevent spillage.
Choose one with lots of zippered compartments to keep your sneakers and shaving kit separate from your business clothes. Suitcase size depends on the airline. I recommend people check their airline's website for sizes based on who they fly with the most.
You're ready to go!