Today’s guest post is written by Helena Frumson, founder of Business Studio London, a career club for professional women.
I met Helena and her business partner Tory Logue via Instagram and have been following their account for a while now. They always share great work style inspiration as well as career advice and interviews with interesting women. I am a subscriber to their newsletter so when I saw the below article land in my inbox I knew it would be a great piece to share with you. I hope you agree.
15 years ago I went on a work trip with a dear friend and colleague to Lisbon. This super smart, slender, petite girl arrived at the airport with a huge suitcase, bulging at the seams. For the next few days she struggled (in heels!) to lift her bag in and out of taxis, up and down stairs, on and off trains and planes!!! Surely there is a better solution? Over the years, when we travelled together I would give her hints and tips to make her life easier. A couple of months ago, we met up in London and to my amazement she turned up for a 7 day trip with an almost empty carry-on suitcase. ‘WOW, this is so impressive’ I said. ‘I learned from the best’ she (very kindly) replied!
As a daughter of a geologist, I was taught from a very early age to pack sensibly and efficiently: only bring the bare minimum, what makes you feel good and what you actually need.
Beginning with the suitcase, one that opens up fully in half is preferable for easy access throughout your trip and it allows you to see exactly what you’ve packed once you get to your destination. Never carry more than 2 items – e.g. a carry-on suitcase (for the past 15 years I have used Samsonite) and a medium-sized handbag, within which I carry a small cross-body (for evenings/sightseeing), water, packets of dried fruit/nuts (or mini chocolate bar).
Pack clothes in order of how you get dressed – start with underwear, then stockings/tights and then appropriate outfits for each event and for the weather (which you should check beforehand – I use the AccuWeather app). In one half of the case I place all my clothes in fabric bags. In the other half, shoes (nude low heel pumps) in a bag and cosmetics, makeup, adapters and chargers in separate (transparent) pencil or makeup bags. My laptop goes in the outer pocket of my suitcase for easy access at airport security and whilst on the go.
You only really need 2 dresses for 3 different locations/events but I normally throw in a third, just in case! A tuxedo-style dress is unbeatable for executive meetings and commanding a room!
Without fail, in the summer I pack/travel in a lightweight leather jacket in a neutral colour or parka/rain jacket. For the journey, casual comfort is key! On the plane I always wear trousers because the air conditioning is often blasting and if sitting in a window or middle seat, skirts or dresses may not be the most appropriate when manoeuvring your way in and out of your seat! An elegant pair of ballet pumps or flats are a must!
Pick and wear one set of jewellery that will go with all your outfits. More than one set and you run the risk of leaving a pair of earrings or vintage ring behind in your hotel room or safe! Horror story alert – a boss of mine once left £10k worth of jewellery in her hotel room because she was wearing another set!
In the evenings, you may want to walk around and explore the city. I love to add some brightness and colour to my look. Magenta works well with absolutely every item in this travel capsule. Alternative options would be light green, sky blue or bright yellow.
One useful trick, which we were recently reminded of by one of Business Studio London’s brand collaborators and dear friends, Dara Ford: When you arrive at your destination, turn on the hot shower and close the bathroom door to allow the room to fill with steam. Then hang your item of clothing in the ‘steam room’ and, voila! most of the creases fall out!
Here is a summary of the quick and easy work travel guide!
- Pack light! If in doubt, leave it out!
- One dress for each location/event
- A rain jacket in a pouch or a lightweight leather biker jacket in a neutral colour
- A pair of elegant low heel nude pumps for formal meetings. Why low heels? Because you may have to travel between venues or take multiple modes of transport
- Some neutral flats for the flight and commute
- If arriving the night before your meeting, choose chinos + a silk blouse OR cropped neutral trousers + a light sweater
- Only 1 set of jewellery to work with all outfits and the bare minimum when it comes to cosmetics and makeup (you can live without your contouring/strobing kit!
- Put all chargers, adapters and cables in 1 makeup bag,
- Always take painkillers and makeup remover wipes!
- A mid-size handbag to accommodate phone, headset, purse with business cards, passport and club cards. Perhaps a bottle of water and some nuts or dried fruit.
- And finally, compact & lightweight hand luggage with external zipped pockets for quick and easy access to your laptop!
Happy travels, Ladies!
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