Business Attire on the Go

If squeezing your carryon into the overhead bin is a workout, headache or lesson in damaging breakables, you probably over pack. But checking bags isn't an option because you don't have time to wait at baggage claim.

Don't fret. You can take everything you need while minimizing your load and packing more easily. Just stick to a few wardrobe staples. In order for an item to make the cut, it should serve multiple purposes, go with everything and make sense for your itinerary.

"If you can use that article of clothing only once, it shouldn't be packed," said Kathleen Ameche, author of The Woman Road Warrior: A Woman's Guide to Business Travel. "You're not always going to be in the same city with the same client. Don't worry about having a different outfit for every day."

Also consider your meetings' attendees, purpose and tone to decide whether you'll mostly dress up or more casually, said Anne McAlpin, travel expert with Travelers should stick to a neutral color scheme, like brown, black, beige or navy, pack solid-colored shirts and tanks and bring a couple of small accessories that make outfits look different, McAlpin said. Women should consider a pashmina scarf, which doubles as a belt or plane blanket. For men, consider different ties.

Here are six 6 wardrobe basics no business traveler should leave home without:

Reversible Leather Belt

Consolidate separate brown and black belts by opting for a reversible one. This Polo Ralph Lauren belt works for men, and this  Eddie Bauer belt is a good example for women.

Cardigan Sweater

Cardigan Sweater
A button-down cardigan sweater in black or brown is much more versatile than a pullover because it can be layered, worn around the shoulders or accessorized for different day or nighttime looks.

Multipurpose Jacket

Outback Jacket
Forget about packing multiple jackets for variant weather. Choose one versatile, compressible jacket with a removable liner that is wearable on cool, cold or rainy days, like the Marmot Intervale 3-in-1 for women.

Men should check out the lightweight Outback jacket from, which features 20 pockets for cell phones, tablets, an iPad or MacBook Air, magazines, books, keys and sunglasses. Not only may it eliminate the need for a personal item on the plane, but "you won't ever have to worry about putting your extra bag through checking or stowing it away where something might get damaged," sayids Ian Aronovich, CEO of

Three Piece Suit

One three-piece suit (jacket, vest and pants for men, and jacket, pants and skirt for women) can be mixed and matched to dress up or down, especially if it's a solid color. Try the blazer with jeans, the skirt with a neutral top and scarf, or the vest with dress pants to create multiple outfits.

Dark Denim Pants or Skirt

jean skirt
Dark denim pants or skirts can be dressy or casual, depending on what accessories and shirts you pair it with. They can also be worn more than once on a trip without drawing suspicion.

"People really look at the top of you not the bottom of you. Dark denim looks fancier than lighter denim, and it looks great with anything," McAlpin said.

Quick Dry, No Sweat Exercise Outfit

Fitness fanatics should invest in a quick-dry, odor-fighting exercise ensemble that can withstand a few uses without a washing machine. Try EuroSock's 5K silver socks, which fight odors with antibacterial fibers. The Brooks Revelation T-Shirt wicks sweat and dries quickly.

The Hot List

Enter Daily to Win a Trip to the Golden Gate City!
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Leaf-peeping, road trips, fun getaways and more!
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.

Next Up

Top 10 Mobile Apps for Travel

Check out 10 of our favorite road-tested travel apps.