These seven menswear essentials will take you from the plane to the office to a way-too-long steak dinner with clients in style—and all according to your company’s dress code.
1. An All-Purpose Gray Suit
A great gray suit is your secret weapon to a sartorially successful business trip. The neutral color is formal enough for a power meeting in a wood-paneled conference room, dressy enough for a dinner out with co-workers or clients, and pairs up with every other piece you’re bringing along.
2. The Freshest White Shirt You Can Find
No dress shirt better telegraphs to the people around you that you are a capable man of business than a crisp white dress shirt. Plus, a white dress shirt is the perfect canvas for any tie so you don’t have to spend extra minutes deciding what to wear in the morning.
3. The One Tie Every Guy Needs
One solid-color silk knit tie can take the place of an entire neckwear arsenal, which is key when you’re looking to pack lightly. (Read more about our go-to tie for every situation.)
4. The Dressiest Jeans You Own
Dressy jeans do exist. They’re unwashed, free of any abrasions or tears, and fit the same way your dress pants should (slim but not too skinny). A classic pair in deep blue indigo is perfect for pairing with your suit jacket if you’re hitting the town at night or just want something more casual for the flight home.
5. The Other Dress Shirt That Means Business
You always need a backup dress shirt on a business trip—even an overnight one—and the one you should always stow should be blue-and-white striped, cut in a semi-spread-collar silhouette. The pattern leans formal when you pair it with a tie and put it under a suit. But if you’re going casual, it can polish up a pair of jeans, even if you wear it unbuttoned.
6. Smart Loafers (but Not Deal Sleds)
There are a lot of reasons why you won’t do better than a pair of sleek black loafers when you’re going out of town for work. The easy-on, easy-off laceless shoes make getting through security no sweat. They’re formal enough to sit in the same room with CEOs and other three-letter bigwigs, but not so formal that you’ll have to change for celebratory drinks after a day’s work. Wear them with socks under your suit, or go sockless (with a rolled-cuff jean) when you’re off the clock. But however you wear them, just make sure their polished up before you head out of town.
7. An Essential White T-Shirt
You should have a quality white T-shirt on hand whenever you’re traveling, but especially on a business trip, where it will come in handy as a layering fix in a pinch or as a welcome changeup from 9-to-5 gear for the flight home. And when we say quality, we don’t mean one that comes in a 6-pack from Target. Because a really great white teethat’s crafted from fine cotton and cut well won’t look out of place under that suit jacket.
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