PQ Style: How to Pack A Capsule Wardrobe for Your Next Conference
Going on a quick work trip? After reading how-to-guide on how to travel with just a carry-on, now you need to pack. On top of planning flights, hotels, rental cars; it can be hard to know what to bring, or even how to pack. It's important to pack a collection of trustworthy staples that balance that fine line between smart and casual, and work well together so you can easily power through your conference meetings. The goal here is to choose a handful of items that constitute your entire wardrobe for the weekend. Here's how to nail your look at your next work conference!
What to Pack for Business Conferences
First off, do you have the right bag? Is it well-made? What about the warranty? We cannot recommend our men's leather duffle bag more. It's intentionally designed to last decades, handcrafted by artisans, and all the hardware is reinforced at stress points.
No matter what you choose, make sure you are proud to be seen with it, and that it will hold up to the rigors of travel. With your bag picked out, outfits lined up, and trip planned, it's time to get packing!
First off, let's start with the basics. What makes you feel the best when you wear it? From your jacket down to your skivvies, bring items that make you feel like your best self. Now is the time to break out your closet's best of the best. Need help whittling down? Opt for well-crafted pieces made with impeccable fabrics and purposeful details. Next, break down your outfit ideas into days.
Day 1- Stylish Arrival
While you won't "pack" this outfit, you'll want to opt for a layered outfit for the plane ride there. Planes are always either too hot or too cold, the layers will help you adjust to new climates. A particular favorite piece of outerwear is the pea coat. They have a long history of being worn being worn by men that are as tough as nails. Its reputation as an officer’s jacket will add a storied ruggedness to whatever you wear with it.
You'll also want to wear a button-up. The right button-up shirt can work in almost any situation: go one button up for more formal and one button down for more casual. We suggest wearing your more casual button-up on the plane and save the more formal one in your carryon. It'll prevent any travel disasters from happening to your nicer shirt. Next, pull the outfit together with some comfortable grey slacks. We'd suggest bringing a black pair of shoes, and wearing your brogues on the trip there. They maintain a rugged vibe even when paired with the rest of your dressier items. And of course, they're versatile and more comfortable than formal shoes.
Day 2- Conference Rockstar and Drinks
Day 2 is a dressier yet versatile look that allows you to move seamlessly from work to casual networking hangouts. You'll keep the accessories and re-wear the brogues and watch, but change up the main parts of the outfit. Having a good blazer in your fashion arsenal ensures that you'll be able to match any dress code and even the most formal occasions at a moment’s notice. It's fashion-forward and is great to wear in a variety of environments.
Also, if you're going for a casual fabric shirt like the one above, try pairing it with a tie! Even if ties aren’t essential workplace items these days, they offer a touch of sophistication. Don't want to be overdressed for a business casual event? Knitted textures pairs with the chambray in a fun way that doesn't feel overly stuffy. If you're headed out for easy network events after the day is done, simply leave off the tie and blazer.
Day 3- The Big Presentation
On Day 3, dress to impress. Either reuse your Day 2 tie (especially if you didn't wear it) or opt for a complete refresh with a new one. Ties don't take up much room, should be rolled then stashed in your shoes during transit, feel free to pack a few extra. Of course, any dark color tie works.
Pair a lighter dress shirt with a darker tie and a darker blazer for an interesting contrast. Continue the trend with a lighter pant. In particular, we're big fans of a navy sports coat paired with tan slacks. A more refined take on the khaki, with a little extra thickness, these are perfect. Further refine the look by finishing it off the look with a darker shoe, especially an Oxford. Oxfords have long been a men’s fashion staple, a hallmark of simple elegance. They are a great alternative for when you want something less structured like a boot but more put-together than a sneaker. A pair of suede captoes can be dressed up for work (or more) or worn with slim jeans casually. Finally, tie the whole outfit with a pocket square to add a splash of daring personality.
Day 4- Comfortable Departure
You're nearly there. Home sweet home! Make Day 4 the most relaxed day. A henley or button down offers that just-right mix of rugged and stylish. Plus, they are perfect for layering. Throw on some dark wash jeans, you're finally done with slacks!
We suggest opting for the inverse of yesterday's look, go dark on with your pants and light with your jacket. You can reuse either your Day 1 wingtips or Day 3 oxfords, but you may want to opt for an ultra-comfy pair. Finicky styles, TSA screenings, and an impending plane departure don't make for the best combo. Go for a comfy sneaker or slide on shoe.
How to Pack for Business Conferences
Place your shoes along the bottom. Next, pack your undies, socks, and ties rolled into the mouth of your shoes. Then, fold your pants along the creases and place them on top of your shoes. Specifically, use them to delineate layers in your bag and avoid getting your nice shirts dirty. Place your outerwear on top. Next, pack belts by spiraling them and placing them your dress shirts' collars. This will prevent them from unspooling and keep the collars wrinkle free. Place any soft items like backup jackets, TechFolios, or pajamas along the sides for comfort. Lastly, sprinkle your miscellaneous items along the top for easy access. This includes your Dopp kit, work notes, and tech gear. Check out the Quill's thorough pack list to make sure you come prepared!
Now, you're well-prepared (and well-packed!) for your next conference. Do you have any conference tips? Let us know in the comments below!