Building a Business Travel Wardrobe: The Suit

a woman in a black suitBuilding a Business Travel Wardrobe is a new series here on Road Warriorette. The focus will be on the key pieces a woman needs to build a wardrobe that is ideal for travel. Based on the “capsule” wardrobe model, each week will feature an item that is professional, stylish, and that travels well.

When building a travel capsule wardrobe, the foundation piece is the suit. It is the clothing item that all of your outfits are built on, and I can’t overstate its importance. When shopping for a suit, don’t settle! There are so many types, colors, and price points out there that I really believe there is something for everyone. If you find something that is close, take it to a tailor so it will be as perfect as possible.

I know that not everyone who travels for work is required to wear a suit, so next week’s post will be on business casual.

The features to look for when searching for a travel suit:

  • Neutral color. While a suit needs to look professional, it does not need to be distinctive. It also has to coordinate with different tops, so neutral is best. Look for your most flattering neutral, such as black, gray, brown, taupe, or navy.
  • Anti-wrinkle. The last thing you want to do after you’ve been traveling all day is to spend an hour ironing your suit. Of course, you also don’t want to arrive at the office in wrinkled pants and jacket. When searching for a suit look for terms like “wrinkle free” or “no iron”.
  • Comfort and fit. Make sure that your suit fits you well, and is comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. It took me a long time to find a suit I could comfortably travel in, but they do exist!
  • Multiple pieces. This is standard suit buying advice: look for a suit that has a jacket, pants, skirt, and even a dress. This way you can pack (and buy!) less but still have many different outfits.

Tip: If you need to pack your suit jacket, check out Corporette’s “How To Fold a Suit Jacket” video.

I love the Elie Tahari Exclusive for Nordstrom suits. They come in black and gray, are simple, well priced, well made, and shouldn’t wrinkle. (And I think the Simone pants in the grayish “Chestnut Malange” are so fabulous!) The black a woman in a black suitversion has both pants and a skirt.

TravelSmith has suits designed specifically for travel. Some of their stuff is a little….ahem…..matronly. But they have a few very cute items, and tailoring can help you get a more fitted look.

Talbots has suiting for many sizes, including petite and plus. They also offer several colors of suits with multiple pieces, including skirts, pants, and dresses.

Banana Republic and Ann Taylor often have lovely suits. A word of caution: be careful the skirt isn’t too short.

Suit shopping can be daunting, but it can be done! Once you’ve got your suit in hand, the hardest part of creating a travel capsule wardrobe is over. After that, it’s fun shopping all the time!



  1. I was lucky enough to score pieces from the Style & Co. line at Macy’s – long sleeve blazer, short sleeve blazer, skirt, and pants, all in black – on sale. They fit well and say “stretch” on the label and are machine washable. Plus since they’re inexpensive (less than $150 total) I don’t feel bad wearing them all the time on trips.

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