Building a Business Travel Wardrobe: Tops

Building 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 creating a business travel wardrobe, tops are the fun part. The splash of color, the interest, the personality. Because they are less expensive, it’s easy to have a variety of cuts and hues. When shopping for tops to travel with, I recommend wearing your neutral slacks (or suit). This way you can see how they will work as an outfit, and not guess. Shells, sweaters, knits, and button-downs are all types of blouse to look for.

What to look for:

  • Comfort. As with everything else you travel in, make sure the shirts you purchase are comfortable. A bit of stretch can really help. While trying it on, move around. Bend, raise your arms, and twist to make sure it stays comfortable and in place during things you would typically do on an airplane.
  • Fit. Tops are a little easier to fit than slacks, but they should still fit really well. If it’s borderline too short or too tight, you’ll regret buying it the first time you wear it and feel self-conscious all day.  If you are busty, stay away from button-downs unless they fit you impeccably.
  • Coordination. Look for blouses that coordinate with your suit or bottoms, without being too matchy-matchy. Have some fun! If you want something soft, silky, or patterned, go for it! Just make sure it works with the neutral items you’ve already purchased.
  • No-iron. Please, please don’t buy a shirt that you have to iron. The safest option is a knit, but there are many no-iron button downs and shells available as well.
  • Price. I’m not saying you should buy cheap quality. But with the plethora of cute tops available, there’s no need to spend a fortune.

You can find great business travel tops just about anywhere. I had a hard time choosing my favorites for this post, but I managed somehow…..

Love, love, love this Nanette Lapore blouse from Nordstrom. They have a ton of stuff, for the most part very high quality. If you have a Nordstrom Rack nearby, lucky you! Check there as well since they have great prices.

Talbots has a lot of options, especially sleeveless shells for under a suit or cardigan. I’m a big fan of the twisted neck Belle Flower top and the Eiffel Plaid top above. Talbots also has a few non-iron button down shirts.

Ann Taylor has a range of fabrics and styles. My favorite is this black and white Nostalgic Floral Print blouse, but there a lot of travel appropriate options.

If you are looking for button-down shirts, check Brooks Brothers. They have classic, fitted, and tailored fits in a range of colors. And they are all no-iron! Hallelujah.

Target is a great place to look, whether you are on a budget or not. This red blouse is only $13!! And how cute is it, seriously?

Other great places to look? Department stores, such as Macy’s and Dillard’s, Old Navy for more budget friendly items, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Lane Bryant for plus-size options, the Limited, Modcloth…. pretty much anywhere you can think of. Have fun, and maybe go a little crazy! Shirt shopping is less stressful than shopping for any other item. So enjoy yourself!

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