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Packing for a business trip can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn't have to be. You just need a few hints to keep your luggage light and your style on point. As long as you take a few key pieces with you on your trip, you should have versatility for daytime meetings and nighttime cocktails.
You need to have at least one white, crisp, cotton shirt in your arsenal. Whether it's a classic button-up or unique wrap style, you can pair it with jeans for a conservative day luncheon or with dress pants for a meeting. Have at least one shell. A shell is a sleeveless top. Make yours a little on the dressy side, so that it can transition to night. Think of chantung silk or slight beading accents. Suit jackets are uncomfortable and stuffy -- you don't really need one as long as you have nice dress slacks. Put a spin on the suit jacket and wear a Chanel-style tweed jacket instead. Make sure it's in a neutral color.
You only need one skirt on your business trip, so make sure it's a good one. The black pencil skirt is indispensable. Sure, you can wear a pair of black slacks with different tops the whole way through, but what happens when you spill mustard on them during luncheon? Make sure your skirt fits well and is body skimming. Knee length is perfect. It should have some stretch to it so that it's comfortable to sit and walk around in. Avoid cheap-looking fabrics that have a sheen to them. Make sure your skirt is matte.
Bring your dress pants. Obviously. One sleek pair in a high-waisted style is perfect. Don't forget your heels to go with your pants and skirt. Next, bring a pair of dark denim, slim-fit jeans. Ankle-length skinny jeans can be worn with all of your shoes and in almost any situation. Straight-leg or boot-cut jeans are all class -- just be careful you have the right shoes so they're not too long or too short when you've got them on. The hem should just barely skim the floor.
Don't forget to take a long-sleeve T and a sweater in a sumptuous fabric. Leave your Hanes for the gym. Buy high-quality cotton shirts -- a silk or cashmere blend is the best. One white and one black camisole should be on hand too. Roll your clothes, instead of fold, to maximize space. As soon as you get to your room, hang everything up and call the front desk to either bring an iron and board to your room or see if you can have the hotel staff press your clothes for you.