Everything you need to look fabulous for any occasion on a short business trip can be packed into a single bag that fits into the overhead bin. Tamara Glick, owner of Trademark Image Consulting, a Toronto consulting firm for professionals and small businesses for more than 13 years, has pulled together a few basics that work together to create multiple outfits with minimum fuss.

As a Schulich School of Business MBA who specializes in marketing and organizational behaviour, Ms. Glick understands a traveller's wardrobe needs. Here are her guidelines to take you from the plane to work to evening:

To start, Ms. Glick recommends creating a wardrobe capsule, which means choosing one basic colour that ties all of your outfits together. Neutral colours work best. Ms. Glick chose cream/white for all the tops to work with navy, black and denim bottoms. That way, you get a lot of outfits from a few items. Ms. Glick says she finds these separates quite reasonably at fashion retailers such as Banana Republic and Club Monaco.

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Tamara Glick Image consultant on packing light yet dressing for any occasion

Fancy shell (cream)

A shell is a sleeveless top that can be worn on its own or underneath a jacket or sweater. For versatility, choose a lacy one that buttons down the front so it can be worn alone for evening or as a vest over a little tank top that you can add as an extra item.

White blouse

Choose a contemporary classic in a wrap or other interesting style. It pairs with everything.

Jacket (cream)

A Chanel-style jacket in a lightweight wool or blend works well with a shirt, pants or jeans. Wear it on the plane with your jeans so you don't have to worry about crushing it in your suitcase.

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Pencil skirt (black)

It pairs with every top for a smart business look.

Dress pant (navy)

It pairs with every top and works as a warmer alternative to the skirt for air conditioned offices or meeting rooms. Make sure it's hemmed to the right length to wear with your heels.

Pashmina (fuchsia)

Choose a hot, punchy shade that flatters and works well with your neutrals. The pashmina not only adds a welcome shot of colour but works as a blanket on the plane, warms you up in a chilly office and provides an evening wrap.

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Dark denim straight-leg jeans

No rips, please. They should be a dark wash and hemmed to wear with your heels. Flared or boot-cut jeans aren't pretty rolled up, but straight leg jeans are cute when rolled and paired with ballerina flats.

Two pairs of shoes

The first should be pumps with a heel height that you're comfortable with in a neutral such as beige. The second should be a comfy pair – ballerina flats or shoes with a kitten heel – that slip off and on easily. Think airport security and a lot of walking. Pack shoes in a cloth bag at the bottom of your suitcase; it will help your bag stay upright.


Bring a fancy belt that makes a fashion statement as well as a simple one that fits your belt loops and holds up your pants under a top (Ms. Glick calls this her "invis-a-belt"). Add a chunky necklace and earrings tucked into small cloth pouches.

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Pack intimates in breathable mesh bags, one for fresh and one for worn items. Use a third bag for hose and socks.

Six combinations

1. For travel, pair the jeans with the shell and jacket. Add the flats.

2.Wear the shell with the navy pants and the pashmina.

3.Replace the pashmina with the jacket, add the fancy belt and/or the chunky necklace for a more formal look.

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4.The black pencil skirt and white blouse with the chunky necklace are perfect for an initial business meeting.

5.Swap the skirt for the navy pants if the room is cool and add the pashmina.

6.The black pencil skirt with the fancy shell and belt make a dressier look. Also great with the full length jeans instead, and heels.


Prepare a few bags that are always ready to go. The first holds your styling brush, razor with built-in shaving cream, vitamins or other pills, toothbrush, tissues and a tiny lint roller. The second is for cosmetics. Pack all solids, rather than gels or liquids, so they don't have to go into a zip-lock bag. The third is the zip-lock bag in regulation airline size that will go through security. Containers also have to be regulation size or smaller in your zip-lock, so look for travel-size packs of styling products, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and other necessities at retailers or collect free samples to use on your trip.

Add optional travel slippers that fold into your handbag – a cozy, homey touch for the hotel room and plane – and a small, collapsible umbrella.

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You're done!

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