Happy young woman wearing black dress sits at airport gate.

Stress-Test Business Attire: The Best Business Clothes for Traveling

Happy young woman wearing black dress sits at airport gate.

Stress-Test Business Attire: The Best Business Clothes for Traveling

Packing for a business trip isn't always easy. Here are tips for choosing the right business clothes so that you can arrive to meetings wrinkle-free.

For frequent business travelers, effective trip planning is an essential skill. In some cases, you have to be ready for business very soon after arrival. That’s why it’s so important to pack business clothes that are ready to impress the moment you unpack. The last thing you want is to waste precious time and expense dealing with less-than-crisp clothes, whether that means frantically dialing the hotel’s laundry service or relying on a steam-filled bathroom to smooth out those pants or that blouse.

Fortunately, helpful options are available. A number of apparel makers offer a range of wrinkle-free travel clothes that are stylish enough for a business meeting or a company reception. Other options include no-wash attire and clothes that are generally designed to make business travel a fashion-forward breeze.

Wrinkle-Resistant Fabrics

Traveling can be hard on suits and dresses, and there’s nothing worse than arriving at your hotel after a long day of travel and opening your suitcase to a wrinkled mess of clothes when you have a business dinner in 20 minutes. If you don’t want to show up looking like you slept in your clothes on an overnight flight, then take the right steps before you even pack your bag.

Start by packing clothes that have built-in resistance to wrinkles. Polyester, Lycra, nylon, and other similar synthetic fibers are best at keeping their shape and not getting rumpled in a bag. They also tend to dry quickly if you need to wash out a stain or spill some water on them, and they have anti-microbial properties and wick away moisture.

Other materials that do a good job of preventing wrinkles include wool, cashmere, knits, spandex, and jersey. Check your clothing tags for their materials and care instructions. Short of that, crush a corner of your shirt or pants fabric in your fist for 30 seconds. If it doesn’t wrinkle or the wrinkles shake out after a minute or so, then it may be a good piece to include in your travel wardrobe. This is also a simple method for testing to see if the travel-friendly clothes you’re thinking of buying are as wrinkle-free as advertised

Woman packing clothes in suitcase with difficulty

Wrinkle-Free Packing

Sometimes, even the most wrinkle-resistant material can come out rumpled after a long flight. To further fight the problem of wrinkling, learn how to pack your suitcase for maximum crispness.

The first option is to roll your clothes in a tight ball, like you’re rolling up a sleeping bag. For shirts, fold them along the seams before you roll. This method helps prevent the creases that come from the usual method of folding clothes in halves or quarters. If you do use a typical fold, the more you stuff your bag, the tighter the creases. Pack lightly to give your clothes room to breathe and help prevent wrinkles. Turning a jacket inside out can also help reduce wrinkling.

Some business travelers place a piece of tissue paper or a plastic bag between clothing items. This helps reduce friction against the clothing surface, which is what causes wrinkles in the first place. Another popular method to fight wrinkles is to cover each item of clothing in its own dry-cleaning bag. At the very least, shake out your wrinkle-resistant clothes as soon as you pull them out of the suitcase to start restoring their form.

Two business women traveling on airplane. One woman sleeps, reclining her head on neck pillow

Wrinkle-Resistant Specialty Items

Besides using strategic packing techniques, look for clothing that is designed specifically to be travel friendly. Some clothing manufacturers use fabrics that are chemically treated to help prevent wrinkles or use resins that stiffen the material.

You can also look for clothes made from tightly woven fabrics, stretchy materials, or fabric blends. For example, clothier Ermenegildo Zegna uses superfine wool with high-twist yarns to make the brand’s suits and jackets; the more yarn is twisted, the easier it returns to form after creasing. Blazers or jackets that are unstructured with soft shoulders and little or no lining are also easier to pack. Another option is the wrinkle-free Etsuko dress, which is machine-washable, spill-resistant, and breathable. The stylish dress won’t lose its shape if you wear it on your flight, and it’s versatile enough for the boardroom or an after party.

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