A fellow fashion enthusiast, M, posed this question (paraphrased here for brevity) to me a few weeks ago: what does one pack for a long work trip?

I would not call myself a packing expert but have become rather adept at it over the years. And, as I loathe checking bags because my preference is to spend the least amount of time at the airport, I try to cram everything into my carry-on and “personal item.”

The title of this (maybe) ten-part series on packing is slightly misleading; a more truthful one might read: 30 outfits in two bags. But for the sake of sensationalism, we are going to assume a “personal item” is de rigueur and thus does not need to be enumerated.

I do not normally use these two bags for trips that last longer than a week but want to show that it is possible to store all twenty items in them (granted the bulky trench coat has to be worn on travel days). The beauty is that regulation-sized carry-on’s are larger than the bags pictured above so your bag will likely also hold running shoes, proper pajamas, extra undergarments, additional beauty products, and special occasions attire if your trip calls for them.

A caveat: the outfits that these pieces produce skew business casual (and dressy casual) so would not be appropriate for a leisure trip or a work trip for someone who needs to adhere to business formal dress codes.

Below are the twenty items that will be used to create thirty outfits; this number includes bags and shoes but excludes other accessories:

Jackets: American Eagle | J. Crew | BCBG | Zara (similar) | Burberry
Tops: Forever 21 | Ann Taylor | LOFT | Ann Taylor
Bottoms: J. Crew | J. Crew | The Gap
Dresses: Ann Taylor | Ann Taylor
Bags: YSL | Prada | H&M
Shoes: Miu Miu (similar) | Zara (similar) | Converse

The last part of this series will be a discussion on how to build on or trim down the twenty items shown above for trips of a different length or nature.

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