Friday, July 3, 2015

DRESS CODE: What I Wore {Business Travel Clothes for 50+}

What I Wore Business Travel 50+Today I’m sharing a really different post with you. I love fashion and accessories but I rarely post pictures of myself or share things that I wear. I recently was away for a week-long business trip for my day job as a senior marketing manager and documented my outfits. I work remotely from my home office and was traveling to the corporate office for the first time. I planned (shopped) for this trip for a long time because it was a packed schedule with meetings, dinners and more meetings.

As you can see from my post title, I’m in the 50+ age group (eeeep how did that happen?) so I don’t want to dress too young but I also don’t want to dress matronly. So here are the outfits I wore and a few tips that I learned for my next trip in a few months.

What I Wore Business Travel Day One
NYDJ Stretch Trouser Pants  |  H&M Jacket | Halogen Black Sleeveless Top

Day One: On day one, I’d be meeting the EVP and the President of the company for the first time so I definitely wanted to wear a jacket. There was also a meeting that included our PR Agency (photo of the beautiful conference room behind the glass door) and a photo shoot so I wanted something a little fashion-forward. The jacket is a black woven print although it looks greyish in the photo I took in the badly lit hotel bathroom. I also had dinner after work with friends so the jacket came off and we sat outside and enjoyed the nice warm weather.

Tip: The weather was warmer than expected and this jacket was a tad too heavy for the weather. Next time, I’ll have a back up plan for a change in weather.

What I Wore Business Travel Day TwoDKNY Ombre Top  |  Ann Taylor Loft Pants | Bandolino Suede Pumps  | Ann Taylor Black Long-Sleeved Sweater (not shown)

Day Two: On day two, I could be a little more casual. There were a few meetings but not as high profile – there was also the second day of the photo shoot and regular work. This was my favorite outfit and I love the DKNY ombre top. These Bandolino shoes also ended up being the most comfortable pair that I brought.

Donna Morgan Jersey Dress  |  Bandolino Pumps

Day Three: On day three, I needed to wear something that would go from office to a manager’s dinner. All the company managers would be traveling in and I’d be meeting over 40 of them for the first time in person. It was between this dress and a cream crochet dress that I wanted to pair with a silver chain belt. This dress was more business-like so I went with this one but I regret not wearing the more fashionable cream dress. Oh well, I’ll save it for another occasion.

Tip: I wore spanx with this black and white dress and that was a huge mistake. Spanx all day in the office and through dinner was miserable. I won’t make that mistake again.

What I Wore Business Travel Day FourTahari Suit Pants |  Kasper Jacket  |  Ann Taylor Top

Day Four: Day Four was the big manager’s meeting offsite in a hotel conference room. I had originally bought a new black Tahari Suit for the meeting. It’s gorgeous and the jacket has pretty brushed gold buckle but at the last minute I decided it was too severe looking. I paired the suit pants with this flecked jacket which was way more comfortable with a loser fit and 3/4 sleeves. Under the jacket I wore a simple cream crepe top that has a fun black zipper in the back. I added natural stone bracelets and and a pearl and crystal necklace to pick up the green flecks in the jacket.

Tip: This outfit was so-so. It would have looked better with cream pants or I should have chosen a different jacket altogether. But it’s hard to strike a balance between comfort for an 8-hour meeting and style.

What I Wore Business Travel Day FiveCable & Guage Black Sleeveless Top  |  NYDJ Stretch Trousers  |  Olivia Moon Pocket Cardigan

Day Five: On day five, I’d be spending the morning in the office and then heading to the airport at lunchtime to travel home. This outfit was the perfect casual Friday travel outfit. The NYDJ stretch trousers are super comfortable and you can’t go wrong with a lightweight long cardigan for the plane.

Tip: The black suede mary jane kitten pumps were supposed to be my back up shoe. Although they were comfortable when I road tested them at home, they were not at all comfortable for this trip. Swollen feet in a super pointy toe shoe just doesn’t work and my feet paid the price all week.

And there you have it. Of course business travel outfits all depend on your age, occupation, schedule and agenda. For me, these outfits centered around black and neutral colors worked well. It minimized shoe packing and accessories, plus, I could mix and match if I needed to.

Let me know if you enjoyed this post and I’ll share more “dress code” type posts in the future.

Thanks so much for stopping by.


  1. OMG - I loved seeing your outfits - and you're right: working from home makes it harder to pull together outfits when we need to go on the road for business! Loved your choices - my fave is that gorgeous DKNY ombre top! (Oh, and I'm coming up right behind you: just turned 49 last week!)

  2. Ok Carolyn, A) no way you are over 50 and if you really are, what's your secret? B) I love your style. I would wear any one of those fabulous outfits. I like your deviation from DIY, keep it coming! :)

  3. I enjoyed this very much. I love your oufit choices and the smart idea to stick with blacks and nuetrals for easier shoe selection. The kitten heel mary janes are gorgeous, too bad the werent comfortable!

  4. I didn't know you were such a fashionista Carolyn! Love all your outfits most especially your H&M jacket, dress and that Ombre top!

  5. Hi Carolyn, I enjoyed your fashion forum and I'm glad you thought of such a needed subject. For the last half of my career (I'm now retired) I traveled extensively for business. My first tip would be too wear a comfortable pair of shoes the days you travel. While a pair of pumps or heels may seem comfortable for normal wear, you were right on the money with your advice to consider that travel calls for your most comfortable shoes. Airports to car rental, baggage claim etc. requires lots of walking and standing on hard floor surfaces. (If your feet weren't swollen when you started out they probably will be by days end.) If possible, travel for comfort with a dress pair in your carry-on if needed before reaching the hotel. Reverse the process on the day you are traveling home.
    One item you didn't cover was handbags which I think would be very helpful to add to your posting. A large bag may be good for the travel days but can be a hindrance for meeting and events. Also, security should always be your first concern so you might add your solutions for that problem, too. Thieves watch for travelers and they are very sharp and have lots of experience so its best to even the odds when you can.

    1. Thank you so much for the additional travel tips. I'm sure you became quite good at packing and striking that balance of professional outfits and comfort with all the traveling you did. I'm traveling again soon so I'll be posting about that trip and will definitely include my purse and tote bag. That's a whole other subject - toting around a laptop! Thanks again. I so enjoyed reading your comment.

  6. Absolutely loved this post. You made some wonderful age-defying outfit choices and it was so great to read why you chose the things you did and if they worked out like you were hoping. Really helpful for others in office jobs like me!

  7. Love the clothes you picked. Perfect for what you were doing, and such a great idea to pick all the same color family so you could change up the pieces.

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