13 August 2011


I know moving to another country is not a mere "business trip." But because I'll be looking for work in Singapore, and Nina is among my style gurus, and this is the book on hand, this is a start, a take-off point.

Come Fly with Me: What to Wear on a Business Trip
(p45-51, Nina Garcia's Look Book, 2010):

The Vital Questions:
  • What is the climate/weather forecast for the time you're there? (Singapore's climate is humid, ranging from 23C to 35C, hottest months are May and June. Monsoon: December to March; then June to September.)
  • Is this a big city, small town, suburb? (Wikipedia: Singapore is a small, heavily-urbanised, island city-state)
  • Is there cultural fashion etiquette that I should be aware of? (Me: I'll research more on this. But based on our past trips, the ladies who take the train are in little office dresses or skirts and tops. Friends who work in the Media/Advertising can come to work in jeans.)
  • What business sector will I be interacting with and what is that sector's business style? (Me: My background is in broadcasting. But I'm also interested in fashion.)
  • What sort of meetings will I be attending? Board meetings, presentations, seminars, parties? (Me: For the first weeks - job interviews.)
  • What business-centric social events will I be attending?

Business Travel Dos
  • Choose fabrics that don't wrinkle easily, such as wool, rayon, and cotton blends.
  • Invest in your business style essentials, including proper blouses, skirts, and trousers.
  • Bring layers. Pile them on or pare them down as needed.
  • Err on the side of formality when traveling, but never to the point of being miserably uncomfortable.

Simple Travel Checklist
  • DRESS: Two lightweight, tailored. A-line or narrow sheaths that can be worn with a jacket for day and brightened up with a few key accessories for evening. At least one must be an LBD (little black dress); these are your base garments.
  • TROUSERS/SKIRT: Pack a pair of smart black trousers, or a lean pencil skirt, that go well with your jacket.
  • BLOUSE: Bring at least three tops. A white button-down shirt is a must. If you want a touch of color, choose a pastel or neutral -- something that will match everything else you've packed.
  • VEST/CARDIGAN: When you want a more casual look, leave the jacket behind and throw on a vest or cardigan.
  • JACKET: Tailored, tailored, tailored. I can't stress this enough. Make sure it goes with everything else you've packed.A warm gray, black or navy blazer can be instantly transformed simply by changing what you have on underneath or adding a scarf or belt.
  • COAT: A trench is always appropriate for business. It's chic, versatile, and timeless. It may just be the perfect coat.
  • SHOES: Always pack at least two pairs of shoes, one for day and one for evening. Choose your most comfortable and versatile pair of heels.If you prefer, wear business flats. Patent leather is gorgeously weatherproof. (Me: Check! Thanks to my Zara patent leather ballet flats!) Remember this basic rule when packing shoes: You don't want to be thinking about your feet the whole time you're away, so pack something you can walk in. Nothing brand new: that's just begging for blisters. (Me: Hmmm, I think that happened to me in Beijing, with my new pair of Converse, click here for the story. My bad.)
  • ACCESSORIES: Bring a scarf for a dash of color and warmth. A belt is key; you can wear it with the dresses, jacket, and cardigan to create different looks. Bring a few well-chosen pieces of jewelry, and always, always a watch.

Carry-On 101
  • Pack makeup and sundries in a mid size clutch that can be worn for evening and doubles as a traveler's survival kit.
  • Ballerina slippers that fold into a small pouch just in case you can't keep those heels for one more second.
  • A fountain pen.
  • A cardholder. Contacts are gold and a cardholder is organized perfection.
  • Personalized stationary makes a lasting impression when you need to pass a note.
  • A sewing kit for those little emergencies.
  • Make your carry-on a good-quality, minimal, and logo-free pull suitcase.

Thanks, Nina! I can always count on you.

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