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How to Pack for a Seven-Day Business Trip in a Carry-On

With a versatile packing list and a few simple styling tricks, you can create a wide variety of outfits.

By Jasmine Ricks | Photo Illustration by Cindy Luan

When you’re preparing for a business trip, the last thing you want to worry about is what to pack. Luckily, with a few simple rules of thumb, you’ll be packing your carry-on like a pro in no time.

Rule 1: Pick a Color Scheme
First, be sure to prioritize versatile items in a similar color scheme, so you can easily mix and match. I find that it’s especially important to have a couple of layering pieces that go with everything and are comfortable enough to wear on the plane.

Rule 2: Consider Fabrics
Second, think about fabric: Features like breathability, wrinkle-resistance, machine-washability, and odor-resistance allow you to re-wear items throughout the trip, thus saving room in your suitcase.

Rule 3: Think in Outfits, Not in Pieces
Finally, get creative with your styling. For most people, the hardest thing about packing is fitting everything into a carry-on without feeling like you’re showing up in the same outfit every day. But with a few simple styling switches, you can create a wide variety of outfits. Below, see how I’d pack for a seven-day business trip in a carry-on.



Travel Day

A T-shirt is an ideal layering piece, and I love how elevated the Leslie tee is. It’s incredibly comfortable, but it also looks more polished than the average T-shirt, so I wear it both off-duty and for my business looks.

Work Event #1

What I love about the Moreland jacket and Colby pants is that they’re simultaneously sporty and professional. This outfit provides all-day comfort, which is so important in a business-conference setting, where you’re doing lots of walking, socializing, and activities.

Work Event #2

This look is a bit less formal, but still very elevated, which makes it great for days when you’re going straight from work events to drinks or dinner. If you want to make the look feel extra special, you can add some fun earrings or a chic purse before you head off to your evening.

Work Event #3

By day three of a business trip, I’m typically craving comfort, so I went for the ultra-stretchy Foster pants, the soft Paige tank, and the cozy Merritt jardigan. For after-work activities, try removing the jardigan for a more casual look.

Dinner Outfit

Swapping your darker pieces for light neutrals is an easy way to make your look feel spring-ready. The sophisticated neckline of the Nora top offsets the more casual Archie jeans for an easy Power Casual outfit.

Day Off

I love how the Merritt jardigan can instantly elevate a T-shirt and jeans. This outfit can definitely take you to a nice meal, but it’s also casual enough for a day of walking around.

Travel Day

For flights, I always rely on chic, wrinkle-resistant pieces like my Leslie T-shirt and Colby pants. The best part? These pieces are so comfortable, there’s a chance I’ll be able to nap on the plane.

Written By

Jasmine Ricks

Jasmine Ricks is the founder of the blog Life With Jazz, where she shares style tips, curated capsule wardrobes, workwear, and lots of neutrals. She also publishes a seasonal capsule wardrobe e-book and is the founder and designer behind the jewelry and accessories brand, SOPHIYA.

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