I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately – 9 cities, 14 planes, 2 months, LOTS of toiletries. The biggest challenge has been getting creative with packing interchangeable looks that can go from day to night, meeting to meeting, and climate to climate. All without over-stuffing my teeny little carry-on. Then I had a thought. What if I packed my best neutral(ish) suits, mixed-and-matched the tops and bottoms, then changed out the shirts and the shoes? (Also, what’s up with my smoldering pose above??).

Suits aren’t just for formal days! They can be a great way to bring cohesiveness to your whole work wardrobe. You can wear the skirt one day, the jacket another; pair the skirt with a chunky sweater and knee-boots for a stylish business casual look, or throw a white tee and jeans on with the jacket for casual Friday. In other words, you can get A LOT of mileage out of a great suit. 

Speaking of ‘great suits’, there a lot of more modern options out there these days. Don’t be afraid to go for one with a playful cut, leather accents, fringed trim, etc. The extras allow you to bring a little personal style to this traditional work wear piece. You’ll still look polished! I found these Karl Lagerfeld suits for $150 at Saks Off Fifth in Buckhead. He made his own collection for department stores, but I’ve found it in a lot of the discount stores like Marshall’s, Ross, TJ Maxx, etc – so I guess it didn’t do too well. But how Chanel-esque are these pieces?! All the design without all the price. 

First things first, though. If you’re going to mix and match suits, choose one color palette. For my most recent trip it was black, white, and gray. It’s my favorite travel color palette, actually – you’d know that if you’ve read this post here! I always advise you make travel easy by only packing items in similar colors. Everything goes together! In this case, I kept the shoes and belt the same because I didn’t have a ton of space in my suitcase. And it worked! I pulled off a couple great outfits on my short business trip – I did have a couple other pieces in my bag so it didn’t look like I wore the exact same items everyday. But honestly, people really don’t notice when you wear the same thing often. Think about your own colleagues – do you ever notice what they wear and when? I don’t. I only care about whether I look good!