Saturday, 31 May 2014

On a Business Trip, Don’t Forget to Pack Style

 It’s all about choosing the right clothing pieces to fit the needs of your travels, and making sure that you can mix and match each item.

If your job demands frequent travel or even work trips for key meetings and events, packing for the trip can be quite a chore. After all, you’re likely busy getting that presentation updated or winding up work before you leave. And yet, you don’t want to go away for nearly a week without being prepared and I bet you’d like to make an impact, without trying too hard. 

Over the years I have learned a few tricks that work well and a little more research reveals that you don’t have to leave your style quotient behind while managing the real estate of your suitcase. Here are a few tips to pack in a week’s worth of professional yet fashion-conscious clothing for business meetings, dinners, and parties.

The luggage first

While I don’t really care about very pricey brands (I mean, they are going to get tossed around by the couldn’t-care-less-if-its-a-Louis Vuitton-attendant at the airport) I do suggest good quality co-ordinated luggage sets that leave an impression as you check-in to the hotel.
Oh and your bag is your best friend on this trip so carry a large purse that can fit necessary items as well as small stuff like jewelry and accessories. 

Outfits for each occasion - This is where it gets tough
Look for women’s travel clothing brands that you can mix and match to have a new outfit for every day and each occasion, including a shopping or sight-seeing trip, work-out clothes or an evening out with friends. Wrinkle resistant clothes would work best - Jersey knits come to mind as they are soft and cool but drape nicely even when after traveling at the bottom of the suitcase for a week. Keeping a jersey knit sweater in your bag is a good idea for those destinations with quick weather changes or trips that include a lot of air conditioned conference rooms. Do invest in travel skirts, dresses and tops that will stay fresh and do double duty.

Go for neutral colors. This may sound a bit boring but you’ll find that with a little creativity you can put together several outfits awarding you the same flexibility while traveling that you would have when standing in front of your wardrobe at home. I usually pick a colour-scheme for each trip - my favourite is black, navy and grey but I like beige and nudes too. Then go ahead and get glamourous using bold accessories like a statement-necklace, large bracelet or ring, patterned scarf to spice up any look when needed. Plan your footwear also based on this colour scheme ensuring you carry 2-3 pairs which cover all your outfits - chunky wedges, studded flats, buckle boots make for great all-purpose shoes that work well to dress up or down, plus your feet won’t get tired running around in them all day. While deciding on lingerie - be practical and carry your tried and tested reliable ones keeping a few socks, stockings and shoe-liners handy. Night wear should be comfortable and all-weather.

Personally, I have always found that in a global networking meet, a bright saree with an Indo-western fusion blouse will get you the most hand-shakes and compliments from both men and women. So ladies, go for it! Its and elegant style that projects a certain confidence with a hint of pride.

Can packing for a business trip be a numbers game?
If you mix and match 3 bottoms with 4 tops that equals 12 outfits. Add a dress and you have 2 full weeks of unique looks! Then the jacket or two and you have your professional attire when you need it. Hmmm - does this all really add up - It actually can. Just imagine each piece in all settings and get creative while accessorizing to create a new look using the same items of clothing.  

As for packing...
Roll or flatten your clothes while packing - don’t stack. I prefer to lay out my clothes versus rolling them - they are business clothes after all and it seems almost disrespectful to roll them up. Slacks should be folded only once and laid flat in the bottom of the suitcase, and then staggered to cover the entire bottom. Skirts, sweaters, blouses should also be folded in half and staggered; remember no high piles. Don't lose that valuable space in the middle and corners of the luggage! Another good tip is to create little compartments for example a leak proof make up bag for toiletries so that they don’t spill and cause chaos. A lingerie caddy is another useful packing accessory.

Some more useful travel tips
  • Carry very few liquids - even hair conditioner is available in a solid bar which means no leaks (Lush Jungle Hair Conditioner) 
  • Do remember to carry under eye repair make up - overnight creams for jet-lag, a hand and nail lotion for a rub after those endless handshakes and your favourite perfume that will always perk you up after a long flight or day - leave you feeling and smelling fresh. A good tip here is to own a travel-size of your favourite beauty products.
  • Multi-task your cosmetics and carry combination beauty products like a foundation that acts as sunblock or a lip and cheek tint.

You are traveling for work so don’t forget...
  • Business cards in a soft leather, stylish card holder
  • Pen and note pad (yes even in this e-age, it is important)
  • Laptop/ tablet + power cords, chargers, USB flash drive, remote internet access card - your e-friends - Tip: A funky laptop or tablet case adds a touch of fun to your otherwise picture perfect look!
  • Your pills / vitamins / ointments.

Do share your travel tips with us and we will compile all the good ones and post them pack in version 2 of this blog.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Thrifty like a Rockstar OR The Resale market: what consumers want.

Before we do a post introducing everyone to swapzaar *, and why we think "eCommerce is great,
but Re-Commerce is even better" here is a post that talks about why this business trend is big and sustainable, and it's from the business that inspired us- threadflip.

A recent study conducted by Global Market Insite (GMI) shows that shopping for Vintage/ resale/pre-owned/pre-loved (no one calls them second-hand anymore, honey) items is growing in popularity across the board (men, women, young and old alike) , a part of this growth could be attributed to the media attention that is being showered on Celebs who embrace the "un-extraordinary life" through Vintage fashion and Thrifting, like regular young fashion lovers.

And while eBay is the most popular place to buys second-hand goods, garage sales and car-boot sales are popular across age groups too.
The cash-strapped young folks between 18-24 prefer to shop online for resale/second hand items mostly for the cost, convenience and variety factors.
Second had goods can be surprisingly trendy, especially now that 70s/80s/90s looks are back.
Older folks do second-hand shopping too, but the reasons they state are different, they are more likely to buy re-sale stuff if they can support a charitable cause.

Younger people pick up more clothes and fashion items, while the older folks prefer to pick up Books or Furniture etc. Women are more likely to shop for Vintage clothes, Books and jewelry while men tend to pick up DVDs, Tools, Books and so on.
Women state that they like to do it for the bargain hunting thrill, but men are a little slower to adopt second hand shopping for reasons best known to them!

Some reports state that UK consumers have over £30bn worth of clothes in their wardrobes, of
which 30 per cent haven’t been used for a year, and it is likely to be a similar figure across most
developed and developing nations, so there definitely is a lot of stuff to be sold and bought!

Overall it looks like the second hand goods market is likely to continue growing, especially since shopping has become the world's favorite pass time! The mixed motivations of finding a bargain and/or supporting a cause (a charity or fashion with a conscience) seems to be resonating with consumers.

This fantastic info-graphic reveals a lot about the preferences of second-hand goods shoppers.
(click on image to see the larger version)

* Swapzaar, of course, is our new Indian online fashion re-commerce store, and we are excited to be launching it in June this year!! We'll keep you posted on how things go...
Btw, if you are an Indian fashionista and you have amazing fashion items idling in your closet, feel free to list them on swapzaar!

Some research reports that are available for download (not the one by GMI) are linked below:

NOTE- This post also appeared earlier on a sister blog: