If you follow this blog with some regularity, you know that I often feature clients, who agree to be public, under aliases. Mrs. Refined is a client I have featured before and is very much a fan favorite. A big part of Mrs. Refined’s job is international travel, particularly to Russia.

After a conversation broke out in my Facebook community from a member looking for tips on packing for a business travel, I remembered that not only is Mrs. Refined is a master when it comes to packing for business (she packs just a carry-on for her ten-day trips overseas!!!), but had just gotten back from a trip. I asked her if she would be open to me sharing what she packed. She enthusiastically agreed.

Mrs. Refined Packs for a Business Trip: Here is what she brought

Below you will find all the pieces Mrs. Refined packed for her 10-day business trip, all which fit in a carry-on, along with the multiple professional looks she built and some key packing tips.

business trip

Not only can I not take much credit for many of the pieces is in this capsule, but I also can’t really take much credit for how it all came together. Mrs. Refined did most of it on her own and just texted me for some final thoughts.

The pieces are as follows:

  • A Max Mara suit dress Mrs. Refined purchased on her own at The RealReal.
  • Max Mara Weekend Jacket purchased together on a recent shopping trip.
  • Number 35 London red dress and white pants. A favorite line of Mrs. Refined’s that I introduced her to a few years ago.
  • White jeans from The Gap.
  • Navy cashmere cardigan from Saks 5th Avenue, purchased by Mrs. Refined.
  • Max Mara Weekend striped top and two basic white t-shirts. Mrs. Refined prefers to get her basic white t’s from Theory or J. Crew Factory.
  • Kate Spade red tote. A before-Bridgette purchase.
  • Scarves Mrs. Refined owned long before I spun into her world
  • Grey Superga sneakers
  • Navy pumps and red pumps. Mrs. Refined always brings two pairs in case of rain or a heel breaks.

Key points when packing your own capsule for a business trip

Showing you Mrs. Refined’s business trip capsule is not meant to suggest that it should be duplicated exactly as, understandably, not everyone is comfortable exclusively wearing heels. You can, however, create your business trip capsule by following what Mrs. Refined did.

  • Color: If you notice, Mrs. Refined’s color capsule is TIGHT. There are a total of four colors in this entire capsule, all which work together. Take note of the fact that none of these colors are black, which is pretty impressive. Pick a color story of no more than four colors, the majority being neutrals, and don’t throw in a color that doesn’t harmonize.
  • Everything mixes and matches: The more you can mix and match, the more options you will get with less. Everything Mrs. Refined packed is interchangeable. The secret to packing light is to not bring anything that can’t do more than one thing.
  • Pack things that can be elevated and dressed down: Mrs. Refined can wear pieces like the Max Mara Weekend jacket and navy cardigan to create work looks while also being able to pair these pieces with the jeans and sneakers to be worn more casually. If your business trip will involve downtime, pack pieces that can do double-duty and can be styled up and down.
  • Use accessories to change up looks: Mrs. Refined expressed that the scarves were game changers in changing up outfits. Accessories, like scarves and jewelry, take up little space and can easily elevate and switch things up.
  • Take your time building your capsule: We’re all time-starved, but the extra time you take pulling a business trip capsule together will make a huge difference in packing tight. When I asked Mrs. Refined if I could share what she packed, she had these photos done; she didn’t just create them for this post. It’s hard to expect that you will travel tightly if you pack the night before or take little time thinking it through. Mrs. Refined has a mannequin in her closet, she puts outfits together and even checks in with me for some last minute feedback.

Mrs. Refined’s Work Looks

mrs. refined

These are the different work looks Mrs. Refined put together before she left on her trip to Russia. Keep in mind, these photos were originally meant to be used as a reference and shared before the two of us, but you should get the idea. With just a few looks, Mrs. Refined was able to create at least five different outfits and I’m quite sure she could have created a lot more. Her casual outfits were not recorded, but given how tight her capsule is, it’s not hard to imagine the casual looks.

Maximizing Travel Space: Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It

In addition to packing the right clothes, Mrs. Refined swears by Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It. According to Mrs. Refined: “You need one medium and two small folders. Then you need the smaller bags to put your shoes, your accessories, your cords, your socks, workout clothes, and stuff like that, plus brushes or whatever you need to do your hair. The medium folder is for dresses and suit jackets.  The smaller is for everything else, like scarves, pants, and t-shirts.

Packing your these packing folders, Mrs. Refined suggests you put the medium on the bottom, two smaller folders side by side on top of it and all smaller bags on the top.  The suitcase won’t get stuffed and nothing will get squished, according to her. She also recommends you steam with a hotel iron upon arrival and not actually iron. Hotel irons are too hot.

Many thanks to Mrs. Refined for generously sharing her business trip packing tips!