how to dress on business travel

How to choose the best clothing for Business Travel (and how to behave with clients)

Business Travel is an important element for every company: meetings, educational events and exhibitions are the occasion to enhance your company and create a network of relationships ( and, why not, also to have a moment of relax!).

We have underlined several times that clothing is essential to make a good impression and in this article we want to give you some suggestions to face your business travel with style.

Are you ready to start?

Preparations: Business Traveller etiquette

A few seconds, and the first impression…is gone.

The eye has its part, it is true, but also your behaviuor has a great influence on the perception that the interlocutor will have of you. Try not to make basic mistakes: we know that you have a lot of potential to show!

Soon we’ll tell you all the tricks to dress impeccably, but now let’s talk a little bit about Business Etiquette.

Business etiquette refers to all the rules to follow to have a respectful behaviour with customers and colleagues, that may change depending on the place of destination of your business travel. For example, while a handshake greeting is a common custom in Europe, it is inappropriate in the United States. That is why it is important to always find out about the local culture before you leave!

Below are 5 rules to keep in mind for your travels:

  1. Let’s start with presentations: it’s commonly considered a good manner, when a person arrives, to get up and say hello. Ideally the best thing is to say the full name and approach for an handshake that is not too weak, nor too strong, because in the first case it shows insecurity, whereas in the second case it shows selfishness.
  2. Do not use your mobile phone during business meetings: it can be considered a lack of interest in the other person. If you are expecting an urgent call and it is not possible to postpone it, inform the person in front of you and apologize.
  3. Punctuality is the noblest form of courtesy,” have you ever heard that phrase? It should also apply as a general rule in informal meetings, but even more so in business meetings. If for some reason you’re going to be late, let the other person know it as soon as possible.
  4. At business lunches and dinners, if you are a guest, do not order expensive dishes or wines, but try to adapt to what the other person orders. Usually the bill is paid by the person who makes the invitation, but it is always a kind manner to propose to pay.
  5. Take professional care of your social networks like Linkedin. At the end of the meeting, it is in fact increasingly common to maintain the relationship through these platforms. Avoid posting inappropriate photos or articles and always maintain a certain discretion.

The Dress Code for your Business Travel (every hour)

Now let’s talk about the Dress Code, which in the world of Business Travel is a fundamental aspect for the success of an event. In fact, it includes the set of rules that indicates the dress code to be respected in a given circumstance.

Has this happened to you too? You have been invited to a business meeting and have been undecided what to wear because they did not give you a particular Dress Code?

To ensure that you are always impeccable, here is a brief description of the main types of dress code and suggestions for every occasion.

Tea and biscuits: casual for breakfast

Man casual style
Woman casual style

The first type of business clothing is casual, born to overcome the rigidity of elegant clothing and create a smarter and more contemporary style. This option is preferred especially by those who love to give a touch of personality to their look and is suitable for informal situations such as business breakfast.


In this case, trousers (provided they are not jeans) are recommended, plus a plain shirt and a jacket. In winter you can also wear a sweater or turtleneck shirt.


The same concept also applies to women: shirts, also patterned, trousers and skirts for the summer and spring season, and sweaters or cardigans for the winter, all to be combined with a closed or blunt shoe.

Be professional in the meeting

Woman professional look
Man professional look

Professional business wear is the middle ground between elegant and casual business wear and is suitable for formal occasions such as meetings, reunions and board meetings, where it is necessary to be refined but without sacrificing comfort. Here are our suggestions.


A must wear is jacket and tie, with light or dark colours and, for the more creative ones, with patterned motifs;


Wear shirts with trousers or a skirt, and complete it with a chic accessory such as a beautiful scarf.

Dress code “alcoholic”: cocktail After Five

Man cocktail after five look
Woman cocktail after five look

A certain elegance is required in this type of dress code, but without overdoing it. The typical situation is the business cocktail, where you can show off your refinement and express your personality, even through clothing.


For this occasion, the man should wear elegant trousers with a shirt, and choose to accompany it with a jacket and tie, which are optional.


For woman, knee-high dresses are indicated, or a pair of trousers combined with a blouse or a top.

Elegant Dress Code: The Gala Dinner Party

Man elegant dress code
Woman elegant dress code

Now let’s go to the most formal style ever, perfect for gala dinners and situations that require a high level of refinement. What to wear in this case?


For men we recommend a solid-coloured suit in black, grey or navy blue, to be combined with refined accessories such as cufflinks and elegant footwear.


For women, on the other hand, a suit or a long dress is perfect, to be embellished with brooches and jewels and to be worn with a heeled shoe.

Black Tie (outfit extra)

Woman blacktie outfit
Man blacktie outfit

This type of clothing is used for evening events and can be defined as a subcategory of the elegant dress code, because here too the keyword is elegance. The Black Tie outfit differs from it because the preferred color is black.


For men it is essential to use a black suit, tie or bow tie, to accompany a white shirt and a shiny black shoe.


For women, the black dress is a must (long is a classic), to brighten up with accessories, heels and a clutch bag.

The clothes to avoid during business trips

Although on certain occasions you will have the opportunity to wear less “stiff” types of clothing, there are some garments that you should not wear at all during a business event. Let’s see what they are:

  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Sporty t-shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Footwear such as sneakers and flip-flops
  • Sponge socks

Our journey into the world of Business Travel Dress Code ends here, but you’re about to leave and we know you want the best of the best.

In our Bolzonella Divise website, you’ll find plenty of inspiration to create the perfect match for your corporate event. Take a look!