Every year there is a conference in the South of France for the property industry. Even though I have worked about 26 years in this industry I have never attended the event. It just seemed a little inappropriate to go on what could be seen as a luxury event.
However sometimes business demands that one goes to events like this and I booked to go with my colleague. We plan to fly to Marseilles (with only hand luggage) and then drive, and we are spending three nights in an Airbnb to keep costs down. We have organised a couple of lunches for our local authority partners and there will be many meetings, breakfasts, events, drinks parties, one to one meetings (including one on a yacht), gala dinners, speeches, etc. As you can imagine my mind turned to my wardrobe.
If I was a man this would be an easy-peasy decision. I would travel in a dark suit and take three or four white shirts and a perhaps couple of ties. Maybe include some jeans and a T-shirt for travelling home, plus trainers and shorts so I could run along the beach.
For me it was a lot more challenging as I want business casual but I also want thoroughly professional and convincing.
I thought I would share with you what I have packed as it is an interesting exercise in putting together a capsule wardrobe. I have to admit that this selection is mainly RTW but that is just how it is this time. Most of what I am taking with me could have been hand-made.
Firstly for a short trip I would always choose separates as this gives maximum flexibility. The fabrics include wool, cotton, linen, and jersey.
The clothes are mainly red/deep pink, petrol and beige, but this is not a strict palette. My blue jacket and navy shoes mean I have three shades of blue going on here, plus brown one day for a change. I have to wear some of the tops twice, but because I feel the need to change for the evening they will not be worn for more than about 16 hours. At a push I could launder the tops because we are staying in a flat not an hotel. I have used hotel laundry services before.
The “wildcard” is the pleated, calf length green skirt that I only added at the end as an after thought. I don’t really need it but it gives a little glamour. I will pack some silver jewellery to make a bit more of the outfits, but other than underwear, wash bag, Kindle and phone this is all I will take.
I have chosen clothes which are
- slightly masculine
- fashionable but classic.
Day 1 Travel day
Get up early to catch a 7am flight, arrive in Marseilles and drive for 2.5 hours to Cannes, straight to lunch. Outfit worn with petrol tights.
Day 1 Evening (white blouse (worn over beige T if cold), calf length full green skirt, navy tights and navy shoes)
Day 2 Day (white shirt, beige culottes, blue jacket, navy tights, navy shoes)
Day 2 Evening (Petrol blue skirt, red top, red tights and shoes)
Day 3 Day (Brown polo neck jersey, beige culottes, brown belt, brown tights, navy shoes)
Day 3 Evening (white shirt with red T over the top, beige culottes, bare legs and red shoes
Day 4 Travel Day (deep pink T shirt, green skirt, petrol tights, blue jacket and blue shoes – or whatever looks cleanest)
Looking professional but also comfortable in another country, when the weather could be very warm or pretty chilly is challenging. I am assuming I will be inside for most events but I will have to walk (quickly) from one event and venue to the other. Having comfortable, flat shoes is must. My evening shoes do have a very slight heel but are comfortable. I will probably take a coat or warm jacket too, but will decide on which one closer to the date depending on the weather forecast. I would be interested in any feedback on my choices or what you would do about a coat/raincoat/warm jacket.
Maybe I just need a nice elegant sweater. Shall I make this one? Heavenly by Ankestrick in DK petrol blue cashmere? If I drop the SWAP I could make it by 14 March. Difficult decision!