Head to London City Airport on any given day, and you’ll find not flip-flop-clad families bearing pool inflatables or jet-setting influencers dressed up in cashmere sweat suits and next season pool slides, but this, the executive. A staggering 75 per cent of airline revenue is generated by business travellers, yet the majority of in flight dressing is geared towards the casual. Hard-working wardrobes which can get you from meeting to mile-high, as well as pieces which can be folded, packed, and stowed and still come out looking smart.
Happily, there are a host of chic brands creating comfy yet elevated travel looks, from speciality crafted travel-tailoring to moisture-wicking essentials to take you from business meetings to business class without breaking a sweat. Here is our pick of the best.
Contemporary womenswear label ME+EM has always designed for the modern woman. Putting style at the forefront of workwear is one of the brand’s USPs, and this year it turned its attention to travel wear, launching a dedicated travel tailoring line featuring work-appropriate essentials made in sleek, crease-proof, non-stiff Ponte jersey fabric. The collection ranges from chic trousers and jackets but also includes elegant dresses and blouses.
Serena Bute is the under-the-radar go-to for stylish working women. Ideal for wardrobe staples that are anything but basic – think fuschia pink wide-leg suiting. The jewel in its collection is its pinstripe joggers – the perfect fusion of work meets comfort, brilliant for dashing from boardroom to business lounge and beyond.
Paul Smith needs no introduction – the slick tailoring and rainbow swirl have been spotted on every stylish Londoner since the 1970s – but what the frequent flyer might not know is that the brand has a special ‘suit to travel in’. This smart set is just as elegant as its classic range, yet it’s crafted from high-twist wool yarn, meaning it’s virtually crease-proof, great for longer flights or – gasp – travelling economy. One extra clever detail – the waistband comes with a secret rubber lining, to keep tucked shirts in place.
More typically associated with activewear, Pangaia has turned its sustainably-minded eye to smart suiting, lined with a regenerated fibre made from cotton waste. The exterior fabric is peached cotton, which is comfy like normal cotton yet has the appearance of suede, so it still appears formal. Even better, the fabric is moisture-wicking, which means it’s extremely breathable (it’s what is recommended to wear on safari), which makes it ideal for changing temperatures and for stuffy flights.
Breaking tradition from typical monochrome workwear, Louis Vuitton creates elegant pieces in cream Prince of Wales check, to be dressed up or down. What makes this ideal for the business traveller is that the material is 27 per cent cashmere – luxuriously cosy for long flights whilst looking sharp.
Hush is another great label for wardrobe-essentials. These tailored trousers are a cool, contemporary take on workwear, slightly barrel-legged to be dressed up or down whilst still looking chic. Better still, they’re made from jersey fabric to be crease-proof. Pair with a crisp white shirt or a knit in matching blue for a monochromatic look.