Not all healthy travel ends with you swapping your leggings for a dreamy beach cover-up or flattering black bathing suit. Sometimes, the final destination is a boardroom instead of a wellness retreat. So what’s the key to looking like a total #bosslady when you have to go straight from the airport to the office? Career expert Claire Wasserman has some (really good) ideas. FYI when she’s not sharing her genius advice as a Well+Good Council member, she’s helping women advocate for equality in the workplace as the founder of Ladies Get Paid, a crusade that has her crisscrossing the country most of the year. Here are her foolproof hacks to feel confident and collected—even when things get chaotic in transit.
When I’m on the road, it’s like being a rock star on tour where you just play shows and then there’s a week or two-week break and then you’re on the road again. There was a time when I was on a plane six days in a row—at one point it was every single week.
I’ve been going across the country hosting town halls for women to come and talk about what we call “Women and Money.” (It’s really more of a conversation around what money represents in terms of self-worth.) I’m in cities sometimes only for 24 hours, maybe two days—often, I’m heading straight from the airport to an event, and I have to get ready, like half in the taxi and half in a bar bathroom. It can be intense.
I choose to be present instead of perfect.
My goals in walking into any work situation are to be incredibly present and to try and enjoy it. By making it about absorbing the moment, that ends up radiating. There’s a mindset and an energy that you bring and then there’s what you actually look like. I choose to be present instead of perfect. If had this pressure on myself to look a certain way, then how am I going to deal when things don’t go to plan—which is bound to happen when traveling? I would just fall apart.
For example, I used to be obsessed with having this beautiful pageant hair. But…I’m just not gonna have it. My hair’s kind of frizzy—it is what it is. I’m gonna look messy, and so I’ve figured out how to put my hair up in a messy way that doesn’t look totally insane. Through trial and error, I figured out what works for me.
Here are a handful of travel and beauty hacks I know I can always count on to make me feel calm, cool, and collected on the road.
1. Everything has to fit in a carry-on
Period. No matter how long I’m on the road. I have a very particular way of packing—I roll everything. And nothing has to be ironed.
2. Make your minimalist wardrobe monochromatic
I pack a lot of black with a couple of pieces that are bright. Then, I go hard on the accessories I can wear over and over again: I have these really fun, dangly turquoise earrings, a cool silver cuff, and a watch. (A lot of my jewelry came from my grandmother. She was just a phenomenal traveler—she went to New Guinea and Africa. So, it comes from her travels and I wear it on mine.)
3. Pack one pair of shoes that are extremely functional
I don’t wear shoes that are uncomfortable. So I have a pair of Toms shoes that I can dress up or dress down.
4. Create a signature beauty look
I always do cat eyes—I can literally do it without a mirror, in the car, eyes shut. I’ve been doing it since I was 13. I have that down pat. So in all this messiness, it’s not gonna be perfect, there are certain things I know I can do really well, and I do them. That, and I worked really hard on getting my eyebrow game strong. So, if you walk in and have nothing else going for you, you have some of that.
5. Swap your power suit for a power lipstick (which is way easier to pack)
I recently found a good pink lipstick—I’ve been searching. Throwing it on is the difference between what I looked like on the plane and “Okay, now we’re doing something different. We’re in a different mode.” It’s like when I’d watch my mom get dressed for parties growing up—she’d put on her lipstick and perfume and her stockings, and I think there’s a ritual to that. And even if you’re doing it in a car, you’re reminding yourself of that ritual, and that gets me to the, “Okay, professional Claire.”
The founder of Ladies Get Paid, Claire Wasserman’s an educator, coach, and podcaster, who helps women navigate their professional options to find fulfilling career paths.
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