Luggage and Your Brand

by epi on April 30, 2012

By Dawn Stanyon, AICI FLC, Professional Image Consultant

Your luggage, just like your clothing, shoes and accessories, makes a statement about you. It’s an easily identifiable manifestation of your image. While that hounds tooth canvas bag is easily identifiable and fun, is it a true reflection of your attributes? If you have to walk into a client’s office with your bag, would you be embarrassed?

Unless you’re a comedian or Katy Perry, you don’t want to lug around a hard-sided suitcase emblazoned with cherries or cartoon characters. If you travel for work often, consider a high-quality bag that is utilitarian as well as professional: lots of pockets, sturdy, easy to navigate through busy airports, and that will last and still look good. It’s worth the investment. Consider the per-use breakdown: if you buy a set of luggage (big bag, carry-on and a “medicine bag”) for $500 and you use it at least 10 times per year for 10 years that breaks down to $5 per use. That may be the same amount that you spend on coffee each day!

If designer labels are part of your personal brand, by all means, buy Louis Vuitton or Prada. If you’re on a more moderate budget, you can find good quality Samsonite, London Fog and Beverly Hills Country √álub bags. Check out TJ Maxx is a good place to find reasonably priced pieces that are traditional but might sport interesting and easily identifiable details. And for women, if you favor more feminine pieces, consider an Emilie Sloan train bag in “silver stone.” These bags are sturdy and then they fold up for storage.

Finally, before you make a purchase, take the bag for a walk. If you can, pull it around the store before you buy it. You want to make sure that the roller wheels actually roll, that you like the multi-directional spinner wheels, and that you are comfortable with the handle and weight.

For more, visit Dawn’s blog, Professionality.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mme N B April 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Hadn’t realized this was a shopping/advertising blog, rather than a blog on etiquette. Thanks for the heads-up.


Elizabeth April 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Actually, I found this post rather helpful. It listed a great many brands, it didn’t recommend just one. What I took from it is that one’s professional image also extends to traveling and that luggage is a bearer of meaning.


Chocobo May 1, 2012 at 8:56 am

I have to say I thought the brand names were a bit much, myself. “Pick a sturdy and reasonably designed suitcase” would have been enough.


Zakafury May 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

This is actually a place to complain about things being wrong on the internet. Thank you for making best use of it.

I found this guest post brings an interesting perspective. I pay no thought to my luggage at all, but I do not travel for business.

I think it’s interesting that the writer considers Prada luggage to make a statement about the owner’s “personal brand.” That’s a very nice way of saying that it will make an impression – the nature of that judgment will be based on the expectations of those employing your brand.


Just Laura April 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Personally, I’m a huge fan of Tommy Bahama luggage. The last set I bought is far better than the Samsonite I used to have.

Also, vintage luggage is great! The hard-body suitcases in a variety of colors still make it through airports and boats just fine, just like they did for my grandparents 60 years ago.


Vanna Keiler May 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I think the post had some interesting tips for those who are traveling on business, as it is an extension of your outfit. I think there are enough cheaper products out there, well made to suit anyone’s budget. Luggage is always on sale somewhere, so if I need to add or replace mine I just shop around. Here’s a tip for the budget minded/budget restrained: if you can’t buy a whole, expensive set, just pick up a bunch of separate black pieces and put your own personal touch on each so you can readily identify them at the carousels (e.g. sticker, ribbon, etc.).

If you are not traveling on business, I don’t think anyone will judge you for how your luggage appears, unless it is so beat up that clothes are sticking out of it. Frankly, I think the cost of airline tickets nowadays is enough for people to NOT put too much investment into luggage in lieu of their destination fun budget. But to each his own!


Elizabeth May 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Also – the way the airlines care for your luggage (or don’t, as is the case) disincentivizes nice pieces, I think. I once watched out the window as the ground crew threw around luggage as if it were sport, and they landed hard.


Vanna Keiler May 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Great point, Elizabeth. Note also that carry-on luggage may sometimes be subjected to the same treatment and/or wear and tear as regular luggage: on my last trip, airline staff mistakenly informed me there was not enough room overhead to store my carry-on. As a result, it was stored with the rest of the luggage and took a beating coming through the luggage carousels. Be aware that your carry-on luggage could be checked in if needed and could receive some bumps and bruises as a result.


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