The good news? The world is your oyster, and either a relaxing vacation or the opportunity to further cultivate your gentlemanly being, intellect, and character awaits. The bad? You haven't the slightest idea as to what to wear. And seeing as you (likely) hold yourself to an elevated sartorial standard, I feel it should be safe to assume that you would not be satisfied with being yet another sheep who is content with joining the masses in sporting the type of stereotypical vacation and travel attire that is, to put it bluntly, simply deplorable in every sense of the word.
So, what precisely does one pack when travelling to look his sartorial best without neglecting his creature vacation comforts?
That is a question I'm accustomed to hearing often (albeit in different forms) .
Ordinarily, for many that means employing their roomiest leisurewear to best effect, but as previously noted that sort of approach and opinion on comfort + style will not suffice for you (nor I). So, where exactly does the gent who is adamant in his pursuit of always looking the proper part and unwilling to let his personal style slip under any circumstance begin?
Well, for starters his first task is to pack intelligently by identifying a single — often signature — personal staple essential that is socially versatile beyond compare, that is crafted of a fabric that suits the temperatures of the locale, and that he feels not only stylish while wearing but also comfortable. Once he's done that, he can then proceed to building a transitional capsule travelling wardrobe around it.
But before one can do that he must first carefully consider a few questions that will help in the process. Introspective style insights such as do you have a fail-safe piece that you always count on that can be put to good use as the pillar of your travelling wardrobe? And if so, what is it and does it translate well to the nature of the trip? Identified it, well then you must now ask yourself whether it is made for the destination (fabric, cut, lining, etc)? And, if you do decide to let your sartorial standards slip to the wayside, you must then ask yourself whether you can honestly live with the fact that you are letting your better sartorial self down by wearing something most unbecoming of a gentleman (such as socks with sandals)?
Beyond those initial personal considerations lie the ever influential destination specific questions that will ultimately dictate precisely what is required for the journey. These include such matters as the parameters of the trip (casual, romantic, formal), it's duration (day trip or and week long excursion) and scheduled itinary/activities (what do you need to do them), transportation (what forms will be used), and the unique environment and climate (tropical, metropolitan, etc.) of your port of call.
Seeking answers to all these variables will go along way in helping you settle upon a proper wardrobe for any given trip.
But don't fret, because as fate would have it, today is your lucky day as this very feature was curated and crafted with the desire to placate any lingering doubts or questions percolating about your mind.
So whether your pursuits will have you skirting the golden tipped sands of a tropical locale, haunting the cobblestoned streets of Europe, or just simply flying in and out of any metropolitan urban jungle for a weekend business trip, here is what (and how) to pack to ensure you look as charmingly stylish as you are comfortable — that you look as good as you feel.
Because there is a definitive line that divides those who know how to dress for the occasion at hand in comfort and style and those who come off appearing as though they simply do not care nor should pay any such mind.
The following guide will help you fit in with the former and avoid the latter.
Henceforth, what you will discover in this feature ranges from the inspirational (three destination capsule wardrobe style guides) and practical (travelling advice + tips) to the insightful (cultured dossiers on three of the most critical travelling wardrobe investments a man can make)
ONLY QUESTION LEFT IS: WILL IT BE FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?
Safe travels, good sirs.
The Tropical Escape
So, think materials like linen and cotton rather then wool or flannel (or worse yet, tweed).
With that, and the gent who has the sartorial aspirations — and the high personal style standards — of cutting a charming silhouette no matter the thermal reading, comes this destination capsule collection of stylized tropical wears.
Now, shall we dive in?
For the first of the curated looks above, I've opted for a natural — blues, browns, whites — palette that is built upon the timeless laurels and stylish nature of staple warm weather essentials that have been luxuriously upgraded to best befit the needs of the sartorially discerning gentleman. From the unstructured (and unlined) linen blazer (which can be easily be layered on and off to fit the occasion at hand) with its spacious patch pockets (to store anything nine deems pertinent), to the suave navy and white heritage houndstooth knit polo with cuffed hems and the swim ready (yet land appropriate) navy (mid thigh resting) signature Orlebar Brown side fastened shorts, this dapper ensemble simply exudes confidence and effortless comfort. Tack on an elegant trilby hat (to protect ones head from the sun) alongside some island appropriate canvas slip-ons (instead of sandals) and a NATO-strapped (navy + white) watch and what you have is a look sure to charm come day or night, surf or turf.
This look, although formal in spirit, ultimately personalities casual refinement at its warm weather finest, being stylishly nonchalant and comfortable, structurally breathable, and bewitchingly inviting all the same.
Alternatively, and for those whose desires stray even further towards the casual spectrum, comes the ensemble situated above right.
Anchored by an ever fashionable and on-point (and classic) cotton bomber jacket (chosen in tan/khaki here), this creative ensemble, which includes a pair of skinny white chinos, a cotton-linen button-down shirt, a nautical striped ring belt, tortoise shell Ray-Ban Clubmasters, and a pair of Breton-striped espadrilles, will have you looking and feeling like your Sunday best any day of the week.
Personal fancy aside, both of these highly presentable looks are poised to handling your sartorially inclined needs (and comfort) with ease.
Pack either or, or even both in order to create a multitude of mix and match ensemble options.
And to that I will simply say Bon Voyage and happy sailing to all my seafaring brethren.
What Else To Consider Packing : tan chinos + swim trunks + white tee + Breton striped long sleeve tee + dress slippers + formal trousers + patterned vest/muscle shirt + paisley short-sleeved fitted button up
The European Explorer
...it truly has an enduring draw and inviting quality that can tickle any proverbial fancy, so to speak.
So, what does one pack under the circumstances?
For starters, I'd advise calling into action your tailored bests. From ones formal wear to his casual staple essentials, having a travelling wardrobe filled with properly cut, fabricated, and tailored wears is of a chief concern when visiting Europe (where the average man's sartorial standard arguably stands a notch above anywhere else).
Because the small details matter (especially when speaking in regards to ones style), and by paying special heed to them you will be setting yourself upon the highly coveted path of effortlessly fitting in with the local denizens.
To help you accomplish just such a feat while venturing throughout the Meditteranean nations I've curated the capsule ensemble situated above (left). And seeing as this is the land that founded sprezzatura (Italy) and mastered the laid-back sporting-formal aesthetic, the piece de resistance is naturally the unconstructed linen-cotton double-breasted navy blazer, a versatile menswear staple essential in many parts that screams of subtle sophistication and masculine refinement. Top it off (literally) with a grey felt fedora, a navy striped dress shirt with contrasting white collar and cuffs, a striped (red/navy) pocket square and patterned tie, grey lightweight wool trousers, and a plush pair of navy suede loafers with contrasting red tassels in order to present a classy and elegant silhouette that plays towards the Pitti peacock aesthetic, albeit in a more tastefully delicate and sensible manner.
Smart, refined, and stylishly polished, it's a look sure to please.
Well then, if France or the U.K. is on the ticketed docket then look no further then the monochromatic look to the above right — which will be equally at home in Paris or London. And your signature stylish linchpin for this destination: the black double-breasted military trench coat, which is not only utterly practical (against the cold and blistering elements alike) but markedly chic and as stylishly sharp as a needle.
That said, the tailored white trousers, sleek polished Chelsea boots, Breton-striped (black/grey) turtleneck, and knit (black) flat cap that round out this outfit are no sartorial pushovers either, being able to serve as statement making pieces that would pass as standalone stars on their own lauded merits.
Nevertheless, and as a conclusively unified entity, this ensemble exudes a very svelt and handsome David Beckham/Yves Saint Laurent vibe that is both highly regarded and sought after by many a man.
Not sold on the trench? Sport a black leather biker jacket instead to add a touch of rakishly rebellious charm to the look.
So there you have it, two highly polished (alternative) looks that will have you looking undeniably primp and proper whether seafaring through the Mediterranean or stomping about throughout mainland Europe's iconic streets and historic structures.
What Else To Consider Packing: Fitted t-shirt/polo & underwear (white, black, grey) + an additional dress shirt (white) + a shawl-collared heavy knit cardigan + dark indigo jeans (to pair with blazer for casual looks) + a few additional ties/pocket squares/socks (although one would do well in purchasing new ones while there instead) + a pair of chocolate leather monk-straps + an ascot or silk (summer) scarf + driving gloves
The Seasoned Businessman
The solution: A wardrobe consisting of three parts formal workwear and one part casual attire.
Beginning with ones tailored business wears (i.e. a suit), rather then opting for the same suit you rely upon day-in day-out, I'd advise electing for something a touch different, a new (or underused) suit that will undeniably mark — and add character — to the occasion.
My pick: an exquisite two-piece navy suit in a checked windowpane that is charmingly accentuated by a fine-gauge burgundy cardigan, a white (cutaway collar) dress shirt, and a red/blue paisley tie + white silk pocket square combination.
And the true difference maker? That would be the cardigan, which dispenses with any further formality (which a waistcoat/vest would add) while still serving as a work appropriate and transitionally versatile option — omit the tie and suit jacket to transform the look into charming evening attire fit for casual social gathering/dinner or after hour drinks.
With one's suiting needs covered, what else should he pack? I'd advise a smart mixture of business and pleasure essentials: 2 additional dress shirts (white & pale blue), a pair of double monks (instead of laced oxfords), a double-breasted camel trench coat (contingent upon the destination), a few casual t-shirts, socks, 2 pocket squares/ties, a thin turtleneck sweater (black or grey), and a grey pair of dress chinos.
Travel tip: wear your suit jacket (and tie clip...bypassing the need to dig it out of your luggage at security) in-flight so as to avoid any creasing or wrinkling in transport. Bonus: it will also allows you to be ready to step into the office immediately upon arriving.
Special packing considerations: laptop, tablet, document portfolio, chargers
For you see, all it truly takes to travel with refined panache in tow is a little foresight, effort, and a plan to carry it all out with. That's not to say you will never not be faced with another befuddling outfit challenge when deciding what to practically pack but rather that you will be better prepared to etching out a reasonable (yet still stylish) compromise as consequence.
At the end of the day, I can only hope that this feature has provided just enough insightful advice and style inspiration to carry you forth towards enjoying and experiencing your travels in utter comfort and style, to improving your creative outlook and well-studied approach to wardrobe attiring for when the next opportunity for hitting the open road, air or sea comes calling out your name.
So what have you to say in he he matter of dressing stylishly while travelling? And where do you plan on visiting this year?
Weigh in and share below…
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