Packing for a trip is almost what I’d call an art form or trained skill – well for most of us anyway. I know some guys that have no qualms leaving it to the last minute and much to my envy, still manage to look cute on vacation or business – at least 80% of the time anyway. But I put it down to a limited wardrobe or they’re just those naturally chic guys that even with a closet full of the latest threads, rock up to brunch and have literally rolled out of bed, pulling off the effortless look with absolute obliviousness and genuine effortlessness. My casual Sunday getup, though trying to look minimalist, after it’s actually carefully conceived, bedroom modelled and tweaked I wonder if the ensemble looks completely contrived and a paradox to the concept – ‘effortless.’ So maybe those effortless babes won’t relate to the skill of packing a fashionable suitcase coz’ an easy hand through their dishevelled bedroom waves and carefree approach will always get them to the next brunch with minimal effort, but for the rest of us that employ a little more effort this read is for you.
Often my trips will include multiple cities and stop-overs. Though within in one country, a trip I’ve done a few times including Miami, New York and LA – in Nov/Dec – calls for not only an array of climate accordant dressing but also variations in style. Miami folk dress very different to New Yorker’s. Not just because most of the year when Miami is hot (when is it not), New York is cold (or snowing), but the two cities have different fashion ideas and style. LA is albeit, a combination of both – warm during the day and often cooler in the evening. Throw in limitations on how much weight you can check-in on your flight and the packing for a trip turns into a considerable process of umm’s and ahh’s, yes’s and no’s and continual indecision. So as I’ve become more of an accomplished traveller over the last few years I’ve developed somewhat of a template, or go-to plan for choosing what to pack and being assured I’m going to be most importantly – in style – but also warm, comfortable, occasion assorted and under 23kgs.
The biggest recommendation or tip I can suggest is to layer. This is not news to anyone that’s travelled, especially backpackers – but how they travel for months at a time with only a backpack is beyond my comfort of living. Packing a winter coat, even opting to wear it on the plane is not advisable, as it will at some stage take up space, whether it’s at your feet on the plane, the overhead compartment or just be something else to lug under your arm when you’re on the move again – it’s not gonna miraculously fit in your suitcase one day unless you lose or sell three pairs of shoes. I pack a leather or denim jacket. This is then also multi-purpose; you can dress it up, you can opt for casual sexiness with that white tee or you can layer under it and wrap it up with a scarf for warmth. The leather and denim jacket are universal fashion items that are not only a wardrobe staple but a suitcase one. It offers you urban street chic but also evening rock and a warm classic statement – all in how you under layer and accessorise.
White is another must. Believe it or not, it doesn’t matter what your skin tone is, everyone can pull off a white V-neck and a white collared button-down. Each of which are the perfect in-between layer with that leather jacket. James Dean made the white tee and denim combo infamous in the 50’s and it still has classic appeal today. Roll up those knee torn Levi’s (501’s if you really wanna go vintage) and pull over a well-fitted or over-sized longline white tee, jump in your cons or trainers and you’ve got easy-chic summer Sunday down-pat! Just as easy, breezy would be to wear the collared button-down with an open chest and the sleeves rolled to the elbow and untucked. 5’Oclock drinks down at the local or casual alfresco dining and the shirt can serve you well again. Button up to the collar, maybe clip on a collar pin if you want some extra flair, cuff your jeans over some suede desert boots, add a cute trilby or fedora and the white staple has once again been stylishly transformed.
There you have it. In 4 staple items – leather/denim jacket, jeans, white tee and white collared button-down – we’ve detailed a range of styles and looks for varying occasions and climates. Personally I travel with both a leather and denim jacket as I’m still not the hugest fan of denim on denim unless they’re contrasting colours and I like the choice of black/dark or blue jeans. But the more options I pack, the more shoes I need to compliment…and so the struggle begins. But shoes are a whole other kettle of fish to be continued next time…