Back with Part Two of our first Travel Series installment. In part one, I talked about picking out some special women’s pieces in advance of a trip. In this part, I turn my attention to some of my favorite picks for my better half. Just like me, Neal has a work wardrobe that doesn’t translate very well to extracurriculars. Unlike me, he doesn’t want to put substantial thought into building a wardrobe to wear while traveling, which may be the most important reason to buy the right things before we hit the road.
I can’t help myself from a little closet raiding two to three months out from a big trip…mostly so we have time to pick up the missing pieces (in the right fits and sizes) before clothes are going into suitcases. So…how do we decide if something is travel-worthy for a low maintenance guy?
Focus on function.
Men’s clothing has progressed tremendously in terms of functional fashion. What does it mean to be functional? There are the obvious factors: stain resistant, wrinkle free, and easy care. And there are the less obvious factors: an item that’s able to hold its shape after multiple wears and an item that’s lightweight. Unless we expect the weather to be cold, we tend to leave jeans at home when we travel. Denim is one of the heaviest and most space consuming clothing items you can pack, and that makes a difference when you’re lugging suitcases out of baggage claim, on and off of trains, or in and out of rental cars. It also tends to stretch out and not look flattering after a couple wears.
The solution – find a performance fabric that fits well and looks good. Fewer brands have done this better than Lululemon. The ABC Pant, which comes in three lengths, four fits, and multiple colors, meets all the criteria for functionality. These pants stretch without losing shape. They’re machine washable and dry-able, lightweight, and incredibly comfortable. Plus, they can be dressed up for nicer dinners or dressed down for casual days exploring.
Easy care is a must.
I’m happy to spend some time with my travel steamer getting wrinkles and lines out of my clothes, but I’m not as inclined to do this for men’s clothes. It’s not that I don’t want us to both look good, it’s just that men have so many more options for nice looking, wrinkle free clothing. The winner for this has to be Mizzen + Main, and their selection of performance fabric shirts. Machine washable and wrinkle resistant, these awesome shirts are made from a moisture-wicking fabric that looks like a nice button-up / t-shirt / polo shirt, but operates like a workout shirt.
Stick to solid colors and traditional cuts.
It’s important not to stick out as obvious tourists when we travel, and, no offense, but cargo shorts and logo tees are very obvious indicators of the American tourist. A better option? A solid colored crewneck or v-neck and a classic trim fit or straight leg short. I love picking up these kinds of classics at JCrew. The essential tees provide a nice fit at an affordable price point, and the stretch short, which comes in three lengths, is both flattering and comfortable.
The less space and weight, the better.
Dragging around a lot of luggage is no fun, and it’s easy to find space saving with men’s clothes. Sure, we could drag around space consuming outerwear…or we could pack this insulated and weather-resistant jacket that, when folded down, fits into a small pouch.
Pack one nice outfit.
I always research restaurants and make one or two reservations at nice places before we travel. Since I travel mostly with dresses and skirts (weather permitting) I can dress up or dress down most of my outfits to fit a dress code. That concept doesn’t translate as well in men’s clothing, which is why it’s always a good idea to throw a sport coat into the suitcase. It adds character to an outfit and dresses up almost any look.
Well, that completes our his and hers shopping guides. We’ll be back with another Travel Series next month. If there’s anything you’re interested in hearing about, feel free to leave a comment below.