Image by: AndreasS
By Jack Day
Simple, clean and pressed. Style doesn’t have to be a complicated riddle. By keeping color and patterns in mind, a man can make sure he’s never under dressed, never in violation of the dress code and always ready to adapt.
There are challenges to keep in mind. Going on the road can derail even the best dressed man, so here are few tips and tricks to make sure a week living out of a suitcase doesn’t lead to stinky jeans and wrinkled button downs.
#1) Pack Light, Pack Smart
One way to stay on track and keep your style in check is to make sure you don’t overpack. It’s a rookie move to pack more than one sweater, more than one tie and less than two pairs of pants.
So what do you pack?
Pick a color palette. Staying with blues? Here’s what your suitcase should look like:
–Two pairs of pants: one khaki, one black
-One solid color tie: black, blue, green
-One sweater, preferably in a solid color
-Two pairs of shoes, one black and one brown
–Two to three button down shirts.
-One pair of underwear for every day on the road
-One pair of socks for every day on the road.
The mixing and matching of these options are endless and should last the average man at least a week.
#2) Quality Matters
The only way a simple suitcase works is if the items inside are of quality. A sweater purchased at Kmart won’t wear the same as a cardigan bought at your local department store.
Consider your staple pieces and invest good money into clothing that will last more than a season. What you pay for a better quality item will eventually add up to the amount of replacements you buy at a discount retailer.
You’ll notice the difference a quality garment makes by the way it fits. A pair of slacks from a department store with a tailor at hand will have the proper inseam, the perfect fit and will likely be dry-clean only. A button down measured to fit a man’s frame will have a proper fit to the arm, collar and chest and forget about throwing it into the washer.
What you pay in dry-cleaning bills you’ll gain in the life of your items.
#3) Comfort is King
Travel should always require comfortable clothing, but comfort doesn’t have to come at the expense of style.
If clothing feels like it’s pulling or pushing on places that make you wince, it’s probably because it’s too small or too big. Consider the size of the item in question because a good pair of slacks will travel and bend along with your body in motion.
Shoes have the same value. While the look is important to a man on the go, so is the way it makes the foot feel. Gone are the days when one pair of shoes fit all, now men can get the look they’re after with a supportive arch. Most department stores will have a section of shoes designed specifically with comfort in mind.
Something to remember when choosing a dress shoe, real leather trumps the fake stuff every time.
Leather that is properly worked will expand and shrink along with the weather, it will wear well and its easy to maintain.
#4) Use the Hangers
There’s a funny episode of Seinfeld that stands out in my mind…
“(The Maestro gets up. Realizing that he isn’t wearing pants, Kramer and Frank stare in bewilderment)
MAESTRO: (Noticing the expressions) Ohh, my pants. (Begins putting on a near-by pair of pants) It’s an old conductor’s trick I learned from Leonard Bernstein.
MAESTRO: You keep a perfect crease by not sitting in them before the performance.
(Kramer and Frank are obviously impressed)
KRAMER: That’s good thinking.”
It’s as simple as using the hangers you find in your hotel room. By hanging everything from ties to pants, your wardrobe will look as pressed as the day you packed your bag.
And if it wrinkles? No problem.
Grab that iron and use a gentle mist of water to work the crease back into place.
#5) Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something Bold
So you’re a solids guy. Maybe now is the time to mix it up.
Wearing patterns makes the way you vary your day to day look a little more difficult because it’s identifiable. A basic blue or white shirt won’t phase a person if you wear it twice, but the man on the street will notice a bold check or stripe.
That said, it’s important to branch out and incorporate a pattern every now and then.
If you’re willing to add more to your luggage, find a pattern that flatters your frame. Women aren’t the only one’s who need to worry about stripes. A vertical pattern is universally more flattering than a horizontal. If your favorite piece has a horizontal feature, make sure it’s only an accent and not the full focus.
Horizontal stripes can make a person appear wider if worn alone. Under a solid sweater, that bold stripe becomes a simple accent.
The key to finding a wardrobe that works is sticking to the basics. Keep your look clean and fresh, be willing to spend a little cash on some great material and you are on your way. A week on the road never looked better, and you have your pocket style guide to thank.
How do you usually pack for the road? Are you a one suitcase and done kind of guy, or does it take a little pushing and pulling to fit it all? Tell us how you balance your clothing budget, and what quality means in your line of work.