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Friday, November 15, 2013

Creating a Mix and Match Travel Wardrobe for Men

Last week I posted about creating a minimal, but impactful travel wardrobe.  The guys were really interested in one for them, too. As easy as it is for guys to pack light, it's not always in a way that gives enough variation if you are planning to do different types of things on your trip. On our trip to London and Paris, we had to pack for general sightseeing, fancier occasions like tea and theater and also for running around a theme park. Now, normally, we would just throw some jeans and khakis in a bag and go, but we wanted to blend in also keep warm and dry in the cold, and possibly rainy, weather. Now, I did not keep a log of Eric's outfits, nor did I make him do a crazy changing session for me for the purposes of this post, but I did get this full-length photo of him and came up with a similar packing list below.

Long sleeve shirts were imperative for this trip, as we would be spending a lot of time outside and needed a good layer under a coat. Eric chose three pair of pants to bring with him. Two of them were Bluff Works, which hold up to practically anything, are quick-drying, can work as dress or casual pants and can go many wears between washes. The other were a pair of cargo pants from GoLite. (I have replaced them with jeans, as most people are more comfortable in them.) He also wore a pair of Columbia boots and packed a pair of dressier loafers that were also great for walking. 

men's travel wardrobe 1

We shopped Columbia for a shirt similar to the one above that features a zip pocket (for keeping a wallet and/or passport safe from thieves). Eric really liked this shirt and, being flannel, it was warm and comfortable and a great layering piece over a t-shirt and under a jacket. So, we bought two different colors and packed them both.

men's travel wardrobe 2

Finding a sweater that he would wear was a bit trickier. Being the total opposite of me, Eric is always hot, so he doesn't often wear sweaters. Fortunately, I found one made by a company like Columbia and REI that was breathable, lightweight, but still warm. that meant it could also be layered over one of the other shirts if needed. A similar one can be found here. A sweater can be casual, but can also be dressed up with slacks and nice shoes, so it can be worn for nice activities, like lunch on a yacht!

men's travel wardrobe 3

Everyone should own a polo: short sleeve and long sleeve. While these are reminiscent of dudes playing the back nine, they are also the perfect balance of comfort and preppy, so you can look put together enough for anything not requiring a dinner jacket. You probably already have one of these in your closet, but if not, Columbia has a great one that is breathable and quick-drying, making it a great travel companion. And again, can be layered under the sweater if you need to bulk up.

men's travel wardrobe 4

Packing a jacket can be a pain, but if you plan to go out to a nice dinner or take in a play, it's worth it to include one in your carry-on. Lucky for us, the Skyroll spinner bag has that nifty garment bag on the outside. Eric also owns a "packable" jacket I bought for him some time ago on TravelSmith. It doesn't really wrinkle and it doesn't take up as much space as a normal jacket (though still kind of bulky), but it works in a variety of situations and it looks good. Now, you can pack a boring white shirt, or mix it up with a pop of color here (nobody will know if you wear the same shirt on different occasions, except you). The easiest part of all of your dressed up look is a tie. You can bring one or several, since they hardly take up any room. Obviously, I like a tartan pattern, but that's just me. Take along any that you have that will match with the shirt, pants and jacket you're packing.

This is what the majority of our pics looked like +/- sunglasses, +/- hats

Though most of our pictures from vacation were of us all bundled up, there are plenty of times we were inside and able to take our coats off, so you could actually see what we were wearing. For those times, five shirts and three pairs of pants could combine to make at least fifteen different outfits. You could get more looks by layering, though you have enough variety in there to not get bored with your look, wear everything you brought and not look the same twice in a two week vacation. You are probably still going to want to do laundry (as we did at least three loads on our trip) to keep things fresh smelling, but this easily packable wardrobe will always have you looking fresh.

Do you have a style of packing light that works for you? Tell us about it.

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