What to wear, carry and pack on your annual holiday, business or leisure trip.
URBAN JUNKIE: Snug fit multi-pocket denim shorts for the big city trip. Wear broad and high waist styles with short crotches – especially under T-shirts, golf shirts and short sleeve (open) shirts.
How short can your shorts be?
Stick to knee-length shorts if you are slim and lean. You may go a lot shorter, especially if you are muscular, big built or large framed. If you like wearing shorts, having good thighs and well-developed calves gives you an added advantage.
WEEKEND BREAKER: Casual shorts to wear to the club, golfing greens, for long walks in the woods or a hiking trip to the hills. Choose something that will withstand the wear and tear as well as keep you feeling light, easy and comfortable.
Stripes, checks or solid colours?
Checks are this season’s staple pattern. Stripes are never a good idea for lowers as they can easily change your body’s proportions. Solid colours (blue, beige, grey, black and white) will work for most of you and at almost all the places you may end up going to.
BEACH BUM: Slim fit, zip and button-free shorts and boxers for the long beach holiday, weekend by the poolside or the short retreat at the spa. White is the colour of the season and aqua-based prints and transfers are a strong trend.
Can you wear boxers to the beach?
Traditionally boxers are innerwear, but yes, you can wear them at the beach – especially if you prefer to be out of the water and lie on the sand through the day; but ensure the fabric you choose to wear is light, soft and quick drying.
CITY SLICKER: Explore the city (after you are done with the day’s business) in a pair of comfortable relaxed fit and straight leg trousers.
When can you wear your khakis?
For a late evening walk, a shopping trip to the mall or flea market, to the movies, museums, sights or galleries.
BLUE, WHITE & SILVER SPORTS KEDS: NIKE
A good pair of sports shoes for the active holiday – especially if hiking, runs on the beach and outdoor sports are on the agenda.
ANKLE LENGTH CASUAL SHOES: CONVERSE
Ankle-length casual and comfortable footwear for tiring shopping trips, day and night downtown urban walks as well as dreadful terminal-to-terminal shuttles and cramped ‘cattle class’ flights.
SLIP ON SHOES: PAVERS
Perfect to match your power denims and corduroy pants and to be seen on your feet at the airport lounge, the pub, high street shops and in and around the hotel lobby and common areas.
LACED FORMAL SHOES: ZEGNA
Wear these formal laced shoes for business meetings, to the convention centre, exhibition areas and other corporate environments – especially if you are wearing jackets and /or overcoats on top.
Pick a check shirt that you can wear with your casual trousers, knee-length shorts or drawstring pants. Styles with wide collars and rounded ends are universally acceptable.
How much to unbutton?
On a casual shirt – the first button should always be left open. Undo the second if you get ‘hot under the collar’, the third if you are feeling a bit playful and the fourth if you have a body (minus the chest hair) to flaunt. Undo all the buttons only when you have an undershirt, sports vest or a tee on underneath and only if the length of your shirt is short enough to leave it out!
BUSINESS CLASS: Pack a work shirt in a neutral colour – one that works with the predominant colours of the trousers you are carrying with you. Shirts made with crease-free fabrics and those that have stiff cuffs and short collars are recommended.
Half or full sleeves?
You can wear a half sleeve shirt (daily) to the office or for a casual work meeting, but given the space (and weight) limitations when we travel, you are a lot safer taking a full sleeve shirt with you, one that you can roll up (in a more relaxed setting) if you want to.
LIGHT WEIGHT: Besides keeping you warm (in flight or in windy places) a multi-pocket casual zippered jacket replaces the need to carry shoulder bags as you can tuck your travel documents, money and plastic safely into it and on you.
Which colour to wear?
Light colours for the day and darker ones for the evening – though the choice could vary; based on where you are going to be. We suggest darker colours like black, navy and chocolate brown for formal and uptight Europe and lighter colours like beige, grey and white for the more casual and trendy Americas. Choose between either for the conservative Middle and Far East.
MEDIUM WEIGHT: If you are flying business or first class, your semi-formal jacket can be worn both in-flight as well as for meetings when you land. Team your jacket with well-tailored corduroy pants or comfortable chinos.
What style to choose?
Narrow lapels set in two buttons are ideal for corporate wear or if you just want to look slick, slim and sharp. A single button will work too – but it does not flatter men who have love handles or beer bellies. Having said that, three buttons and double-breasted styles are best avoided altogether.
HEAVY WEIGHT: Instead of conventional black, a summer tux can be white in colour. Your tux always needs to look crisp and stark whenever you wear it. We suggest you carry it in a ‘suit saver’ when you travel and have it steamed (each time) before you wear it.
When to wear a tux?
Only if and when you are invited to a black tie event, dinner or cocktails. A tux can also be worn to weddings, receptions, operas, ballets and award nights as well as to formal upper end restaurants (provided you don’t end up looking like the waiter who is serving you).
Packing it all in: Slide wine and booze bottles into thick cotton socks, place your spare pair of shoes one on top of the other (in the 69 position), your shirts well-ironed and neatly stacked, and coil up the chargers for your gadgets and gizmos. To save space and make the contents of your check-in luggage look neater, roll up your T-shirts, vests and innerwear. Last but not the least, carry a vanity kit with the grooming products you use and we regularly recommend in this column.
Carry on: Your handbag needs to be light to carry, but power packed with everything you could possibly need to survive the journey, weather unforeseen delays and other incidentals. Make sure to include entertainment (books, music etc), travel documents, plastic, cash and shortlisted gadgets.
GLOW IN THE DARK WATCH: DIESEL
A glow-in-the-dark watch for the camping trip, if and when you are stuck in a dark alley, waiting for time to pass on a long night flight or just gazing up at the stars from a rooftop.
SLIM BLACK WATCH: TITAN
A sleek and slick timepiece to wear to the bar, lounge, nightclub, dinner (and after) dates or for a late night around town.
FORMAL WATCH: EMPORIO ARMANI
An ‘in your face’ watch with a large dial to keep track of your business meetings, appointments and flight timings when you are in a rush and on the move.
Meanwhile, sunglasses can be metallic – brown and black tint over green, gold and silver. Choose between vintage espionage and classic aviator styles.
For the geeky look, and to substitute wearing lenses when you travel – try a pair of powered (or plain) eyeglasses. Dual colour, square or rectangular frames set in plastic instead of metal are the rage this season.
While we normally recommend you refrain from wearing too much jewellery – except for the occasional chain, ring or bracelet; an eye-catching metallic pendant on a short leather, rubber or metal band on the neck can add that little something extra to your overall look as well as put metal detectors in a frenzy.
If you plan to be outdoors by choice or for recreational activities like a safari, bird-watching or just lying on the beach – shade yourself from the sun with a lightweight but bright coloured hat – one that will ensure you never get lost in the crowd or in the wilderness.