Look around the room at a meeting during your next business trip and try to find that guy — the guy in the wrinkled shirt who may or may not be wearing two slightly different socks.
The guy who’s going to un-tuck his dress shirt at the bar after dinner to be more “casual.”
If you don’t see this guy, look down. Make sure you’re not him.
Why? Because you do not want to be this guy. You want to be a gentleman.
At some point in every man’s life he will have to pack a suit. In fact, he may have to pack up his entire life and be on the move for weeks. Neither of these circumstances are an excuse for not looking fresh.
“It comes down to wear-ability, versatility, and then style,” says Colin Hunter, co-founder and CEO of men’s custom suiting shop, Alton Lane.
Hunter himself worked as a consultant for Bain before launching Alton Lane in 2009, and during his time travelling extensively on projects, he perfected the art of looking like a gentleman while living out of a bag.
So first, lets talk about wear-ability. Even if you’re going to a warmer climate, you don’t want any fabric that wrinkles easily. No linen or light wool — in fact toss the light fabrics all together. When it comes to shirts go with broadcloth or oxford over poplin.
If you travel a lot, you may even want to invest in a suit made with a material repels water, like Aquaplan by Dormeuil, which Alton Lane carries.
As for versatility — “It’s all about efficiency of packing,” said Hunter. “Leave the bold patterned suits or blazers at home… You want solid colours you can get more than one use out of — shark skin [grey] or navy.”
Think seriously about the number of suits you need. They can be re-worn with the right easy-to-pack accessories — like pocket squares, ties, or shirts — to change their look. If you’re on a business trip for about a week, bring up to 3 suits.
“I try to wear my dress shoes on the flight, even if I’m flying to Hong Kong,” said Hunter. “You don’t want to be packing shoe trees — [you need one] pair of lace ups, one pair of loafers. I try to stick with brown…it’s more versatile, better with navy and grey.”
If you must bring a black shoe, bring a loafer in brown. This isn’t rocket science.
Hunter favours putting his suits in garment bag and carrying it on the plane. You can put your loafers and ties in there as well.
The garment bag thing is, however, a hot debate. Justin Jeffers, of The Fine Young Gentleman blog told Business Insider that the key is really making sure that everything in your suitcase is tightly packed so there’s no movement.
“When they are able to shift around a likelihood of creases (and thus ironing) increases…garment bags are a waste of money. You can pack your suit, shoes and shirts in your normal suitcase and they will emerge in a similar, if not a better state.”
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