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How to Stay Stylish When Living Out of a Suitcase

What do work trips, international vacations and destination weddings have in common? Two things, actually: They each require you to look your best, and they each require you to live out of a suitcase. At surface level, these seem like competing goals. How does one look their best when all of their clothing, kit supplies, and accessories are jammed into a tiny case or bag? But it is possible to stay stylish when living out of a small suitcase – even for extended periods of time. All you need are the right materials, an intelligent packing approach, a versatile grooming collection, and a couple of straightforward hacks. Here’s how to pull it off:

Take a Capsule Approach 

Capsule wardrobes are a popular concept in the minimalist wardrobe. And, essentially, that’s all your packed clothing is – a minimalist wardrobe. So, take some cues from the capsule approach as you pack your bags. Go for muted colours that can be easily mixed and matched, like greys, blacks, whites, navy and deep greens. Pack layers of t-shirts, sweatshirts, button-downs and jackets that you swap around to create novel outfits. Masterclass has a fantastic article on men’s capsule wardrobes, if you’re looking for inspiration.

David Gandy Wellwear
David Gandy Wellwear

Merino Wool Is the Ace up Your Sleeve 

Merino wool almost feels like it was lab-created to be the perfect travel gear (It wasn’t, obviously; it’s a natural fibre shorn from Merino sheep). It’s breathable and insulating, meaning it functions well in hot and cold climates. It’s sweat-wicking and antibacterial, meaning that it stays fresh for days (sometimes weeks) on end without washing. And, best of all, it's wrinkle-resistant, so you don't have to worry about pulling a messy pile of clothes from your suitcase. As you compose your capsule wardrobe, consider adding a few simple and stylish merino t shirts, a merino button-down and a sweater. You don’t need much – just a few versatile garments should last you an entire trip. 

Consider the Grooming Kit 

You can find basic grooming kits for under $30/£25 at most big-box retailers, but, honestly, they don’t measure up to the at-home grooming experience. Often, they include cheaply made replacements for common tools and toiletries. Instead, pack your home grooming tools, and supplement them with a travel grooming kit of various products – moisturizers, hair care, shaving cream, etc. This GQ article lists a few of their favourite men’s grooming kits at varying price points.


Layer in Transit and Keep Your Jacket Out 

If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how to fit everything neatly into a small suitcase, consider this: You don’t have to fit everything. On transit days (air travel, train travel, etc.), layer your bulkiest articles of clothing. Wear your coat, scarf and boots, saving precious room in your bag for extra items. In fact, your jacket should never have to grace your bag. If your destination is warm, simply sling your jacket over one shoulder as you pull your suitcase with the other. It’s a sophisticated look that avoids jacket wrinkles and suitcase overstuffing. 

Whether travelling for business or pleasure, you want to look your best. Follow these straightforward tips to stay classy with just one suitcase.

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