Being a jet setter might be a cool component of one’s image or an ostentatious consumptive habit, depending on whether you’re selling your shtick well. When you’re a person of substance, selling a shtick isn’t your motivation—it’s incidental. To a well-traveled soulful person, what’s important about getting the hell out of Dodge and checking out a new scene is that it refocuses your attention and your character on the right things. When you get out of your routine, you get out of the mental patterns to which you’ve become accustomed, and in doing so you give yourself a chance to see things from a new perspective. This is the real reason traveling is important… not a Facebook status update designed to impress one’s “friends.”
In my business as a personal stylist, I’ve learned that clothing can create a similar experience. When a person dresses in a particular style, the dynamic of interactions with others is asserted. Putting the two together—travel and style—lends itself to an adventurous way to walk off the plane and into a new experience.
A lot people dress pretty badly when they travel these days for the sake of comfort, but if you’re the type of guy who’s not one to compromise and whose comfort zone excludes looking like a slob, I’ve explored some options for traveling inspired by the seersucker suit.
No one will ever go wrong in a nice fitting suit. If your trip involves business or any activity where some formality is involved, the plane can land and you can hit the ground running—especially in seersucker. Many people are familiar with the story of John Haspel, who after coming across the fabric in India had a suit made of it. He immersed himself in the ocean while wearing the suit, then drip-dried before attending a party to prove how easy to care for the fabric is. The Haspel label remains loyal to the material to this day as it updates the cuts.
In 2008, when the SLS Hotel had just opened in LA, I traveled down there with a group of friends for a stay in Philippe Starck’s stylish masterpiece. We were having lunch at The Ivy and were seated next to a group of men all wearing seersucker suits and drinking lemonade. The scene was striking, genteel and alluring. I had to ask them what the story was and they explained that they were all in business together and had a regular date in LA every year to eat lunch together in their seersucker suits. Even though I had enviable plans to party in Beverly Hills and enjoy the celebrity-watching at the hotel, what I really wanted to do was hang out with these guys. They had some kind of gravitas that pulled me in, yet their party was not “crashable.” Those suits in force charmed me to no end.
A fantastic option for this summer is J Crew’s Ludlow suit, made from seersucker woven in Japan from Japanese cotton. The two-button closure gives it ease for buttoning and unbuttoning when transitioning from sitting to standing, with a double vent.
Theory’s seersucker jacket offering is on super sale right now for just $57.00. Merchandised with stretch jeans and grey v-neck teeshirt, it’s apparent how easily styled this item is if you should choose a less formal route than a full suit.
Ralph Lauren’s Polo seersucker shorts have also gone on sale for $54.99. The modern version of this classic sports a flat front with angled pockets and 9.5″ inseam with room in the thigh and seat. The shorts are machine washable cotton for easy care and can be worn with button up shirt, polo or t-shirt, depending on how dressed-up or -down you need to be.
If you want the seersucker vibe with a less literal interpretation, this James Perse linen cotton jacket and pant in grey are cool, sexy and made to do double-duty while traveling. The jacket is different from J Crew’s Ludlow in many ways, starting with Italian cotton fabric and side pockets and single vent, but it still has a two button closure at front-center and side panels for ease of movement. The pants are more casual than the first offering, with the drawstring and slouchy cut.