Until 9th March I’ll be travelling along America’s eastern seaboard with our Henry Poole trunk shows, visiting Washington, Boston, New York, Jupiter Island and Palm Beach. As I packed for my relentless fortnight away, I thought about Jack Nicholson’s remark, ‘nice packing’ in As Good as It Gets and the scene in which he methodically lays out the contents of his wardrobe on his bed before packing. While I’m not yet quite as OCD about packing as that yet, I’ve been packing for trunk shows across the USA and Japan for 24 years so I’ve inevitably picked up some tactics along the way. Here are my top five rules that will allow a gentleman to emerge elegantly turned out with minimum effort.
Rule One : Choose your cloth
Pack suits that don’t need pressing after travel – just hang them in a wardrobe on arrival. Fine yarns with high twisting spinning, like George Harrison’s Spring Ram, Fox Bros, Air or Escorial 4 ply twist, allow fabric to bounce back once hung. So if you’re a frequent traveller, consult us on the best fabric when ordering your next Henry Poole suit.
Rule Two: Be prepared
Make sure you think about climate, day and evening events you’ll have to go and whether you’re expected to be casual or elegant. For a short trip, the basics I would recommend are a plain grey suit and blue sport coat as the grey suit trousers can double up as casual trousers.
Rule Three: The right suitcase
A suitcase with a hard shell is essential but it must be light and mobile with four solid large wheels to negotiate kerbs and escalators. Many of my clients recommend Rimowa for resilience though Samsonite Air and Delsey Aero have never failed me. Suitcases must have zip-up dividers, because even if you’re packing light, make sure you pack one side of the case tightly then zip it up. If you give your clothes too much space, you might as well be putting your clothes into a tumble drier.
Rule Four: Divide and Conquer
I recommend putting suits and jackets one side with shoes interlocked, preferably in a laundry bag, placed round the bottom corners. Everything else goes in the other side. I am not one to grab an iron first thing in the morning (though admire those that do) so I make sure my shirts are pre-folded and then tightly packed. Roll ties to keep the press and fold your socks into balls as they are excellent for keeping other items in place and even act as shoe trees. The same goes for briefs.
Rule Five: The right sponge bag
Finally comes your toiletries bag. Find one with compartments so you can separate your toothbrush from your clippers to prevent endless rummaging. When packing it, place centrally and back it with socks. This ensures maximum shock absorption and in my case protects my cherished 100ml Acqua di Parma, my scent since a teenager, from smashing and overwhelming my customers for days.
Travel warriors – go safely and pack wisely.