Needful Things in My Duffel Bag for Summer Travel

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I am moving later this summer, and while I am sending most of my things ahead of me, I will stay behind in my empty apartment with just enough clothing to last be half a week or so while I clear up my affairs.

Everything will fit into my Filson Duffel bag. This is the gold standard for duffel bags. Steven Alan carries a washed version, but I say that that is for weenies. If you are a guy who actually uses his Filson, you don’t need someone predistressing your bag. You’ll buy that thing in perfect condition, because it will get banged up in no time. And a lifetime warranty doesn’t cover normal usage.

Even though it will be August, a jacket is always a good thing to carry. Airports and airplanes and public buildings can be cool, and you never know if your cheap flight will have a lay over in Fairbanks, Alaska. Mine is a selvedge “pump” jacket by Rag &Bone. It has extremely sharp, military shoulders, a trim fit hitting just at the beltline, and a durable material with signature snap buttoned cargo pockets for carrying passports in.

I always carry an extra change of jeans in my duffel, because no pants equals bad. My everyday wear jeans are by Kicking Mule Workshop, which win the award for “most improved” jeans. When they first came out, the jeans were decent quality and good denim: a solid buy. However, for the fall/winter season of 2006, the company switched to Japanese manufacture (Japanese denim was already being used) and while the new models are $50 more expensive, they are worth that and more. I like the slim but not too skinny 1980 model (see Streetwear and Denim section at www.styleforum.net for extensive discussion of all things denim,) and will carry the 5EP bootcut raw jean as my alternate pair. 5EP uses amazing proprietary denim with a unique indigo blend that fades to give a slight purple, then green, tint, as it is washed, and is probably the best America has to offer (although the jeans are actually made in Japan.)

Since it’s going to be hot, and I will be spending much of my time packing and carting boxes, I will wear tees and henleys the entire time. One of my current favorite henleys is by Yoko Devereaux. The grey color goes with everything, can be layered or worn alone, and the baby rib material it is made of is sturdy and keeps its shape, important for travel (available from Brett and Karen, good people, at www.dresscodesatl.com). Other than that, most of my tees are actually from a now defunct company, Jay Allen, that I was involved in. Rest in Peace. I think that it is good to keep old tee shirts, as long as they fit well. I find that I look the best when I am in my most comfortable gear, and old tees definitely qualify.

Finally, because summer clothing is pretty boring compared to winter, I always have a few cool belts on hand, as well as the leather barbell bracelet by Jutta Neumann given to me by my wife, to give my gear some snap. I think that I have about a dozen belts for jeans, but I will keep my Engineered Garments military quick release belt which was a special design I commissioned for Styleforum, and a dust gray O-ring belt I bought from Alan Bilzerian. If you go to one store in Boston, it is his, not Louis down the street. His selections of Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Yamamoto, Darkshdw, and his own line, among other things, is better than an entire floor at Louis. What brings me into the store time and again, however, are the awesome accessories.


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Fok-Yan Leung can be found discussing men’s style at Styleforum.net.