The Australian - Wish Magazine - - Arts - IL­LUS­TRA­TION BEN SAN­DERS

Pack­ing light is an art form and one that, un­til re­cently, I have failed to mas­ter. Last year I made10 over­seas trips and for nine of those I packed a suit­case — plu­ral in some in­stances — that made full use of the bag­gage al­lowance in­cluded with my ticket. I will never be one of those people who checks in for an in­ter­na­tional flight with noth­ing but hand lug­gage, and I don’t want to be. If you take only hand lug­gage then you need to take a size­able amount of it and I find it te­dious roam­ing through air­ports and get­ting up and down stairs and es­ca­la­tors with a trol­ley case and an overnight bag. I would rather check in a suit­case and carry the bare min­i­mum with me.

How­ever, for my fi­nal trip last year — to Hong Kong to pro­duce this is­sue — I de­cided that I’d had enough of pack­ing for ev­ery even­tu­al­ity and then some. I wanted to travel with the min­i­mum amount of lug­gage. I was faced with a four-night trip to Hong Kong with back-to-back meet­ings, in­ter­views and din­ners to at­tend. I knew I would need a suit and tie for most of those, so I won­dered if I could wear the same suit for the en­tire trip. It was an ex­er­cise in re­duc­tion rather than elim­i­na­tion but also about tak­ing the fuss out of what to wear on the road. The good news is, it can be done. The bad news: it takes a lot of plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion — stuff­ing a suit­case with your en­tire wardrobe is cer­tainly quicker. THE PER­FECT SUIT. If you’re go­ing to wear the same suit for a few days run­ning it needs to be up to the job. The idea for my trav­el­ling light ex­per­i­ment was sparked by the launch of Burberry’s Travel Tai­lor­ing collection of men’s suits. As the name im­plies, the suits have been de­signed for people who travel a lot. They are made in a light­weight wool fab­ric de­signed specif­i­cally to al­low for free­dom of move­ment, which means that you can wear the suit on the plane if you want and still feel com­fort­able. Many people make the mis­take of think­ing that if you’re go­ing to a warm cli­mate you need a cot­ton or linen-blend suit. Those fabrics, how­ever, have al­most no nat­u­ral stretch, crush eas­ily and you can only wear them once or twice be­fore they need to be brought back to life through pro­fes­sional press­ing.

Burberry’s travel suit collection is made from 100 per cent merino wool cloth de­vel­oped in Biella in north­ern Italy, a district that has been pro­duc­ing wool and silk fabrics for cen­turies. The Bri­tish fash­ion com­pany calls it “mem­ory fab­ric”, which means it has nat­u­ral stretch (the yarn is wo­ven on an over­sized loom to pro­duce in­creased stretch) and won’t lose its shape if crushed or crum­pled.

The right fab­ric is only part of what you need. If you’ve ever picked apart a suit jacket, you’ll no­tice that its con­struc­tion is al­most as com­pli­cated as the en­gine of a car. The con­struc­tion of Burberry’s Travel Tai­lor­ing has been pared back and has fewer in­ter­nal com­po­nents. In par­tic­u­lar, the shoul­ders and the chest have no wadding, just a light­weight horse­hair can­vas. Why is this im­por­tant? First, the more com­po­nents in a suit con­struc­tion, the more things there are to get crushed and forced out of shape and, sec­ond, the more “stuff” around the chest and shoul­ders of the jacket, the more re­stric­tive it is for the wearer and the more the suit weighs.

Get­ting creases out of trousers or the body of a jacket is one thing but get­ting them out of the shoul­ders — the most com­pli­cated com­po­nent of a suit — is quite an­other; once the pad­ding in the shoul­der is dam­aged, no amount of press­ing will bring it back into shape. The re­moval of most of the pad­ding in the shoul­ders of Burberry’s Travel Tai­lor­ing means the jacket has a softer, more rounded ap­pear­ance on the shoul­ders. Sim­pli­fy­ing the shoul­der con­struc­tion also makes it eas­ier to pack. The suit has been de­signed to be folded, squashed and crum­pled and then bounce back into shape with rel­a­tive ease. WHAT TO WEAR IT WITH. The Burberry Travel Tai­lor­ing collection comes in a rel­a­tively small pal­ette of colours to make choos­ing what to wear it with eas­ier. If you stick with navy, mid grey or dark grey, there is al­most no shirt or tie you can’t wear with it. ( I opted for a midgrey Prince of Wales check.) I al­ways pack enough shirts to get through the trip with­out hav­ing to laun­der them (I avoid ho­tel laun­dries as much as pos­si­ble be­cause of the cost and the dam­age they can wreak on your clothes).

Pack an as­sort­ment of plain white, light blue or blue check or striped shirts and a dif­fer­ent tie for ev­ery day. Ties take up lit­tle room in a suit­case and if you keep them sim­ple and wear plain coloured shirts, then you don’t have to put too much thought into what you wear each day. HOW TO PACK. Don’t bother with a suit bag. They’re cum­ber­some and, as they have to be car­ried, can be mur­der on your back when stuffed full. There is of­ten limited space in the cabin of an air­craft to hang them up so they fre­quently end up in the cargo hold or the over­head locker, which de­feats their pur­pose. Re­gard­less, they are one of the great myths of travel. As they are soft, your clothes get crushed any­way and in my ex­pe­ri­ence do more dam­age to a suit jacket than fold­ing it care­fully in a suit­case. Fold your jacket in half ver­ti­cally (along the seam that runs up the mid­dle of the back) and then fold it in half again. Fold the trousers just once if you can, or in thirds if not.

Un­pack as soon as you get there. I hate un­pack­ing, but no mat­ter how tired I am I will at least take out the items that need hang­ing and put them in the wardrobe. Just hang­ing a suit jacket up overnight can be enough to get the pack­ing creases out of it. For the trousers, use one of the clip hang­ers in the wardrobe that are meant for women’s skirts. Clip the trousers at the cuffs and hang them up (upside down). Depend­ing on the fab­ric, the weight of the trousers can be enough to pull the pack­ing creases out overnight. IRON BE­FORE YOU PACK. Have your shirts ironed and folded be­fore you pack them. Yes, they will get crushed but if you ar­rive at a ho­tel with no iron, or don’t have time to send your shirts to the laun­dry be­fore your first ap­point­ment, you will have a shirt that was re­cently ironed and just has a few pack­ing creases. And if there is an iron in your room, you can give it a quick once-over and you’re good to go.

Use the ho­tel iron with cau­tion. The first thing I do when I check into a ho­tel is ask for an iron and iron­ing board. More of­ten than not, ho­tel irons are rubbish. They’re cheap, they’re never cleaned and they of­ten spit wa­ter and dirt at your clothes rather than a shot of clean steam. No mat­ter how good the iron is, al­ways use a hand­ker­chief (or pil­low­case) be­tween your trousers and the iron so you don’t get a nasty sheen on the fab­ric. Test the iron on an in­con­spic­u­ous part of your shirt be­fore you iron it. THE FI­NAL ANAL­Y­SIS. I travel with a small por­ta­ble clothes steamer, which is ex­cel­lent for get­ting a jacket back into ship shape. I could have left it at home on this trip as I never used it. Just hang­ing up the Burberry travel suit was enough to get it back into ship shape. Hong Kong is known for its tailors and many busi­ness­men buy a suit when on a work trip. On day three of our Hong Kong ad­ven­ture I was catch­ing the Star Ferry across the har­bour to a meet­ing when I was stopped by a well-dressed busi­ness­man who asked me where I had my suit made. I took it as proof the travel tai­lor­ing con­cept works, as surely no one would com­pli­ment some­one on a crushed suit?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.