Esquire fashion director NICK SULLIVAN has some advice on what to wear when you’re SOMEWHERE else
Travel has always been fashion inspiration for me, starting with my teenage holidays in the South of France. Was it the tasty food, the chic vacationers, or the endemic topless sunbathing that drew me most to that immortal coast? I wonder. Whatever the cause, it put the lust in my wanderlust and convinced me that travel should broaden my wardrobe as much as my mind.
I call it the Abroad-robe. You see it in the traditional passeggiata in Italy, where the population peacocks publicly every evening. The sense of rising collectively to the occasion is palpable. It’s not just an Italian thing, either. It’s all over the Mediterranean. I don’t know the Albanian word for passeggiata, but I bet they have one.
Rising to the occasion abroad, however, is something at which Americans (and we Brits) historically do not shine. When we travel, we either adopt a humdrum, global preppy look—polo shirt, chinos, sneakers—or, even
worse, we wear the clothes we’d normally wear on the sofa. Ugly Americans indeed. We can do better. I don’t want to dress like a Frenchman or a Spaniard, but patriotism demands I raise my game on foreign soil.
Fortunately, fashion is in an escapist mood. Pattern is everywhere, in ethnic prints, stylized camo, and nautical stripes. Bright, bright colors are on the rise: There are saturated spice tones, electric yellows, and deep Neapolitan blues. And pattern and color really define the Abroad-robe. If you won’t wear it at home, you can always take it with you. Kean Etro’s ikatprint linen pants (left) from his current collection are so badass, I’d book two weeks in Trancoso just so I could wear them. I wouldn’t wear a lightcolored suit to work, but look at Dries Van Noten’s double-breasted version or the Lost Explorer’s threepiece in dusty pink (right). I’d wear either of them without batting a lash in Naples, Italy (but not in Naples, Florida, where I would feel like Don Johnson). The trick is to dress for the destination.
Summer clothes give you license to cut loose wherever you may end up, a deliberate vacation from your regular mind-set. You may not look like a local, but you can damn well try. For all they know, a blushcolored blazer could be your trademark.
T-shirt, trousers, and sandals by Etro; braided bracelet and Tiger’s Eye bracelet by Esquire Men’s Jewelry. LOCAL COLOR BRIGHT, MULTICOLORED LINEN PANTS LIKE THESE WON’T FLY IN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE— BUT THEY’RE A PERFECT FIT FOR THE TROPICS.
WHEN IN NAPLES IT TAKES A LOT OF SWAGGER TO PULL OFF A CREAM-COLORED DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT—UNLESS YOU’RE IN THE CITY THAT PRACTICALLY INVENTED IT. Top: Jacket and trousers by Dries Van Noten; shirt by Nautica. Right: Jacket and trousers by the Lost Explorer; shoes by O’Keeffe.
ROSé SEASON A PINK BLAZER IS ANOTHER MEDITERRANEANINSPIRED MOVE (OR JUST TRY IT AT A GARDEN PARTY—NOT ALL FOREIGN PLACES ARE OVERSEAS).