Packing for travel: My Japan capsule wardrobe

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I thought it would be interesting to do a post on what clothing I packed for my recent Japan trip. People always seem to like these capsule pieces, although this trip was particularly challenging for a couple of reasons. 

First, I needed a full range of clothing from smart to casual. I would be meeting tailors and vintage buyers, covering bespoke shoes and leather jackets. Dressing in a similar way wouldn’t be absolutely necessary, but I find it gives the right impression. 

Second, I would probably be buying quite a lot of clothing there, so I wanted to take the minimum with me. Everything had to work with everything else - to give the maximum number of outfits with the smallest volume of clothes. 

Below is what I packed, and above and below are some of the resulting outfits. 

The first thing I start with, when putting together a travel capsule, is jackets and trousers - ideally I want all of them to work together, but cover a range of situations. 

For jackets/knits I went with:

  • My J.Mueser wool/silk/linen herringbone jacket, because it’s the only summer jacket I have that works really well with both tailored trousers and jeans. 
  • A vintage Jungle Jacket, because it is more casual but also works with jeans and just about with smarter trousers. It’s also great for travel with all those pockets.
  • A navy crewneck from Colhay’s. This could function as outerwear if needed, just going to dinner on our own for example, and the navy would go with everything, but it could also be layered.

Then on the bottom:

  • Light-grey high-twist wool trousers, as they’re nice and summery, good for travel, and smart without being quite as business-y as mid-grey.
  • Vintage blue Levi’s as it would be the most casual option but still go with both the jackets.
  • White jeans as white is so versatile, and given it was going to be warm and usually sunny, they’d pretty much always be appropriate.

Next was the shirts and T-shirts. Again, everything ideally to go with everything, but by picking jackets and trousers that were really versatile, it meant most shirt colours would work. I went with:

  • Lightweight white-cotton button-down
  • Pink PS Oxford
  • Vintage light-blue chambray

The only combination that wouldn’t be great, at least on its own, would be the white shirt with white jeans. But a belt separating them would help, and it would be OK with the knit or jungle jacket over the top. 

Texturally, these were also picked so they worked with both jeans and the smarter high-twist wool trousers. I also packed a white and grey T-shirt - both to wear on their own under the jungle jacket, and as base layers under a shirt or knit.

Last major category: shoes. Now the issue I find with shoes is that when you’re travelling, a pair might start to give you pain one day for no apparent reason, or get soaked through in unexpected rain, or for some other reason not be wearable the next day. 

So in some ways they have to be most versatile of all, with one pair easy to swap in for another in the next day’s outfit, without any issues. 

This means these all pretty much had to be loafers, and in versatile materials like suede and cordovan. Still, the three I picked are sufficiently versatile that they still presented a range of options:

And finally, some bits around the edges:

  • Two hats, a PS watch cap in navy and my Cal cap, for sun and for warmth
  • Three scarves, because they weigh nothing and add a little interest/decoration as well as warmth. A PS Arran scarf in navy, an old blue cotton bandana, and a long, thin Hermes silk
  • My Connolly beige cardigan, as it could be layered under either jacket and actually looks good with both a shirt and T-shirt. I also ended up putting on a grey Colhay's crewneck when I left for the airport in London, because it was colder than I expected.
  • Two watches, one smart and one casual, my Tank and my GMT
  • Two pairs of sunglasses, a belt, a couple of badges

Luggage wise, I use a big Rimowa and take a canvas tote bag (Ichizawa-Hanpu, recently restocked at Trunk) as the latter is so light and packs away if not needed. 

I also needed to take my Yohei Fukuda oxford shoes so that Yohei could see the fit in person (he’d never seen them on me) ahead of maybe ordering a second pair. As you can probably imagine, it killed me that these were extra and basically worked with no outfits… Oh well. 

The packing was made immeasurably easier by the weather, which was warm and promised almost no rain. No need for hats or coats. 

And what did I get wrong? I think the only thing was not bringing my Doek canvas shoes, as a bit of a break from loafers. It’s just like going to Pitti in the winter: I never pack a big shawl knit, but I always want to put something like that on in the evening, after nothing but tailoring.

Any questions on any of the clothes or outfits, do shout. 

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Lindsay McKee

Always, always look forward to these ‘capsule’ Articles which are so important and informative. All of the capsule series have helped me with clothing choices and in many other ways.
Thanks again Simon.

P.A.

To give a bit more contexte, how many days did the trip last in total ?
How did you manage with so little tops ? Did you wash a few Tshirts while you were there ?

Malcolm

Hotel wash or hand wash?

Ian Skelly

Hi just with you mentioning taking a couple of colhays crewnecks , do you have any idea when your navy merino jumpers will be back in (small /medium?) thanks

Peter

Useful! What was your ensemble for the airport itself?

AZ

With the Levi’s?

Philip

Hi Simon. Do you mean the Alden LHS loafers? Or the full strap? Could you please elaborate a little bit on the comfort of the three different loafers? I am considering all three, but recall that you did not find the full strap loafers very comfortable in the beginning. Did you stretch them? Many thanks in advance!

Lindsay McKee

So those Ascot 2-ply trousers are lighter obviously than the Ascot 4-ply which I’m considering for Summer, albeit a tad heavier. Would a 4-ply in grey work OK for your trip as well.
The reason that I’m asking is the weight difference between 2 & 4-ply. I have swatches of grey in the 4-ply.
Do you remember the swatch No. for the light grey trousers shown above?
Very nice trousers indeed.
Thanks
Lindsay

Lindsay McKee

Many thanks

David

Did you travel in Economy? If so, how did you get comfy?

Dan

Simon, I thought you were a high roller at this stage. I could not imagine flying to Japan in economy.

Neil

Which neck pillow do you recommend Simon? And of course in which fabric – hah!

Alan

Are there sample looks of how the jungle jacket works with the grey tailored trousers? My feeling is they are too far apart on the smart / casual scale.. but I might be wrong of course.

Alan

Makes perfect sense, thank you.

AKG

Hi Simon.

Great capsule collection and ‘nice’ to hear that even for a menswear expert as you and with the range of clothes you have, you can also get something ‘wrong’ in your packing. ? I thought it is only me, who tends to do that.

I wonder where the white jeans are from.

Cheers
AKG

James

Your Insta says white Levi’s Lot 1 ?

Peter Hall

I thought I could travel light for business trips!
Not knowing anything about the weather patterns in Japan,this might not be relevant ,but,did you not consider a shower proof outer? I see you mentioned the weather was warm.
I tend to travel in a ventile harrington (plus it’s a good pillow)).

Aaron

I love my Harrington for travel, it sits quite well in terms of versatility. Is yours from Private White or another place?

Peter Hall

Aaron. Yes,PWVC,but it is the first version in brown.

Peter Hall

Actually ,I wear it so rarely now-it’s certainly nearer shabby than smart, I’m thinking of replacing it in my business capsule with a knitted blazer/heavier cardigan .

Robin

Love the capsule guide always gives me ideas.
Couple of questions
How do you pack all you electronics ? chargers , plugs , iPads etc . I always find these a bugbear . Even backpacking around Europe this were often the most difficult things to efficiently pack .Using Rimowa how do you stomach having such valuable luggage thrown around by baggage handlers !?

Andreas

While I’d in theory would like to travel in such style, I’d be slightly scared to actually do so.

There is substantial value in the clothing and luggage which could get lost. Not very common, but does happen. Replacement value would be somewhere above 6k£. My compromise solution is to bring the most valuable apparel into the cabin and check-in less valuable or easily replacable things.

Regarding aluminium Rimowas, I had one for a few years. No matter how much one buys into the ”looks better beaten up”, they are essentially beer cans and mine got a hole punctured through the metal close to a corner. Ok, it was a ”classic” with sharper corners so perhaps more prone to such damage, but the aluminium Rimowas are not indestructible and they would not repair it. It did have very nice wheels though. Now with the ”LVMH luxury tax” and essentially doubled price, it will be replaced with something else. Which will also have the benefit of being less of target when going to less secure places than Japan.

David

Briggs and Riley, hands down. Certainly wins no prizes on the “looks” challenge, but their bags are SO sturdy and bombproof, which in my view is what a road warrior really needs above anything.

Andreas

It is true that the aluminium Rimowas look good. But looking closer the attention to detail really should be better for the price. For example, my „classic“ models had brown leather handles, apart from the telescopic handle made entirely of brown plastic to simulate leather. The original ones had locking parts which at a distance looked like aluminium, but looking closer they were made of plastic in a silver colour. Hopefully they have changed that after having being turned into luxury items by LVMH.

I also like that the aluminium luggage is rigid since I occasionally pack electronics I’d prefer not to be squeezed and/or some wine bottles. A bit risky perhaps – I would not mix red wine and valuable apparel – but when „expendable“ holiday clothing is in the checked-in luggage, I have packed a few wine bottles or a bottle of gin. The only time a bottle broke was when I did not provide a cushioning layer between each bottle. But it was white wine and machine washable clothing so no real harm done.

It seems „my perfect luggage“ does not exist. Most of it is soft or polycarbonate with zippers, which certainly can be durable, but I‘d like something rigid (for the wine). Preferably not being over 600£ and/or ridiculously heavy. While not as stylish as an aluminium Rimowa, I am probably gonna go for a Victorinox Lexicon framed.

Laurent

Simon,

Am quite satisfied with my Away polycarbonate luggage and their Aluminium does not look too bad either. Unfortunately they stopped shipping to the EU but there’s a shop in Covent Garden if I’m not mistaken.

Best, Laurent

Dario

While I could never bring myself to shell out more than a thousand euros for a carry on (I was quickly checking the prices here in Denmark), I hear that they are designed to withstand this mistreatment by baggage handlers.
That being said, my laptop and my second phone are in the laptop’s briefcase, which may go inside or outside my carry on bag (which is a leather suit bag that can be folded onto a weekender bag), and the chargers for those are somewhere inside the bag as well.
For longer trips I also bring my shaving/trimming machine and my portable steamer, but those usually go in the checked in luggage. I put them first, in the bottom, as I find they do fit well between the handle’s tubes.

T.

Do the Alden Cordovan hurt your feet after a day of walking? Style-wise it might work great, but I am always a bit hesitant bringing cordovan shoes for travelling.

Il Pennacchio

I share your hesitation about cordovan shoes, but find that their performance in heavy rain makes up for it.

Stephen

Hi Simon,
Thanks for this article. As always I find the capsule (travel, seasonal or everyday) articles interesting and useful. I’m so envious of that herringbone jacket every respect and it does look good on you.
A styling question : I recently purchased a tropical jacket for same reasons as yourself (inspired by an article on it a while back) , I tend to wear with a crew neck T-shirt, you mention with a button down. What are your views on wearing casually with a polo shirt or OCBD?
Thanks again.

Stephen

Sorry I meant the tropical jungle jacket in green.

Stephen

Thank you.

Dan

Interesting that u brought three pairs of penny loafers, would tassel loafers be not as versatile? Or a pair of derbies/ chukkas. curious about your thought process

CK

Thanks for the insight, Simon, find these really helpful. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ll guess you spent 70% of your time in the more casual outfits? 80? I can clearly see how well everything works together regardless.

Side note – really want to get a Jungle jacket this year, much as I’d like to get my hands on a vintage, that takes time/investment and I’d need to travel to find the right one. Leaning towards the B Rickson one from Clutch, I remember you modelling it actually if I’m not mistaken? Always enjoy your styling work for them. Apologies for the slight digression!

CK

Nice, actually I should have known from your Instagram updates it seemed pretty balanced.

Ah man, I’m in two minds now, on the one hand I’m glad I raised the point because now you have me thinking, on the other – you have me already leaning towards the McCoy’s option… twice the price however, as with all things McCoy’s, never a penny wasted.

Given your depth of knowledge of many things McCoy’s and their (extensive) catalog, any comments about their version? Think they have a recently updated one if I’m not mistaken?

CK

Thanks, Simon. I must check that, it’s down to either vintage or McCoy’s for me I think.

Thanks for the pointers gentlemen, much appreciated.

Stephen

I’ve tried one and found one needs to go up a size to, in my opinion, for a more ‘vintage’ fit. If for example you compare the measurements to the more expensive Real McCoys version you’ll find the BR one fits a whole size smaller. Better still if you are in London try one on in Clutch Cafe.

Darren

I have the Real McCoys one which I like very much

Stephen

Same here. They are expensive but they feel better on. Same with the other superb military style M-65 and 1951 jackets I have purchased from them.
Shame their London shop recently closed, however I have found the service from online store to be excellent.

Brendan

Hello Stephen, is there a noticeable difference in the weight between the RMC M65 and Jungle Jacket? I’m looking for a “warm weather” equivalent of the M65 and would want the JJ to be noticeably lighter and cooler.

NickD

Worth trying the BR on, I wouldn’t call mine A line, and the measurements for mine at least are different to those online. I sized up from my BR M65 and with the waist buttons it has a nice bit of shape.

John Motzi

Nice article! What size suitcase was required for all of this?

H

Hi Simon, since the Rimowa size L was half full only, at what stage would you consider only hand luggage? Just got back from a 9-day trip in Europe with only my Rimowa hand luggage (alas the larger hand luggage size), all items counted, including 2-3 suits, plenty of shirts, some EG loafers etc. I even prefer hand luggage for 2-3 weeks, with a hotel washing at once. The freedom of traveling in hand luggage, especially in airports and with multiple stops, is priceless. You only need a good hotel iron, which is like jetlag detox and fine suit material (prefer 140-160s) that doesn’t really wrinkle or a little shower steam helps otherwise. I have my particular way of packing, that maximizes all corners and is a soft way of compressed packing. On top of the Rimowa, a leather bag, which includes my leather laptop bag and all other essential items. Voila.

Il Pennacchio

There’s another reason to pack loafers for travel to Japan (and other parts of Asia): they’re easy to slip off when visiting spaces where shoes aren’t allowed. Repeatedly tying and untying Oxfords or lace-up boots when going in and out of doors gets old real fast. Also, airport security.

David

I’m really enjoying your capsule collection articles, so another vote for them especially when travel related.
I was with you on all the packing advice until you got to the 2 high end watches. Japan is an incredibly safe place to visit so little worry about security, but isn’t it still a little excessive to take 2 watches?

Mateusz

Really good exercise limiting yourself this much! Taking just one tailored jacket makes it very realistic for me – something your earlier travel capsules lacked, either having no tailoring, or several pieces. I still have a thing against stuffing a jacket in a suitcase, so will always wear it on the trip, that limits me to one.

Apologies if you talked about it somewhere already, but I’m always unsure about jeans in the summer. Esthetically, I guess white or light-wash indigo works well, but how about overheating? What makes them work for you, is it the leg wider than high-street standard, or something else? I imagine British summer and jeans can mix, but wouldn’t Japan be less forgiving?

Noel

Hi Simon, I very much appreciate these practical articles. For context, what was that temperature range?

Jim

I always want to know what you bought most of all. And those that you were with. A run down of what you and Alex bought, where, why and the experience of doing so would be great. I know it must seem tempting to spread these things out so as to get the maximum amount of content out of them but I’d love to see it in one article.

Jim

Sure thing, for the record I’d be just as interested to know what Alex was buying and why. Nice to have a different perspective

Zubair Abu Bakr

Hi Simon: How do you pack your other watch- do you have a special case? I assume you wear one- though have to take it off for security which is always a concern for me. Thanks

Dario

Is there any reason to do this? I have never given it any thought, I just put my watch on the same tray as my laptop, wallet, and phones.

Dario

Yes that’s true, I’m always worried about that, also with the laptop. I try at least for that one to be the last tray (I use two more, one for the bag and one for the jacket), so it takes just a little longer to pop out on the other side of the scanner.

SDF

I’ve never taken my watch off, US or international. I let them check it on my wrist. The only issue I ever had was leaving Romania and they relented when I asked for a hand check.

Alex

Bennett Winch does fairly nice (albeit pricey) single watch rolls. The hexagonal shape means they don’t roll about as much, which is a nice added bit of practicality that most other watch rolls lack

Carl

I have a Ruc Tote from JPLC but rarely use the backpack option. How would you compare the tote that you have here with that one. Or the ones you have collaborated with Frank Clegg (that I also,own).

Adam

That Mueser jacket is lovely. Great case study I think on how cloth and styling are huge parts of the equation, alongside fit and make – one of my favourite jackets is an old Ralph Lauren tweed, certainly not as well made or fitted as some of my others, but so wearable!

David Lane

Simon,

Great as usual, I do have one question. I always find myself adding one last thing in my suitcase before I leave, and almost always, it goes unworn. Was there anything you didn’t wear, besides the shoes, that could have been left at home? Or something that you planned on wearing and didn’t as work as much as you anticipated?

Thank you,

-David

Tom

Simon, these capsule articles are always among my favorite on PS. Love the versatility of this one, and the palette you brought here. It reminds me a little of the Emilie Hawtin article too, which I also thought was great.

This high-twist trouser color seems like it works with a lot of your summer jackets – your Ferdinando Caraceni cotton, your Anderson & Sheppard orange, and your J.Mueser here. Do you find that it works with your navy hopsack jacket as well, or not as much so?

Lastly, a selfish question – I’m having family photos taken in Central Park this summer. It will be quite casual (so not jacketed) but also potentially hot outside. We want to stay neutral in tone, so I was thinking of wearing a white linen shirt, khaki chinos (smarter ones, rather than workwear ones, of the likes of Rubato), and mink suede pennys. But I was wondering, do you wear linen outside of beach holidays in this way? Or would you reach for a different look for this occasion?

Dan

Hi simon,
Lovely article and very useful.
In term of versatility, do you think that a white or ecru moleskin or linen/Cotton pant (depending the weather) is more versatile than a white or ecru jean?
I am thinking in terms of covering from tees to jackets. And going from casual to a more casual chic option. (Actually i dont like the combination between jackets and jeans, but that is very personal taste)
Thanks

Mark Angela

Don’t think I’ve ever seen ecru moleskin Simon.Does it exist?

Ronnie Pickering

Great article – useful and interesting. Presumably no exercise? When I travel for business (carry on only) I find the space taken up by shoes to be the biggest constraint. So would add trainers to your capsule and only have one pair of formal shoes plus sometimes a casual shoe. Plus running kit doubling as swim shorts.

RSH

Simon – great piece. Any reason you went for white jeans over smart chinos like your rubato ones? Do you think a touch more versatile?

David

Why do you think jeans are better with jackets than chinos? Personally I don’t see much of a difference and don’t like either.

David

I mean they’re absolutely fine on their own, but with a sport coat they really bring to mind the average middle-aged Joe trying to dress well, and especially the slim and low kind I’d say. Add adidas sneakers, an overly tight shirt, a cheap necklace and cloying Paco Rabanne cologne and there you have it.
What I have some trouble understanding is why white jeans would look better than white chinos like the ones from Rubato or Casatlantic (the flat-front model). Maybe the latter two are a bit wide, but jeans also come in wider cuts.
Similarly I think a linen overshirt looks better than that kind of military jungle jacket. But then I can understand how a sweater underneath the latter wouldn’t look as out of place as under the former… Perhaps that was your rationale too?

Mateusz

If I may differ, I frequently wear a brown summer jacket with my cream Casatlantic chinos – to me they avoid both the fuddy associations, I think because of the cut that makes them look like a deliberate choice, and the certain Italian type (that I still see way too often) in tight stretchy chinos and an equally tight, and short, jacket. Maybe colour palette helps avoid the associations, for me it’s cream trousers, brown jacket, and black, white or denim top – basically the cold capsule. I’d be more cautious of say navy jacket / beige chinos.

Julian

This is such a useful reference! Thank you, Simon.
i have been traveling to widely varied parts the last couple of months for both work (Geneva) and leisure (Taiwan, Cambodia, and right now, London), and have embraced trainers for days when I know I’ll be walking a lot. My laceless Nike Flyknits additionally get me through airport security with minimal hassle, and my white deerskin Archibalds suffice for ‘dressier walks’ when I pair them with a beige summer blazer. Like yourself though, I bring a pair of loafers for my suited work meetings.
May I ask if or why you didn’t get tempted to bring your white Common Projects or other similar sneakers?
Thanks again!

Stephan

Very informative article, Simon! I was wondering where the socks are from, they look quite lovely but I don’t think you mention your sock selection in the article.

A woman who loves to read about men's style

This is your most helpful packing list yet, containing as it does the fewest items. It covers a fairly wide range of dressiness requirements, too. Your packing lists and analyses of how well they served you will always have an avid reader in me. More importantly, they fill a gap in my knowledge. I’m good at helping other women create capsule wardrobes. Men’s clothes are still mostly a mystery to me.

The big shawl knit you wished you’d had during your winter Pitti trip–is there a less bulky version you could get that would make you feel the same way? Knits are compressible. With a compression stuff sack or compression packing cube, maybe you could fit it in next time. An example from my own life is the navy John Smedley merino wool Moana cardigan I recently bought. It fits into a 0.6L Sea to Summit stuff sack. The sack can be crammed into my almost-full purse. The sack is lightweight, adding little to my 8-pound (3.63 kg) purse. The sack I use is the pink and gray one in the three-sack set pictured here:

https://www.amazon.com/Sea-Summit-Travelling-Light-Stuff/dp/B00DNS9502/ref=pd_ci_mcx_mh_mcx_views_0?pd_rd_w=ML0Km&content-id=amzn1.sym.1bcf206d-941a-4dd9-9560-bdaa3c824953&pf_rd_p=1bcf206d-941a-4dd9-9560-bdaa3c824953&pf_rd_r=TN9VN94TPRFM6Y0CWA2A&pd_rd_wg=3qPtV&pd_rd_r=41ae0bcb-91ae-444d-9101-681c7309a61f&pd_rd_i=B00DNS9502

My cardigans are much smaller than yours. You would need something bigger than the 0.6L size. The smaller of the two Sea to Summit compression cubes on the below Container Store page might work.

https://www.containerstore.com/s/compression-cubes-set-of-2/d?q=compression%20packing%20cube&productId=11018681

If you wanted to compress your knits, t-shirts, socks, and underwear, you could use a 5-liter compression stuff sack. An example is on the below REI page:

https://www.rei.com/product/218734/sea-to-summit-ultra-sil-compression-sack

Your U.S. readers may be interested to know Container Store is having a 30% off storewide sale. REI is having a member sale, which gives 20% off one regular-price item and 20% off one sale item. REI membership is free.

No need to thank me for the packing organizer links. My John Smedley obsession, stemming entirely from your blog, has cost me a fair bit of money. The least I could do is return the favor. 🙂

Do you use stuff sacks or compression packing cubes when you travel?

A woman who loves to read about men's style

I agree a John Smedley item deserves gentler storage than being crammed into a stuff sack or compression packing cube. The cramming would only happen if it made the difference between having it with me when I traveled, or not. At home I store wool and cashmere items–including tights and scarves–in an acid-free, archival photo storage box. That box perches above but does not touch plexiglass trays holding silica dessicants, frequently dried by my computer’s exhaust fan, and cotton pads soaked with Juniperus Virginiana oil. The acid-free box and plexiglass tray live in an airtight, heavy-duty plastic tub. My John Smedley items only rough it when I do, during travel. 🙂

Joseph T.

Hi Simon,
Greetings from California!
Coincidentally, I also visited Japan for a one-month vacation from early April to early May. This was probably my 15th trip to Japan.
As in the past, I’ve always erred on bringing too much rather than too little in my trips to Japan, including this last trip. In my estimate, I’ve brought 25% more than I needed. The hardest decision to make usually is the shoes because they are heavier than regular clothes.
Like you, my predicament is to bring enough for all occasions, but not too much to have to lug heavy luggages around. I also need to allow lots of luggage space for the new clothes I purchase in Japan.
Luckily the weather in April in Tokyo was mild and I did not need to bring much heavy clothes. The Air BnB apartment I stayed at also has washer and dryer which came in very handy.
In terms of packing, the lesson I’ve learned is to bring less rather than more in the future. The primary reason is that if I really need anything I lack, I can always buy them at the stores in Japan, and there are so many of them to choose from and to fit your taste. Maybe this is unique to me personally, but it works for me.
Thank you for sharing your very helpful article. I’ll keep it for reference for my next trip. Also, I’ll share more about my vintage clothes shopping experience in Tokyo, including how and where I accidentally ran into Ethan Newton on the street at Omotosando (near Harajuku), Tokyo!

Rich

Hiya Simon,

A tenuous link but on the subject of Japanese made items is there any further progress on the grey melange tapered t-shirt? A question I suspect you’re often subject to currently.

I finally managed to get my hands on a white one which fits very well and naturally I’m seeking out other colours now.

Rich

Rich

That’s not a problem – good things come to those who wait.

Will it be possible to sign up to an email notification/waiting list so that I can grab one when they’re ready?

John

Hi Simon,
Thanks for this report too. It’s interesting to see how you combine praticality and sense of style! I realize that you didn’t take a single tie, not even a brown brown knit. Tell me, wouldn’t your off-white Rubato have worked within this context too? And which outfit did you wear while taking off from London?
John

Ben

I got back from a week in Tokyo and was interested to see our cases were similar, although mine was a little more bloated (an extra pair of cream cotton trousers, running kit, and overshirt). It was a little tricky packing for 18C and rain at the start of the trip and 33C and sun at the end. My cream jeans soon got very dirty.
I didn’t have much time for shopping but did visit the Real McCoy store, which was out of this world. I bought chinos on your recommendation as they were substantially less than if I had purchased in the UK. I dragged two colleagues with me who, although they aren’t particularly interetested in clothes, were so in love with the concept they also spent a fortune undertanding that the quality was worth paying for. We’ve conversed since and wished that we’d spent more.

Johannes

Quick correction:
The Navy crewneck you pictured here is from Rubato, not Colhay’s as mentioned in the article.

Best wishes and thank you for the insight!

Jack

Hi Simon, this is a very practical article.
I went to Florence a couple of weeks ago and brought two pairs of my most comfortable loafers, but I still suffered as they were not supportive enough for a long walk on the bumpy roads of Florence. Do you think no dress shoes are available with more support which could replace the look of the loafers? For example, your EG unlined Dover must be more comfortable as they have laces and a derby.

Many thanks,
Jack

jack

I see.

A completely different topic to my initial question, but don’t you think there is a huge gap in the fabric market for not offering cloths like your Jmueser jacket, which could go well with both jeans and smart trousers? I still cannot believe this. Have you ever considered producing one yourself?

Thomas A Powell

Very interesting and helpful article. And not a tie in sight! The world has changed in a few very short years.

Sidney

Are you a Veteran? If not, kindly stop wearing military clothing items. It is DISRESPECTFUL to those who served, like my husband, father, stepfather, great uncle, and step father in law.
I’m an Army brat of 22 years. SHOW SOME RESPECT TO THOSE WHO SERVED!

Peter Hall

That would be a topic I would be very interested in ,and,I’m sure , several of the military community who are active on the site.

Alex

Hello Simon. One thing that would be interesting to cover is whether you feel different wearing military clothing with the history attached, or whether it just becomes an item of clothing. Thanks for the great article, and the general breadth in subjects recently. Keeps it very interesting!

Ram Bo

Hi Simon, thanks to your coverage I am planning to buy more military clothing. I really like the look of the jungle jacket and plan to buy one for the summer. However, the versions I have found are quite short, more like a shirt, and do not cover my bottom. Do you think this is OK or what length do you recommend? Thank you very much.

m

This interaction reminds how I almost got assaulted past winter. I was in a bar wearing a leather jacket when a guy came up to me and asked if I owned a bike. Since I’ve seen this discussion happen before I instantly knew what he meant and asked him if he owned a horse – he was wearing jeans. He wanted a fight and was ready to take a swing but bartender managed to react fast and somehow diffuse the situation.
Afterwards that bartender told me that the guy was a biker who took offence at me for wearing a leather jacket with smart outfit like creased trousers and oxfords. I guess in his mind I was somehow appropriating his culture.

Andreas C.

I’d personally draw the line to rank insignia, formation signs, decorations etc. and remove them if still present on a surplus item. Since the jungle jacket has not been used as actual military equipment in decades and innumerable civilian field and travel jackets have been based on the pattern, I don’t think one in a non-camouflage cloth stands out or necessarily even registers as military surplus in my eyes. The same applies to e.g. the M51 parka.

For those looking for one, the Japanese brand Fujito makes a nice “non-repro” (in the sense that it doesn’t to my understanding aim to be a faithful reproduction of a particular model) interpretation of a jungle jacket, which e.g. Trunk had available at one point.

Jon

And no fisherman’s jumpers unless you fish for a living, no diving watches unless you dive, no moonwatch unless you’re an astronaut, no Canada Goose jacket unless you live somewhere it gets below -15…

Peter Hall

I think the cultural adoption of military clothing is worth discussion (with our usual good manners and varied opinions) . Off the top of my head, chinos,desert boots, bomber jackets, trench coats ,reefer jackets white tees have all entered the mainstream..
I bundle it all under casual Americana -although not necessarily of American origin.

The modern adoption of more, obviously, military clothing intrigues me.Is the wearer a member of an unspecified counter-culture, or nodding to a 60s counter-culture ,or possibly wearing it as an allegiance to a political group.

Personally,I never get too hung up over it-it’s workwear after all.

Markus

I would not agree to that. Most classical, good looking and practical items of menswear have their origin somewhere: So you can wear chinos, service jackets, trenchcoats, parkas, cargo pants, peacoats, bomber jackets, navy striped t-shirts and crewnecks without having a military background, as you can wear denim without being a cowboy, leather and wax jackets without being a motorcycle rider or polos without being a tennis player. Only when the connection is still too close, it might look somewhat out of place (but it is still everybody’s choice), e.g. Goretex hiking boots in London or maybe a cowboy hat in Vienna.

m

I recently unpacked my summer wardrobe and happened on a pair of snuff suede loafers I have had for few years now but have only worn a couple of times. After trying to visualise again what I’d wear with them and not coming up with any good trouser combinations I felt I had made a mistake with this purchase.

So when I saw that you included these in your luggage I thought, here we go, maybe I can get some inspiration, but theres no photograph of you wearing these in the article. I guess you mainly had denim pairing in mind, right? Thats the combo a lot of people are going for and even though I personally am not a huge fan of the look, I can see how it can work for others.

What would you wear with snuff suede, Simon? Blue denim and linen of various colours seem like good options. What colours of high twists and cottons would you pair though?

Nick

Hi Simon,
Just curious to know which sunglasses are those two pairs you showed?
Thank you in advance, glad you enjoyed Japan!

Will

Thank you for the article. Maybe a silly question but did you wear the same outfits during daytime and evening? I am asking because I notice the capsule is fairly light and I personally prefer to wear darker tones in the evening. And that makes me pack more clothes than I’d like.

(More generally, I’d be very interested in reading your thoughts on what to wear during the evening vs during the day. Maybe this could be an idea for an article?)

Torsten

Very interesting article, Simon – always enjoy (and learn from) your capsule collections – a never-ending quest to optimize!
For what it’s worth, here’s where I have gotten to so far – will add canvas sneakers on my next trip also and really like your sports jacket style …
Have recently acquired an Armoury Safari 2 in dark-brown (breathable) cotton. It works well as a substitute for a sports and a jungle jacket, goes well with jeans and (surprisingly) with high-twist light-to-mid grey and tan wool trousers. I avoid chinos because they wrinkle so quickly! As shirts, I usually take light-blue, -brown or grey striped Oxfords. They wrinkle less and work with jeans and more formal trousers. My go-to travel loafers are B&L (the leather-soled variety) – they are easy to wear but not designed for 10K-plus steps a day or cobblestoned pavements.
For fall/ winter, I have a similar ensemble (more sturdy loafers, a slightly heavier safari, one Smedley and one heavier sweater, plus a lightweight navy Herno jacket – kind of not great on top of a safari, i.e. ‘outerwear on outerwear, but when it’s cold enough to wear it, I close it anyway …). If I expect rain, I take a lightweight car coat or a tan non-wax Barbour. Scarfs are indeed great ways to add interest (and protect from the cold :)) without adding much weight.
I also carry one pair of shoe trees and an old army laundry bag (a leftover from my days in service, personally battle-tested :))

Tim J

Hi Simon,
Slightly off topic but I enjoy these capsule wardrobe articles given they make you focus in on what’s essential and what’s flexible. Parking to the side the weather in Japan for your visit, I was thinking your dark brown corduroy jacket from Sartoria Ciardi and your brown herringbone from Eduardo de Simone both Rick most of the boxes.
My question, in two parts, is whether you think those 2 x pieces would work well when you’re travelling, and whether you find one easier to mix and match than the other?
Cheers,
Tim

Tim J

Cheers Simon,
I’m in the process of thinking about having a jacket made so that actually helps as I tend to wear slightly darker colour (albeit navy, brown, green and grey up top) typically with mid to dark blue denim).
Tim

Tim J

PS: do you think the EdS would still work with a navy or charcoal t-shirt or knit, or getting too dark Simon?

Colin

Hi Simon….nice capsule; the only item that is perhaps missing is sneakers; I know you reference Doek but I was more thinking Common Projects style, but not in white leather, perhaps a natural or light coloured suede? Smart but comfortable for those long city walks, albeit I realise your 2 suede loafer options should also be comfortable if sized well

George

Hi Simon – just on this I wondered what your thoughts were on GATs instead? I’m not a sneakerhead, but I like to the slim waist on older trainers, and feel they’re more casual than say Common Projects, and versatile despite the multi-tonality

Anonymous

The quality of the Onisuka Mexico is obviously not there, but for a pair of beater casual sneakers do you recommend them? I was initially looking at the GATs – because they’re tonal, they seem more classic/timeless. Thoughts?

Kidster

What a great article Simon, and a fantastic capsule wardrobe bases full stop!

Love both the colour and texture combinations. Great to see loafers being the shoe choice, it’s the way my last few purchases have gone too

Lewis

Simon,

Noticed shoe trees in your capsule photo. Do you usually bring them on trips to protect your shoes or was this solely photo-related? I am asking because always tempted to but the added weight is not to be ignored…

Chris

Hello, Simon. Excellent article and terrific choices. May I trouble you as to ask about the light grey socks in the photo with the Piccadilly loafers? I haven’t found that light hue in searching around my usual sources (Mes Chausettes, A&S). Like you, I wear taupe quite a bit, but these look very nice and quite useful.

Viv

Hi Simon, How would you pack for a couple of weeks if you had only carry on? Context: On a trip I tend to fly to a few places. having been stung with lost bags I stick to carry on. There is usually a mix of business and pleasure. Mix of climates. I don’t mind laundry bills but look to minimise.

Jack

Hi Simon, would a black T-shirt work under the jungle jacket?

Many thanks,
Jack

Lachie M

This was obviously a work trip, but what would you do differently if you were on a family holiday to Japan? I’m planning one in the not to distant future.

Lachie M

Thank you, but I meant more in terms of how it would affect the choice of clothing you packed.

Alexander

Did you think about bringing your black baudoin & lange Belgians for the evening? They weigh nothing, you don’t need shoe trees and it’s a stylish way to comfort your feet after running around the whole day in a city.

Cormac Lynch

Thanks for sharing, Simon. You put it right – weather being Spring/Summer made it easier to not plan for more scenarios and made this wardrobe highly versatile. And, I could see why you missed Doek sneakers so much. They would pair up so well with most casual combinations here.
Some time, it would be very well appreciated to see travel wardrobe for fall/winter trips – such posts build great intuition for elegant versatility.

Daniel

Noticed that you packed your vintage Levi’s instead of your FullCount denim. Have you found that the cut and color of your Levi’s more versatile than the FullCount pair?
Currently have Ecru and Dark denim, but looking to pickup a nice lighter color blue pair, so wanted to hear your general thoughts regarding the two that you own.
Thanks Simon.

malcolm

Hi Simon
Interested in what T-shirts you took. You say
. “I also packed a white and grey T-shirt – both to wear on their own under the jungle jacket, and as base layers under a shirt or knit”.
So I suspect you did not take PS tapered T-shirt as perhaps too much to wear under shirt or knit. So curious as what t-shirts covered both wearing on their own and under shirt etc
thanks

Malcolm

Why not use PS undershirt instead? I think you felt the undershirt could be used on its own as well as under stuff.. I guess you like the heavier t-shirt if you are wearing it more on its own?

Ryan

Hey Simon,

I have a question about pairing your suit trousers with separate jackets. Do you worry about having more wear on your suit trousers than your jacket because you will wear them more often with separate jackets than it’s intended suit jacket. Curious if I should buy trousers as just separates. Thanks!

Zeke

Interesting that you only have one sport coat that works with jeans and formal trousers, given how many I can guess you have. It would be interesting to ask members to do audits of how many suits, SCs, formal trousers, shoes they have. I always wonder if I have a problem with over 15 or so pairs of dress shoes.My wife certainly thinks so.

Matt L

I’d like to come back to this post and add my voices to those clamouring for this jacket cloth. The big herringbone pattern, with a loose weave, and suitably for warm weather and a good spread of formality. It would be a wardrobe staple of mine.

I appreciate it was discontinued fabric that was found somewhere, but if you do find somewhere selling similar cloth I’d love to hear about it.

Jon

Simon
Have you any experience of the Post overalls royal traveller vest? Seems versatile for travel, but style points?

Jonn

Hi Simon,
I find the discussion of militaria interesting. I wonder why the Japanese got into the Americana. I know there was American influence and occupation after the war to a certain extent . But why the obsession of the reproduction from one’s ( former) enemy.
whatever the quality of it I believe I would stop short at a full length black leather coat.
And my feeling , just a feeling mind, is that military clothing would have been mass produced with more regard to saving money during a huge war effort and quality would not have been uppermost in people’s minds. I reckon button fly would have been cheaper than zip, because of cost of metal. Styling would not have mattered. Cloth would have to be heavy and rugged of course to stand the strains, and this would be worth copying.

by the way I am adding an extra n to my name to stop clashing with the other Jon.

Lindsay McKee

Maybe an article on what to pack for Autumn/ Winter would be nice.

Lindsay McKee

Looking at the Colhay’s webpage, I note that they allude in their description of much of their knitwear products that sizes run small and to size up. They are already too small and way too limited in size variety IMO. Faloni is similar when I tried them in London.
I personally think that it’s a pity in that Colhay’s and indeed Faloni products are truely excellent and I’d love to try them. It’s so unfair !!
I have to resort to North Sea or Smedleys and possibly a number of others, if I can find them.

Lawrence West

Simon, I’m searching for footwear that is comfortable while doing lots of walking in cities in warm weather. I was just in Venice walking and walking during the hottest parts of the day, and I was wearing PS short sleeve linen shirts and linen trousers, which I thought looked pretty good. But on my feet were low-top hiking shoes. I have loafers and Doeks and a CP alternative (Koio Capris) that might have looked better, but none of them would have come close to allowing me to walk 20,000+ steps a day comfortably. What do you (and other readers) use for walking a lot while remaining reasonably elegant?

Mark

I keep on coming back to this fantastic article, Simon
A great capsule wardrobe, and look forward to more capsule writing soon!

Mark L

I’ve been contemplating an outfit with a green field coat over an ecru sweater, Levi’s and black loafers. I just can’t seem to figure out the socks!

David

Hello Simon,
I came across an old book titled The Power Look by Egon Von Furstenberg in a used book store. In a chapter The World of Travel, he lays out his “ideal travel wardrobe.” It all fit into one carry-on garment bag and one carry-on underseat case. I found it fascinating in its simplicity.
The foundation of the wardrobe were one lightweight black gabardine suit, one navy blue blazer, one gray worsted flannel trousers, one blue jeans, two white broadcloth shirt (plain collar), one white oxford-cloth shirt (button-down collar), one black-white-gray patterned silk tie, one solid maroon tie, one black silk evening bow tie, one pair black plain oxford shoes, and one pair black slip-on loafers.
For daytime business, he wore the suit with either the broadcloth or oxford cloth shirt, and the black-white-gray tie or maroon tie. For formal dinners, he wore the suit with a white broadcloth shirt, and the silk bow tie. For less formal daytime business, he wore the suit jacket with the gray flannel trousers.
He wore the blazer with the gray flannel trousers for meetings and parties, and with the blue jeans for casual occasions.
A few things jumped out at me and I would be interested in your take on them.
The gabardine suit with the oxford cloth shirt?
The suit and broadcloth shirt, and simply swapping out the ties to silk bow tie, for a formal dinner?
The suit jacket with the flannel trousers?
Von Furstenberg was no stranger to fashion and I would be really interested in your thoughts here.
Thank you.

Jasper Smit

Hello Simon, I was wondering how you deal with bringing jackets/overshirts in linen when you travel. I have a very nice gray linen jacket and one even better navy sort of overshirt/jacket in linen that I always like to bring with me but I never do since I’m afraid it is going to look bad after sitting in a suitcase for hours and I don’t like to baby my clothing to be honest once I’m there. Thanks very much.

Jasper

Jasper Smit

Good morning! Thanks for your reply Simon. I wil take your advice. Next trip I take the jacket with me. Cheers.