Another morning flight today; and I couldn't help but snap photos of the good, the bad and the...downright confusing. Every time I travel, I see men make the unnecessary choice between style or comfort. However it's easy for men to travel in style and comfort.
Here’s an example of a professional look, ruined by an unnecessary sacrifice:
First class business traveler. Nice suit. Running shoes. (Ugh. This combo even looks ugly in writing.)
I understand the need for comfort, but there are equally comfortable shoe options that don't glow in the dark — or inspire a citizen's Style Police arrest. And in terms of networking opportunities, I wonder: Would I ask for this man’s card if he sat next to me on the plane? Or would I be blinded by the light?
Luckily another man presented a much better option:
While casually dressed (and even slouching in this picture), this gentleman still looks far more polished in his comfort-friendly outfit. Instead of chunky white gym shoes, he chose to pair purple street sneakers with a textured yellow shirt, a brown leather belt, dark denim, and a tan city coat. A nice mix of color — and all very versatile items for travel. If you choose to fly in sneakers, this is a great example of how to pick fun, stylish, comfortable options and really own your look.
So here’s why this outfit works: Mr. Tan Coat is following what I call the “Mens’ Travel Trifecta” — a simple 3-item formula you can rely on for excellent travel looks on any trip. Focus on these three elements, and you’ll fly in class and comfort — and save space in your luggage — without intervention from the style police.
- 1: Dark, premium denim — This is your ultimate travel item. The dark wash can be dressed down or up, looks great with everything, and is comfortable in-flight.
- 2: Blazer or stylish jacket — A navy blazer is the most versatile option, as it transfers easily from day to night/dressier looks. A charcoal sport coat is another good choice. For casual travel, a stylish city coat is an excellent bet.
- 3: Quality loafers or street sneakers — Brown loafers are the king of travel footwear: comfortable, stylishly versatile, and a breeze to slip on and off in the security lines. (Black is more formal and less versatile for casual looks.) Brown loafers look excellent with everything from business suits, to chinos, to denim.
For the more casual or “edgy” man, stylish sneakers can be a good bet — just be sure they’re designed for the street, not the gym.
And there you have it: A complete, classy, comfortable travel outfit for many occasions, which pairs well with any shirt. Good shirt options are a nice T-shirt (casual look), a long sleeve henley or polo shirt (“polished casual”), or a well-fitting woven “button up” shirt (dressier). I also recommend a high-quality undershirt, to keep you cool and dry through the fluctuating temperatures (and occasional mad dashes) of travel.
Just remember: Never, ever wear athletic shoes with anything but athletic clothing. And if you’re working out in your business suits gentleman: we really must talk.