A gentleman’s guide to travelling in style

Whilst it wasn’t as rosy as it’s now made out to be, airline travel during the 50s and 60s was decidedly different to what it is today. Coined the ‘golden era of travel’, it was a period where people dressed up for the ‘occasion’ of flying. On board, cabin space was plentiful, and it wasn’t unusual for seven-course meals to be served alongside seemingly endless glasses of whisky. Because flying was deemed to be the future, the world’s finest talents were hired to design everything from the on-board bar, to the angle of the propellers. When we think of ‘golden age’ travel, we like to imagine it looked something like this…

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These days though, air-travel has lost its romance and passengers are crammed into cabins like battery-farmed animals. The element of mystery and occasion has vanished too, and people no longer dress to impress when boarding for warmer climes. This might have something to do with lengthy check-in times and overcrowding, yet we, as gentlemen, like to make an effort wherever possible. You can too, and with the tips in this article, we hope you’ll join us.

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QUICK TRAVEL TIPS:

– Use small wheeled luggage or a holdall that qualifies as ‘carry-on’ wherever possible – you’ll appreciate the benefits of packing light when you don’t have to queue to check-in a suitcase
– Store your phone, wallet and loose change in the inside of your jacket pocket – you can simply remove your jacket when walking through metal detectors
– Pack smartly – place essentials such as reading material and headphones at the top of your bag so you don’t have to search for them
– Leave your belt, neatly rolled, in your carry on – it will save you taking it off during customs searches
– Similarly, wear loafers or slip-on shoes – they can be easily removed through customs
– Print your boarding pass the night before or, alternatively, use your airline’s mobile app
– Store your passport in a jacket pocket – it saves you reaching in and out of your bag

THE LUGGAGE

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The luggage you choose very much depends on your length of stay. Anything longer than a week definitely warrants a suitcase, although we’d recommend packing as lightly as you can, keeping things as compact as possible. As they are cumbersome, a wheeled case is the most convenient – especially the four-wheeled variety, which can be stood up and pushed alongside you as you walk.

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(From L to R) Rimowa Limbo Multiwheel Suitcase 55cm, £530 from Harrods // Tumi Tegra-Lite Large Case 76cm, £845 from Harrods // Lite-Cube DLX Spinner 76cm, £455 from Samsonite // Brics Bellagio Four-Wheel Trolley 82cm, £495 from Selfridges

If the four-wheeled suitcase is the modern, electric hybrid of the luggage world, the simple attaché case is the vintage sports car. With their old school charm, classic hard-bodied carry cases are an inspired choice, and what they make up for in impracticality (namely weight), they more than make up for in style.

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(From L to R) Globe-Trotter 21’’ Carry-On Case, £955 from Mr Porter // Reiss Gallivant Suitcase, £395 from Reiss

For the ultimate no-fuss flight though, we advise that you invest in a quality leather holdall. Large enough for your essentials and small enough to fit in the overhead cabin, a holdall is arguably the most stylish way to get from A to B. Favoured by Newman (above) and McQueen, the holdall is a louche option for the seasoned traveller, and one that will save you precious time in the airport.

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(Clockwise from top L) The FleroM Leahter Weekend Bag, £450 from Maxwell Scott // Mulberry Clipper Leather Holdall, £1,350 from Mr Porter // Aspinal of London Weekender Bag, £695 from Harrods // Oxford Leather Explorer, £189 from John Lewis

WHAT TO WEAR

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Once you’ve mastered your time-saving airport tips, and after your luggage is sorted, the key to travelling in style is to dress well, but comfortably. Although we commend those who travel in a full worsted wool suit – it is after all essential on a business trip – for the rest of us a lightweight blazer and tailored trouser combination will suffice. The blazer, which should ideally be unstructured and made from a soft cotton for breathability and comfort, is perfect for storing your essentials (phone, passport), and it keeps you looking well turned-out and ready for anything – you never know who you might bump into on the plane. Once boarded, simply stow the blazer with your carry-on luggage above you, and enjoy the flight.

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(Clockwise from top L) Textured Unstructured Blazer, £59.99 by H.E from by Mango // Naples Tailored Fit Shirt, £59 from Collar Club // Light Weight Cotton Slim Trousers, £24.90 from Uniqlo // Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope, £1,500 from Mr Porter // Montblanc Meisterstuck Leather Billfold Wallet, £200 from Mr Porter

THE SHOES

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If you’re only going to take one pair of shoes when travelling, make it the loafer. At the airport their easy, slip-on style means they’re a breeze through customs; they’ll be no messing about with laces should you be asked to take them off. On the other side, a slick pair of penny loafers are versatile and comfortable, perfect for pairing with virtually any outfit, day or night.

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(Clockwise from top L) Harvard Loafers, £POA from Crockett & Jones // J.M Weston 180 Mocassin Loafers, £435 from Mr Porter // Bass Weejun Larson Loafers, £120 from Stuarts London // Matisse Loafers, £275 from Herring

Further Reading