Now that we can roam anywhere we want across the world in an internet instant, successful fashion trends are transmitted with tremendous velocity too. And interestingly, one of this summer's most significant menswear inspirations is travel itself – so let's look at the main options for any man seeking a one-way ticket to style.
ECONOMY CLASS: the backpacker look
Low-budget travel has become a high-fashion inspiration. This is good news for men who enjoy dressing slouchily because it entails the subtlest tweaks to your usual summer wardrobe. Start with a madras shirt, a logo T-shirt (Thai beer brands are a classic) or a rough-around-the-edges pullover. Add combat-pocket shorts, perhaps in a camo print, with jeans your default night-time option. Finally, go for action sandals or Birkenstocks. Just remember to forget the socks.
PREMIUM ECONOMY: The safari look
Pith helmets are not required for this riff on summer style, which, while still essentially informal, upgrades backpacker slouch with military-rooted tailoring motifs. The key item here is the safari jacket. Smarter varieties lack epaulettes, have more structured shoulders, and might feature a built-in belt (worth avoiding, as it’s a bit too Charlton Heston). Rough and tumble versions come in cotton drill, and you can opt for navy or black if you want to avoid the full big-game hunter look. Add chinos, a collared dark khaki shirt and any light shoe in brown leather or suede – desert boots are perfect, or trainers.
FIRST CLASS: The Riviera look
So-called ‘resort wear’– clothes for fancy holidays – is making a fashion comeback. Essentially, it’s a masculine Mediterranean deconstruction of classic English attire. Jackets come half-lined or not at all, with only the whisper of shoulder construction. Shirts are the thinnest, finest cotton (test their transparency before buying) or linen. Woven cotton polo shirts without logos are good, too. Trousers should be pleated for the larger man, flat-fronted for the skinny. Choose a pair that are light and taper very slightly towards the ankle.
The most problematic aspect of Riviera dressing is that it demands relatively formal shoes but no socks. This excludes black, leaving you with brown or coloured driving shoes or boat shoes. Woven footwear adds élan, and allows for the free circulation of balmy summer breezes.
And there we have it – you have arrived at your destination. Even if you’re surfing Bondi breaks via YouTube from a bedroom in Borehamwood, dressing for travel helps every day feel like an adventure.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of the John Lewis Edition magazine