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Men: Need to dress up?

Travel blazer. I see this garment mentioned rarely around here. I stumbled across mine at Eddie Bauer several years ago. It was sulking, rumpled and forgotten on the deep clearance rack. It's lightweight, easy-care nylon and spandex, trés styley, festooned with interesting pockets, and is all but formless—no shoulder pads. There are many other travel and tech blazers, available in a wide range of prices and materials: Bluffworks, Wool & Prince, Wandertooth, Territory Ahead, and Orvis, all in the $200 to $300 range.

https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/13407854/mens-voyager-20-travel-blazer

I use a small Eagle Creek folder to keep it presentable. Usually needs touching up with an iron once on each trip. It's an instant costume for fancy eating or if someone invites you to the opera.

Posted by
22263 posts

I only pack a sport coat when we include a cruise in our schedule -- which is about 2/3 of the time. And I can turn it into a tux when necessary.

Posted by
18555 posts

How things have changed (I think). I can remember going out to dinner in Pittsburgh in the 70s and wearing a three piece suit.

I've lived in Denver for 35 years, and we are "a bit" more informal here. When I went back to Washington state for my 50th HS reunion, the hostess said it was semi-formal. I had to ask her what that meant. In Denver, "semi-formal" means clean jeans.

In 2001, I went to Germany for Sylvester. The innkeeper said I needed to wear a coat and tie for Sylverster dinner. I bought a used sport coat to Goodwill to get a to take with me; I haven't used it since. In 20 years, other than the Sylvester party, I haven't been to anything in Germany that required formal wear.

I wear the same casual wear in Germany that I wear at home, khaki pants, knit shirt, and, so far, that has not identified me as an American. On one recent trip, someone thought I was Dutch and another thought I was Swiss. And that was after they heard me speaking German.

Posted by
7347 posts

Multiple pockets, used as a layer - It can actually be quite a versatile piece of clothing. I think you do get better service.

Posted by
3654 posts

Depends on the trip; where we are going, what we will be doing. DH has a light summer weight wool blazer that has a nice fit and can be combined with either summer weight or heavier slacks, depending on the situation. Except for Cunard, his tux stays home, but the blazer sails on cruises. It may go on land vacations if we have an occasion that lends itself to a dressier outfit. Can you tell we don't travel carryon only?

Posted by
13840 posts

Eddie Bauer travel-friendly clothing gets overlooked. Their small sizes actually fit me, unlike most brands, but I have yet to convert my husband. He does like to look well-dressed when we travel to Italy, especially to go out to dinner. We agree that it does, indeed, make a difference in Italy. ( and maybe in France, but we don’t normally travel there).

In Switzerland. Germany, and the UK, our other “usual suspects”, not so much.

Posted by
746 posts

Interesting post because I have had a series of travel blazers, usually worn with jeans both here in the US and when we lived in Germany and traveled widely over there. You want a semi-relaxed fit so it can fit over a light sweater/fleece. I found them to be excellent travel companions with good pockets, the ability to go up or down in formality, and I think one did get better attention from the folks you wanted to notice you at the hotel or restaurant. I saw lots of Americans and others wearing casual windbreaker jackets in the same way so its is mostly a matter of personal preference.

Posted by
7407 posts

As the years go on, we travel lighter and lighter. And we are also getting more casual. I do have a couple of sport coats, however I really seldom wear one. And I've not worn a suit in years--since retirement.

We basically dress the same while traveling as we do at home--jeans that I've sent to the laundry for heavy starch. And golf shirts. I do have two Viyella shirts that I take with me that i wear with a pair of khaki pants that are starched heavily. That's as formal as we get. We too have been on dozens of cruises, and we have got to where we don't enjoy or participate in dress up nights.

Posted by
2161 posts

Just this evening I was thinking about how even though I'm enthusiastic about light packing I do like to include a blazer either in the folder/packer of my backpack or worn on the plane. Usually LLBean or TravelSmith, although LLB stopped selling blazers (it appears) a couple of years ago. (If I'm feeling sociable it might be a Brioni from Goodwill or a Hickey-Freeman hand-me-down)

Posted by
12218 posts

My attitude now is that "dress up is for Barbie."

I no longer try to frequent the michelin star restaurant found in all the guidebooks to tell the folks back home. Instead I look for the small, mom and pop run or proud chef helmed eatery that cares about catering to the locals with old school recipes rather than posting a star in his window. No dress up needed. Just a good appetite.

I don't take cruises other than overnight ferries but even if I did, I'd look for the ones where I don't have to dress up.

A travel blazer has its purposes and can come in useful. But I'd rather use the limited space I have
in my bag for a more versatile type of jacket.

Posted by
4913 posts

I no longer try to frequent the michelin star restaurant found in all the guidebooks to tell the folks back home.

I've never 'dressed up' to eat at any of the Michelin starred restaurants I've been to. None of them have ever insisted upon a dress code. I'm there for the food and the food alone.

Posted by
14445 posts

boglesan, interesting the animosity towards people that have differing cultural standards.

I have an old Orvis travel blazer that I usually take with me; sometimes I wear it on the plane because of the handy pockets.

I have been in Europe a week now and have worn it twice, not that I had to but because its what I do.

Interesting that I think the service is better when I dress a little nicer and I think the people around me are more likely to enter into conversation too ... and meeting people is a big part of my travel.

If i go to a concert or the theater or especially the opera house, then its a must to have; otherwise its more of a personal statement.

Posted by
286 posts

I think one needs the physique to wear a blazer and look good. Since Americans skew towards the obese, you can simply imagine that blazer on such a person. All you have to do is look around an airport.
Overall though, a blazer is not as functional as a lot of other jackets.

Posted by
377 posts

A travel sport coat is nice to have, there's occasions where having one is handy. I generally wear outdoor brands when traveling however, if there's a dinner or, event where elevating the wardrobe up a notch is called for, then a nice sport coat with clean dark denim jeans does the trick, after all who wants to look like the turd in the punch bowl.

Posted by
1312 posts

This reminds me of an article on the old Slow Travel website. Bob The Navigator (?) suggested a list of what men should take on their travels, including a blue blazer and a pair of grey trousers. It sounded outdated twenty years ago.

We once stumbled into a Michelin starred restaurant in Alsace and noone was overly dressed. I go to the theatre a few times a year, only a very small number of people of a certain age still get dressed up.

Posted by
2161 posts

I just want to poke my 2 cents in here for a moment to marvel yet again at how forum members insist that they aren't concerned with identity or status issues whenever I bring it up in the context of dining choices but then the topic can't be more obvious or fraught moments later when we start talking about going out and how we or others present themselves. I appreciate that at least one comment above owns up to this not being about convenient pockets or light packing but about 'making a statement'.

Posted by
14445 posts

And my experience in the small patch of the world that I travel in is that the statement is responded to I'm a positive way. At home in Texas people wear sweatpants to the theater (maybe Ontario too?) maybe its why I prefer to go to the theater elsewhere where I am around more of my type. Just a personal choice, not a judgment.

Posted by
1312 posts

Not so much sweatpants, more jeans or casual pants with big white sneakers.