It's not an uncommon sight to see Mumbai's swish set leaving for European summer (which starts from July and ends in October) to beat the oppressive heat and humidity. While women know their beach essentials from their cocktail hour accessories, it's men who struggle to get the balance of clothes right in their travelling trunks. Packing is an art. It's all about travelling light and editing options which will take you from a museum to a fine dining restaurant to a charming café to a beach with a few alternations here and there.
Getting the suitcase right
Designer Raghavendra Rathore recommends a small bag for dirty laundry, a tiny frame for the family picture, a good camera and a pair of good sunglasses. He says, "A medium-size suitcase with wheels and a pulled out handle suitcase is an ideal starting point. The two hemispheres of the suitcase should be divided into clothing and survival accessories."
He feels that versatility of the attire is crucial. "Looks for the day need to be combined in such a way that by removing or adding a jacket you could successfully be at a restaurant or the beach. Denims and T-shirts work fantastically well for the hot summer but then a white shirt with a two-button jacket can work as well for semi-formal party or a trip through the Louvre. Bendable sunglasses, comfortable pair of shoes, a pair of cargo pants can go a long way," Rathore adds.
You need to leave enough room in your suitcase for shopping. Do not think of the what-ifs. Because chances are, you will land up shopping when you're travelling. Design Varun Bahl suggests, "Check the weather and carry clothes accordingly. It is better to plan ahead rather than finding out you've carried woolen jackets in the sweltering heat. Pick more shirts or t-shirts instead of pants/ jeans that you can repeat. Be sure that everything you are packing matches everything."
Experiment with colours
Considering most places like Florence have a vibrant, cheery vibe, it's not a bad idea to play with luscious colours. Varun adds, "The best things to carry are neutrals and pastels. Key essentials that you can repeat in different ways are a versatile blazer, a pair of chinos, casual shorts, a crisp white shirt, a bunch of linen and cotton shirts, swimming trunks, sunglasses, a travel size grooming kit, a sunscreen with at least an SPF 40."
Varun also recommends a hat which apart from the functional reasons can add a fun element to your look. Besides he suggests a pair of flip-flops, a world timer watch, a pair of moccasins and a slim leather belt.
A mix of casuals and formals
Designer JJ Valaya says, "European summer can be very tricky as the temperature fluctuates between day and night and also the part of Europe you are going to. A basic sweater or a light jacket would be a must carry as it can change a casual look to a chic evening look too."
The word 'light' is the key to both successful packing and choice of colour for shirts and tops.
Half and full sleeve shirts should easily be combined with neutral coloured lowers: pants and denims.
Two summer jackets, one semi- formal the other sportier casual are an absolute must-have.
Two to three anti-wrinkle knit T-shirts and shirts resolve the worry of crushing while travelling.
Formal look: Wear a jacket with a pair of trousers, a slim belt and dress shoes. Wear a full-sleeve shirt as you might want to take that jacket off while you dine.
Beach look: On the beach when not in the water, a pair of light coloured shorts with a pastel shirt or a nautical print t-shirt with wayfarers and flip-flops work well.
Resort stay: Wear beige linen pants or shorts with an aqua blue or white shirt and a hat with moccasins.