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Thread: Formal jacket for men

  1. #1
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    Formal jacket for men

    My wife and I are planning our 25th wedding anniversary in September and this will also be our first "one bag" trip (I have an Aeronaut and my wife has one backordered). We are enjoying thinking through the various aspects of the packing - and probably spending too much Tom Bihn already has $1,000+ of our money

    We are finding interesting solutions to most "pack small" challenges. There's one aspect though that is slightly problematic for me and I am interested in ideas. Specifically, we will want to spend our actual 25th anniversary at some fancy restaurant in Rome. I will no doubt need a smart / formal jacket for that and that represents the bulkiest piece of clothing. I guess my options are to either find a way to pack that in my Aeronaut or wear it. The former implies significant volume and weight in the Aeronaut. The latter is - well - less-than-comfortable. We have two long journeys (Seattle to Paris and back) and a couple of shorter flights (France to Italy and back). I'd really rather not travel wearing the jacket (that has implications for the pants I wear - I like to be REALLY comfortable when I travel )

    I can't think of any alternative and suspect I will go with wearing the jacket.

    But there are some bright minds here - so open to suggestions

    Mark
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  2. #2
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    buy something awesome and italian when you get there. and just squoosh it in on the way home--no worries for wrinkles after the fact!

  3. #3
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    i just got one of these. so far i have been really happy with it. it's really a soft shell jacket vaguely disguised as a sport coat. it seems to look okay with about any pants that i am wearing, and has the benefits of a modern softshell. guess my suggestion then is maybe a different jacket will solve the problem.

    Voyager Ii Travel Blazer | Eddie Bauer

  4. #4
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    I've personally never seen a travel-specific, off the shelf sportcoat I'd be happy wearing in formal settings, and I've looked over quite a few. The fabrics and fit are usually uncomfortable, they're still bulky to pack, and they don't pass for the real thing when you need it anyway.

    My advice would be to get a real sportcoat from a trained tailor. Ask for lightweight linen or cotton blend, partially lined, and in a soft / unstructured cut. The cost needn't be exorbitant. It'll take up very little space when packed, and if the fit is correct, it will be comfortable in-flight if you do decide to wear it. The fabric will be seasonally appropriate in that climate, you'll get more use out of it after your trip, it will go well with most types of casual pants, and (most importantly) you'll look great in it.

    Linen or linen/cotton blends look great even when they're not completely crisp, but most hotels will steam a wrinkled jacket for you no charge.

    Edit - failing a local option, Indochino, JL Powell, SuitSupply and even J Crew sometimes have good light summer jackets, but you may still need to take them to a tailor.
    Last edited by campfire; 06-29-2014 at 12:09 PM.

  5. #5
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    Rome in September is still going to be hot. A heavy, wool jacket would be a mistake. It's still fine to take a lightweight one.

    To pack it is simple. Follow the instructions in the video below. Then, put it either in a medium sized packing folder with pants, shirts, etc, or put it at the bottom of the Aeronaut, pants on top, and then use the tie down straps to keep them in place.

    Once in Rome, unpack the jacket and get it pressed if need be.

    Jacket folding - light travel one-bag packing technique - YouTube
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  6. #6
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    I saw this thing the other day in Bivouac, Sea to Summit TravellingLight Shirt Folders - Bivouac Online Store
    Maybe that would work to keep a jacket crease free too.
    As for the jacket...I would follow luvdabags advice and go shopping in Italy! You can end up getting something very special and good quality and it will remind you of your awesome time you had over there.
    Gosh..I would actually go EMPTY bagged and buy everything there if I could afford it. :-)
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  7. #7
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    It may also be helpful to know that unless you're eating in a very, very fancy place (think Michelin-starred), you can get away with the following: tailored dress shirt, perhaps a tie, and lightweight merino sweater draped over your shoulders 80's après-tennis style, secured by folding the sleeve cuffs together (I hope that makes sense). This is what many Italian guys over the age of 30 wear out to dinner--the sweater is in case you're out late and it gets a bit chilly.

    It may also make you feel better about taking the jacket if you decide to wear it to every restaurant that could be even remotely described as "a nice place." People in Rome tend to dress for dinner so you won't be out of place. I imagine the jacket would be handy in Paris, as well. If you're using the jacket a lot it won't seem as burdensome to have it 👍


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  8. #8
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    A belated thanks for all the responses. Some good suggestions here and it's much appreciated. This has actually been the catalyst for some serious thinking on my part about just how "spectacular" the restaurant needs to be on our 25th wedding anniversary. I must admit, I want to go all out and find something very special. My wife has said that just being in Rome fulfills that requirement just fine! But I'm still looking...

    Thanks again.

    Mark

  9. #9
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    Mark, your wife is totally right! Rome on a beautiful September night, watching night fall over the Campo, you won't care what you're wearing. You'll just be glad you're there.

    If I could make a recommendation, Ditirambo is a very good place. Their website is http://www.ristoranteditiramboroma.it

    It's in Italian but you can make a reservation from the contact page. You'll note it's not particularly fancy looking, but the food is pretty effing fantastic. You'll be in a prime passeggiata location as well, which is always a good thing after a Roman dinner.


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  10. #10
    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    It may also be helpful to know that unless you're eating in a very, very fancy place (think Michelin-starred), you can get away with the following: tailored dress shirt, perhaps a tie, and lightweight merino sweater draped over your shoulders 80's après-tennis style, secured by folding the sleeve cuffs together (I hope that makes sense). This is what many Italian guys over the age of 30 wear out to dinner--the sweater is in case you're out late and it gets a bit chilly.
    I'm over 30, not Italian, but this is still the one-bagger solution that I've employed over the last couple years on trips where the wife and I will be eating somewhere more up-scale. Nice shirt, nice pants, stylish but casual shoes, and some type of thin, fashionable sweater. Cardigan, vest, cardi-vest, pullover, whatever works best for the climate you are going to. Packs much easier than a jacket, and is a lot more versatile for the rest of the trip. Single use items are not the friend of a one-bagger.

    That Eddie Bauer travel jacket that trailmix linked is certainly interesting though... That would easily meet any "Smart casual" dress requirements.
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  11. #11
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    Unless you're camping or staying at a hostel, you should have access to a steam iron, or, if you're willing to risk it, a local dry cleaner.

    Get a summer-weight linen or silk sportcoat and it may even de-crease when you walk around in the heat there...

  12. #12
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    I agree with the recommendation to pick something up in Italy (some of my favorite and most-enjoyed souveniers from my travels are clothing), however if you want to pick up something beforehand, perhaps this would work:

    Rohan Maroc Jacket (in blue)

    ? I don't personally have this, but just received a pair of their shorts made of the same material, which are quite lightweight & packable.

  13. #13
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    As someone that flies with a suit on for business, wear the jacket. Two things to consider.
    1. Unless you are flying on RyanAir or the like, most flight attendants will hang your jacket for you -either in the small closet or at the back of first class, even if you are flying coach, if you ask nicely and especially if you tell them u are taking your wife to Rome for your anniversary.
    2. You will get better service. I have found that so many people "dress down" while traveling that the airline personnel and flight attendants are more likely to give you perks, if you are dressed nicely.
    Go with an unlined blazer, it will have pockets to hold tickets, passports and itinerary and will be much better received than a sweater.


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