THE EDIT • March 2021
An Executive Club Gold Member and seventh-generation tailor, Savile Row stalwart Simon Cundey (of Henry Poole & Co – a Winston Churchill favourite) has been dressing the world’s suavest gentlemen since 1989. Now, just in time to celebrate Henry Poole & Co’s upcoming collaboration with Gore-Tex, the stylish director talks respectability on the road, dressing for an upgrade and the best-in-flight fabrics
Travel is not an excuse to strut around the airport in your jim-jams. And, let’s face it, you’re not going to get an upgrade that way. First impressions really do matter and, though I respect the practical side of being comfortable on the move, a big part of the way the world sees us is through the way we carry ourselves and what we choose to wear. For instance, relaxing at home in a velvet tracksuit or hanging out by the pool in a pair of sliders is absolutely fine but, in Terminal 5, not so much!
Simon’s top tip: Dress well for the airport and have a carry-on bag with something more comfortable to change into once that seatbelt sign turns off.
No one wants to fly long haul in rigid attire, but that’s where your carry-on bag of tricks comes into play. Pack some cashmere joggers and a cashmere jumper or button-down shirt, something you can switch into for the flight’s duration. I say cashmere because it really is the crème de la crème of comfort – just one of the most divine fabrics and also one of the warmest, which will help you get some shut-eye. Aim for something like the David Gandy collection from Marks & Spencer that sold like hotcakes.
Simon’s top tip: Mid-air spillage? I always have Vanish wipes to hand to help lightly scrub away fresh stains. Or soda water is quite a good trick. I’ve been flying with BA since 1989, so I know the on-board crew will always help, too!
The ultimate outfit
Let’s start with shoes. You have to go through security, so a pair of slip-on penny loafers in a deep cognac or chestnut suede would be my choice every time. Try Cleverley or Loake. Next, wear a nice pair of chinos in stretch cotton, or dark denim stretch jeans with a cloth belt (you can get very fine cloth belts from our neighbour, Cordings, in Piccadilly. I think a strong navy is always very elegant. For the top half, seek out a crisp, white, pinpoint weave cotton shirt. Pinpoint travels very well and the white helps mask sweat patches.
Simon’s top tip: Pair it all with a mid-to-dark blue jacket, but make sure it has plenty of interior pockets – they’ll come in handy throughout the journey.
Get comfy in the cabin with cashmere loungewear
Life’s a stitch
Fabric wise you’ll want to avoid pure linen at all costs, as it wrinkles very easily. The jacket should ideally be in a combination of linen, silk and wool – finished with a subtle overcheck. This mix is particularly ideal for those heading off to warmer climes. In the business we call it fresco suiting – fresco’s a kind of unwrinkable fabric that’s both dense and durable but also very breathable thanks to the open weave.
Simon’s top tip: Keep an eye out for Henry Poole’s new collaboration with Gore-Tex – one of the world’s most superior materials – which debuts next month. We’ll be releasing a Travel Trench, perfectly lightweight with pockets aplenty, complemented by a blue and brown leather travel holdall. The whole thing is a fantastic union of tech and tradition.
There’s nothing better than compartmentalised luggage – so don’t be tempted to buy based on exteriors alone. For me, every well-seasoned traveller needs a suitable weekend bag, a holdall made up of heavy-duty canvas, waterproof fabric, exterior pockets, interior side pockets and, ideally, a pocket for your shoes. At least, that’s what we’ve created with the new Henry Poole Gore-Tex holdall. It’s sort of the ultimate grab-and-go, though for longer trips you might want to get a wheeled case involved.
Simon’s top tip: When you get to your hotel, unpack your clothes first thing – hanging up shirts in a bathroom with the hot water running will help steam out the creases.
The devil’s in the details: complete your look with choice accessories
Right now, and perhaps for some time still, masks are the essential travel accessory, so you might as well as well get one that looks the part. At Henry Poole & Co, we made our collection using our most famous fabrics, and were the first tailors to make bespoke masks that matched our clients’ suits. You can get one in our famous Churchill chalk stripe flannel or the Seafield Prince of Wales check. Ultimately, accessories are where one can really show some personality, so don’t neglect the importance of pocket squares (go for silk), handkerchiefs and even patterned socks.
Simon’s top tip: Gents are forever bending their collars. A surprising accessory to help combat this is the key card for your hotel room – ask the hotel for an extra one and use both of them as collar stiffeners. They work surprisingly well!