Dressing to Win: A Guide to Travel Attire
In a sport where JL™ spandex and Nike™ socks are the norm, dressing like a gentleman is no easy task, especially with all of the options a man has to choose from when it comes to clothing. Luckily, for Central Catholic Crew, a definitive dress code is established and upheld to prevent the men from looking like beggars upon arriving to the course on race day. This dress code is commonly known as “travel attire” and this guide is designed to make that dress code official in writing and easy in understanding.
Components of Travel Attire
Travel Attire is composed of six (6) mandatory parts. These parts are as follows:
The Blue Blazer
What has been commonly referred to by other teams as a “suit,” the blazer is probably the most important aspect of Travel Attire. The blazer is what separates the clothes that you would normally wear to school from what you would wear when you show up to the race course prepared to win. It adds a formal, “time for business” feeling to the outfit.
When it comes to Travel Attire, it is required that the blazer be navy blue, not black. If you are wondering, “Well, how do I know that this jacket is a blazer? Maybe it is a suit separate or a sport jacket.” This question is easily answered in a tiny detail within the jacket: the buttons. A blazer has gold or silver metallic buttons, just like the one pictured. A suit separate or a sport jacket would have plastic buttons that match the color of the jacket.
Choosing a Travel Attire blazer is a troublesome task because of the conditions your blazer will face. At many spring races, the weather will range from rain and below 40° temperatures to sun and temperatures close to 80° or even 90°. So how does one find the right blazer for these conditions, especially one that will be tossed onto the muddy ground and shoved into a bag? The answer can be found in a thrift shop. When you are changing for race time, you do not want to be cramming a $150 or even a $300 blazer into your duffel bag. A fine quality blazer can be found at a thrift shop for $10-$20. Searching for the right size will take some time but a good, mid-weight, comfortable blazer can be found. The weight of the blazer is important as well. A heavy wool blazer will work for the first couple of weeks of April, but in the last weeks of May, a lighter one will be the preferred choice. Finding a weight in the middle of those lines is the key to being comfortable throughout the entire spring season.
The Dress Shirt
A crisp, white, dress shirt can make any man look like he knows what he is doing even if he really does not. Paired with the Blue Blazer, the outfit makes Central Catholic Crew look like winners before they even get out on the water. White shirts come in many different fits and styles and any man can find himself lost among the options.
Collar style is simply a matter of preference. Some prefer a straight point collar while others might prefer a button-down collar; however, if you choose to opt for a button-down collar, you take on the responsibility of buttoning the collar buttons; leaving them undone looks sloppy and unprofessional and will result in being chastised by the Sartorial Sultan. Button them or select another shirt, it is as simple as that. Straight point collars also vary in styles with differing collar angles. More obtuse angles compliment a wider jaw; longer, slimmer faces call for a more acute angle. Certain tie knots also go better with certain collar angles.
Dress shirts are measured by the length around the neck in inches (the first number) and the length from your neck bone to your wrist bone (the second number). So, say that your neck is 15.5 inches around and your shoulder length (the length from the top of your shoulder to your wrist) is 32 inches, then your shirt size is 15.5/32-33. Knowing your shirt size might be just as important as knowing your phone number.
No matter what option you select, the shirt must be a solid white shirt and it must be buttoned to the top, failing to do so will also result in chastisement from the Sartorial Sultan. No patterns or opened collars whatsoever. The shirt is a simple, yet crucial part of Travel Attire.
The Gold Necktie
The necktie is the most personal component of Travel Attire. There are many different ways to tie the necktie as well as many different styles and patterns to choose from. The only requirement of the Travel Attire necktie is that the primary color of the tie be gold or yellow. The tie can be a solid gold or yellow and have blue as a secondary color. The tie should not be primarily blue with gold in it.
With so many ways to tie a tie, it is impossible to say that one way is right and another is wrong. The only definitive thing to be said about the tie knot is that it should look like it was attempted to be tied well. You should appear as though you at least tried to tie the knot correctly, whether it is a Windsor, a Pratt, or a Four-In-Hand. As for tie length, the very tip of the tie should touch the very middle of the belt buckle. With that said, a tie must always be worn with a belt, which brings us to our fourth component.
The Leather Belt
The belt is a commonly overlooked facet of an outfit. With Travel Attire, the belt is just as important as the tie above it. It holds the wearers trousers up, it lets the wearer know where his tie should hang, and it shows the rest of the world who wears the pants.
The belt should be made of black or brown leather. Novelty belts are also acceptable as long the strap and buckle are joined to the belt by leather strips. The most important rule to follow for the belt is that the color of the belt must match the wearer’s shoes. If it is a brown belt, you should wear brown shoes. If it is black, then black shoes. It is as simple of a rule as it is easy to follow.
The Khaki Trousers
The only permissible color of pant in Travel Attire is khaki. Khaki trousers paired with blue blazers give off a casual yet professional look that makes Central Catholic Crew stand out from any team at any regatta. The trousers can have pleats or flat-fronts. As with the blazer, you do not want to buy expensive khakis that will be splashed with mud and wrinkled at the bottom of a gym bag. Nice, affordable khakis can be easily found in department stores or even Target.
There should be no holes or tears in the trousers; the idea is not to look like a slob. They should be pressed upon arrival and should fit like any other pant would. Know your pant size; it will be helpful in the future when you need to buy your trousers yourself.
The Leather Shoes
With all of the items above being worn on the same body, it would be a crime to match them with a pair of Adidas™ running shoes. This is why the final component of Travel Attire is a pair of leather dress shoes with matching dress socks. Do not wear white athletic socks; save those for inside of the boat. Again, it is recommended that one does not show up to a race wearing a pair of Ferragamo™ loafers; a simple pair of black or brown casual dress shoes will do the trick as long as they match the belt. Keep in mind that some races will be muddy and there will be rain, so always dress accordingly. If you do not want to ruin a certain pair of boat-shoes, loafers, or oxfords, find an old pair that you would not mind scuffing up a bit.
This concludes the Guide to Travel Attire. With the Travel Attire kept in place and worn with a cleanly shaven face, you should have no problem looking your best and when you look your best, you can perform your best.
We are Central Catholic Crew, and we are more than men. We are gentlemen.