On a summer visit to the Armor Lux factory in Brittany last year, I came upon a solution to a perennial problem I’m always presented with when travelling. As the Luxury Editor of Conde Nast Traveler US, I travel a great deal and so it may not come as a big surprise to you when I say that I love hotels. I’m lucky enough to have spent a lot a time in a lot of nice hotels, and like most clientele, I tend to gravitate to the most well-trodden circuit of every good establishment; from room to pool to bar and back again. Although the route is by no means perilous, it does present an awkward sartorial moment for me: how am I going to make it through the lobby and all the public spaces to the pool dressed in a swimsuit without feeling out of place? I will never wear a robe and slippers on this trek. While this complimentary combo is de rigueur in the spa and perfectly acceptable for padding about in your room, it should be denied access to all other public areas. I have to admit to wearing polo shirts, a sweater or even an oxford cloth shirt on previous excursions, but even these garments, as casually refined as they are, seem a little out of place.
Never have I felt this dilemma more than at Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole, Tuscany, where the clientele is impossibly glamorous Italians executing the principles of sprezzatura with the required insouciance. Il Pellicano is one of those places where you can easily feel like a schlub without the right attire. Watching the comings and goings by the pool, I realised that what I really wanted was a blazer of sorts, one that was casual yet chic and, perhaps most importantly, could stand up to a wet bathing suit and the pool environment.