Dylan Jones: Take four pairs of shorts on holiday? Not me: I pack and go

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The Independent Online

My name is Dylan, and I'm an over-packer. Ever since I can remember, I have taken too much stuff on holiday – bags, holdalls and suitcases full of things I'm never ever going to wear, not on holiday, not at home, never. In the days before enlightenment, if Louis Vuitton had produced a suitcase with a special compartment for carrying the kitchen sink, I'm fairly certain I would have bought one.

My trick, the one thing I really honed to some sort of art, was packing as many of the most inappropriate clothes that I own, as I could. To wit: being an over-cautious control freak, I'd pack four pairs of shorts where two would easily suffice; I'd take three or four pairs of deck shoes when none would probably have been preferable; and why only take one or two tubes of tanning oil, when you could take every factor from one to 30? I don't know, either, but for my sins, I've done all these in the past. A long weekend was my version of the Grand Tour. For me, the four-day break required as much planning as a long-haul sabbatical.

How things have changed. Nowadays, having had my anally retentive attitudes towards packing drummed out of me, having been laughed at by so many people amused by the vast amount of luggage I take on holiday, I've developed a genuine – stand back ladies, this might be dangerous – solution: the mobile capsule wardrobe. And, along with most of the things that I've picked up since I turned 30, I wish I'd done it years ago.

Let's say you're going away for a four-day trip to somewhere hot, and you really only want to take hand luggage. Sound familiar? Then read on. What you should take is two pairs of swimming shorts: a pair of the tight, James Bond-style Diesel or Quicksilver mid-thigh retro-styling trunks and a pair of the baggier, floral variety by Paul Smith. You wear one pair while the others are drying, and then swap two or three times a day.

Then you need trousers: a pair of classic Levi's, some smart chinos from French Connection if you're on a budget, or a pair of Michael Tapia flat-fronted pants in wool or linen from Dunhill if you're not. You'll need a short-sleeved shirt from Mandarina Duck, one of those in thin papery cotton. And then a brightly coloured linen shirt for the evening from Doug Hayward in Mount Street in Mayfair.

Your T-shirts should probably come from Hackett or Paul Smith (you don't want to go to too many shops), while your shoes should be as follows: one pair of heel-less Tods driving shoes, and a trusty pair of Birkenstocks, in black, dark brown or camouflage. Then you need a pair of Persol sunglasses, a smart jacket from the Duffer Of St George or Chester Barrie (something Neapolitan, maybe), and then throw everything in a Mandarina Duck holdall in black, khaki, petrol blue or orange.

Like I say, I wish I'd done it years ago.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ' magazine

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