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Bring on the Fun: Vacation apparel captures men's imaginations

Ahoy Matie! -- Sail the Seven Seas in style and comfort in Tommy Bahama's cotton white twill shorts and cotton indigo knit pullover.

Ah, vacation. The sand, the surf. The mountains and hiking. The city streets and sidewalk cafes. And the new clothes to go with it all.

Well, a guy doesn't necessarily put the two together. But, given the choice between new clothes for a vacation or new clothes for a business meeting, guys are more apt to shop for travel, according to Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle MonitorÔ.

As it turns out, 57% of men are more apt to buy a new outfit for vacation than a business meeting, reports the Monitor.

Let's face it, buying clothes for vacation has an element of excitement to it.

"In a power dressing situation, you get your suit, the right shirt, tie and pocket square - and that all serves a great purpose," says Tommy Bahama's Lucio Dalla Gasperina, partner and vice president of design. "But on vacation, you have more fun with your clothes because you think, 'I'll wear this when I'm biking, this when I'm riding my motorcycle, this for golfing.'"

Axis Apparel's James Campbell, vice president of sales and marketing, agrees vacation time is all about fun. "For this brief period, people are breaking out of that work mold and expressing their individuality. For us it's about fun prints. A big thing is novelties with pick stitching on the collar or pieced panels. Florals are always good, and we're seeing a movement into vintage-inspired prints."

Campbell says if there's any requirement for vacation apparel, it's comfort. "That's key. It's all about great tops, knits and shorts in natural fabrics."

The Monitor's respondents also report that they prefer to wear one comfortable outfit for different activities (62%), rather than change their clothes to fit each one they do (36%).

At the The Wyckoff Ivy Shop, a northern New Jersey apparel store for men, women and children, owner Bob Abbiati says the top-selling vacation looks include Tommy Bahama, golf brands like Ashworth and Bobby Jones, and surf styles such as those by Quiksilver and Billabong.

"Men like the surf look - the shirts look great and have a young feel," Abbiati says.

Dalla Gasperina agrees that it's important to not get backed into a corner with your vacation wardrobe. "A lot of what we have can cross the boundaries of events or affairs," he says. "They're clothes that can tie the afternoon into the evening."

He says men can keep their vacation options open with Tommy Bahama's cotton blend canvas short worn with a white shirt, garment dyed knit pullovers and a signature printed shirt or two.

Campbell relates that vacation-minded men like to buy the Axis print camp shirts, cotton and silk shorts, and polo shirts.

Vacation basics are definitely the way to go, according to fashion experts. If you're going out for dinner at a country club, khakis and a polo shirt are apropos. But if you're headed down to the ole Crusty Crab for an $8.95 bucket of all-you-can-eat, a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of shorts will do you just fine.

Now that's the kind of vacation a guy could get used to.

Getaway Specials from Marriott.

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The Art of Travel
by Alain de Botton
  Aside from love, few actvities seem to promise us as much happiness as going traveling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs, and landscapes. Alain de Botton explores what the point of travel might be and modestly suggets how we can learn to be a little happier in our travels.
  More information and prices from: - US dollars - Canadian dollars - British pounds - Euros - Euros

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