Budget Travel Fashion

My makeshift Turban comes in handy to protect my head and neck when I don't have my hat

My makeshift Turban comes in handy to protect my head and neck when I don't have my hat

There comes a time when I know I need to change underwear…when I can literally smell myself. Just kidding…but not really.

I remember when I brought two large suitcases to China when I studied abroad in college...basically my mother packed my bags (and if you know Asian mothers, you must prepare for every scenario). Upon departure from China, I had suitcases full of damn moon cakes (that were later confiscated) and cheap Chinese souvenirs I would never use, and my check-in suitcase was over the limit. 

Slowly through the years, I’ve learned to take less and less on the road. And I'm writing this to remind myself that when I return home, I need to simplify my wardrobe. When you can get super deals at Ross and Nordstrom Rack, my Asian side cannot resist but to buy, buy buy. Where as, I've been wearing pretty much the same outfit for the past several weeks. However, I don’t look homeless on the road...in fact, a 6’2 half-naked German guy actually complimented me on my dress style. I had no comment.

When I discovered Uniqlo (Japanese clothing company) some 5 years ago, I never turned back. They produce high-quality, inexpensive, fitted clothes for the Asian frame. This is basically my daily wardrobe:

  • Uniqlo AIRism T-shirt (2)
  • Uniqlo HEATTEACH Long-Sleeve (2)
  • 3 pairs of "odorless" underwear (Ex-Officio & Uniqlo)
  • Uniqlo Dri-Fit Pants
  • Columbia Zip-off Hiking Pants
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • North Face Rain Jacket
  • Uniqlo Down Jacket

Simple, yet stylish (according to half-naked German dudes). I kind of lost a shirt or two along the way due to my natural carelessness, but you learn to deal with it for the better. I do also have Nike running shorts, a beanie, a hat, and sandals I wear on occasions. But if you remember your algebra, I have around 24 different outfits I can wear (even more if I grow out my Goatee, combine my glasses, etc.)...

(4 Shirts) x (3 Pants including zip-off pants) x (2 shoes) = 24 Outfits

That may look like a bum’s wardrobe but at $20 per pair of underwear, it’s advertised to sustain days of sweat and odor before it begins to get “dirty,” and it’s true. Here is a smell test I conduct on a daily basis to see if I need to change:

  • Stage 1 - New or Semi-new (No Change)
  • Stage 2 - Smellin' Like Something (No Change or Change for Special Occassion)
  • Stage 3 - Smellin' Like Ass (Change)

It’s not to say I smell like ass every day, but I make sure I don’t smell like ass for the next day. And I do laundry maybe once or twice a week based on the Jackie Chan’s Guide to Laundry (as told on the Ellen Show):

           This may look like me but is not me.

           This may look like me but is not me.

Never take the underwear or socks to the laundry...they charge you $20, you can buy another one! I just bring 2 underwear, day and night...when you taking the shower...so easy!
— Jackie Chan (on the Ellen Show)

So a la Jackie, not only do I save money on laundry and save water but also assure myself a clean set of undergarments for the week. It’s a simple routine that has become part of my life now – less is more. No time is lost trying to decide the perfect outfit because nobody cares how you look and therefore, more time is allocated for the greater pleasures in life.