Baggage Claim

an advice column from STAG

Rick R. asks:

I have a daytime wedding to go to this Spring. I plan on wearing a tan suit, blue Oxford shirt, and plaid bowtie. Should I wear brown shoes or black shoes? What do you think?

Oh, Rick.

First of all, you don’t have to capitalize the “s” in spring.

Second: it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing brown shoes or black shoes. It won’t help either way. The rule of bowties is this:
If you’re wearing a bowtie, but you’re not wearing a tuxedo, it just looks like you think a bowtie is a reasonable substitute for a personality. 


Rollin K. writes:

Cargo shorts get a lot of flak, but I have a lot of stuff to carry — keys, wallet, phone, sketchbook, and an assortment of pens.

No one throwing shade on the ol' cargoes ever provides reasonable alternatives. Fanny pack? Pocket protector? What would silence the haters and still remain useful? Don't tell me tight pants with bulging pockets is a good look. 

You’re right, Rollin. Cargo shorts do get a lot of flak. Deservedly so.

But kudos to you for at referring to fanny packs by their appropriate name! These days, the kids are calling them “cross-body bags.” And at the risk of sounding like the washed jazz dad I am, the “cross-body bag” is another thing — along with Juuls and SoundCloud rap — that the kids are very wrong about.

In fact, probably the best-dressed person I ever saw come into STAG was a gentleman in a dark denim shirt, loose khaki chinos, and a fanny pack, worn in the traditional way, around the waist. He was giving off serious, authentic Hiroki Nakamura vibes. But that’s advanced levels. If you’re in cargo shorts now, I’m not sure a fanny pack is the solution for you.

And I would never advocate on behalf of tight pants with bulging pockets.

What you need, friend, is a bag. And because it seems like you’re on the go, I think you need a backpack specifically.

Because people associate them with school, backpacks have a reputation for being a bit juvenile. But that stigma is fading as more and more people recognize their ergonomic superiority. That and the stylish options at every price point.



Ten or 12 years ago, when my wife was still my girlfriend, she bought me a Filson rucksack to take to work, and I’ve been carrying it ever since. In the intervening years, the leather straps have broken in. The buttons and buckles have acquired their own patina. The canvas bears the scars and markings of a life of work and travel. Of hobbies pursued, of relationships maintained.

I may not be able to tell you exactly where every discoloration and frayed edge comes from, but I can tell you that wherever I’ve been this past decade, that backpack has been with me, as it will be for decades to come. So. Start carrying a backpack. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Bo Fahs is a writer in Austin, Texas
Illustration by Nick Francis DiFonzo
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