Editor’s note: For more tips on what to pack for warm weather, head here.
Any time I get the chance to step away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, I’ll gladly take it — even if only for a few days. Being able to go somewhere sunny and warm to visit my family, like Florida, makes traveling that much better. It’s certainly a welcome adjustment from having to bundle up for both NYC winters and trips back to Michigan, both of which I’ve grown accustomed to over the years — this is a change of pace that I’ll gladly take! This past weekend was a special one, as I headed back down to Fort Myers for my dad’s birthday. It’s a tradition that’s worked out the past few years, as it seems a lot goes on at once — we get the chance to root on our alma mater, Michigan State, in the Big Ten Tournament, we get the chance to celebrate my dad’s birthday and most importantly, we get the chance to catch up and relax in the lovely weather. It’s a win-win-win (in the words of Michael Scott!).
Prepping for the trip was luckily pretty straightforward — even compared to my last visit to Florida at Christmas, the weather had already jumped into the 80s as I hopped on a quick flight from NYC to Fort Myers last Thursday. With some time in my fairly casual office beforehand, I knew I’d need to be ready to both hop on the plane and then step into some nice, sunny weather. So transitional style was key, and lightweight staples like my Richer Poorer pocket tee , slim tan Banana Republic chinos and my new Dr. Martens Baynes Chukka Sneakers did the trick. The sneakers in particular have the style of a high-top, the surprisingly lightweight construction of a low-cut sneaker, and the ability to be slipped on and off at the airport with ease — I’d definitely look for a pair like that for your next trip. My United By Blue Mt. Drew Duffle worked perfectly to carry the rest of my gear, which included easygoing style staples like a Grayers slub polo and a well-fitting, comfortable Tommy John Ringer Pocket Tee in Heather Grey, ideal for relaxing by the pool.
Of course, as with any trip involving sand and sun, I was happy I packed some trusty everyday carry gear — including my reliable, stylish (and yes, pricey) Tom Ford Snowdon sunglasses — thanks again, Santa! As the weather warms up and you look to hit the road, know that plenty of easy-to-shop brands — particularly the folks at Warby Parker — are crafting wearable, stylish sunglasses for far less (good news, for sure). I brought along my trusty MVMT Watches silver-and-brown leather watch, a sturdy Invicta stainless steel dive watch and a more casual Stuhrling Original rubber-strap watch to round out my watch game. An Owen & Fred brass money clip and Issara leather card case helped me keep my essentials in check. If you want to travel lighter, know that a trusty stainless steel dive watch can certainly suffice for everything from rugged wear on the beach to dressier dinners — but if you’re a fan of watches like me, it might be handy to bring along a few choices.
So I had plenty of stylish gear for our activities, including a nice birthday celebration for my dad on Thursday night at Trader’s, home of some excellent seafood — I’d recommend it, and it was nice to break out some khaki shorts again for the evening, finally! As I arrived just in time for happy hour, that was a welcome change of pace from NYC, too. My dad and I were also able to celebrate his actual birthday on Friday with a few stops at some of our favorite spots on nearby Sanibel Island, including the legendary Bennett’s Fresh Roast — the Maple Bacon Donut is a must-have, and it was a nice snack on the beach. We were able to hop just down the road to nearby Captiva for a delicious lunch at The Green Flash; don’t skip the chance to try the Barbeque Bacon Shrimp — it’s truly the best of both worlds!
We were able to spend the rest of the day exploring some of Sanibel’s lovely beaches — for getting to and from the donut shop, lunch and the beach, I picked out a versatile short-sleeve JACHS NY chambray shirt, my ever-reliable Pistol Lake sweatshorts and some brand-new, comfortable sneakers from the surf experts at Reef. Later in the afternoon and in an awesome, truly chance meeting, we bumped into my former State News colleague and fellow MSU alum Sam Radecki and her family on Blind Pass Beach as we sipped some afternoon beverages (read: Heineken). The world’s a small place, huh? (Oh, and Go Green!). It was great to catch up, and it was also exciting to be able to kick off a weekend of great basketball among our fellow fans at Timber’s on Friday night — it’s the place to go for sports and seafood on Sanibel.
Saturday gave my dad and a respite from the sun (style tip: sunscreen helps), and explore more of historic downtown Fort Myers. Between antique shops, craft brewpubs and a lovely waterfront area, there’s a little something for everyone. It was particularly neat to check out the old, Fort Myers Civic Center — it seems like a prime spot waiting to be developed into a great location. And if you’re a fan of craft beer (like yours truly), The Lodge is a definite top spot to visit — from the pour-your-own beer taps to the excellent barbeque, it’s tons of fun. Picking out gear to wear for the day was a cinch thanks to the excellent weather — always nice! I threw on a slim short-sleeve Banana Republic gingham shirt (similar option here) and khaki shorts, two nice offerings from a brand that always does casual basics well. Staying out of the sun was made even easier with my favorite hat, a vintage-inspired Goorin Brothers ballcap. If you’re looking to upgrade your hat rotation, reaching for a throwback style is always a nice bet.
Saturday night gave me the opportunity to catch another great MSU win with my family at Point Ybel Brewing Company, and I also had the chance to catch with my grandparents (who just moved down the street from my parents’ house, as it were). And Sunday proved the perfect day to cap off the trip — after relaxing by the pool with some of the casual gear you see above, my dad and I swung by Bennett’s Fresh Roast again (it’s a must-visit!). In the spirit of moving quickly, we also made some time to stop by the World of Beer and meet another college pal (hey there, Matt Sheehan) to catch the start of the Big Ten Championship Game for our MSU Spartans. If ever you find yourself near a World of Beer location, stop in — the beer selection is extensive and the food was perfect for the occasion. Again, Go Green!
No matter how brief trips to this area of Florida can be, they always seem to get better — it’s relaxing, the weather is absurdly beautiful and it seems like there are more and more great friends and great times to be found everywhere. With so many Spartans around and with some new favorite spots in our rotation to visit, I’m definitely looking forward to coming back. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop me a line on Twitter! For now, it’s back to work in NYC. Look for more great content on The Style Guide later this week — we’ve got your St. Patrick’s Day style suggestion covered, along with stylish gear to wear for the NCAA Tournament. It’ll be fun!
Until tomorrow — stay stylish,