Brendan Fallis knows how to move. The globetrotting DJ basically lives on international flights, and whether he’s mobile or parked at his homebase in New York, he manages to show up on Instagram looking ridiculously smooth. Thus, the 33-year-old Canadian has become a new style icon profiled by Mr. Porter, GQ and Vanity Fair. From his latest stop in St. Barths, he shared with us his tricks for efficient packing (he only brings one carry-on bag, no matter how long the trip), the best grooming products for every sojourn and how to power through jet lag.
We believe it’s time to bring back style in traveling. What would you say is the key to traveling like a gentleman?
I agree. Too many people are taking their liberties and traveling as if they were sitting on their couch at home in private. I personally try and feel respectable and fashionable when traveling. No need to wear a suit and fly economy, that’s for sure, but wearing a blazer to the airport never hurt anyone. It’s still a jacket by category. And having great luggage is a must. I stick to all black because it looks clean and classy at the end of the day, and it’s easy to find high-end black pieces.
What’s the key to packing efficiently?
Rolling your items if you can. I use the age-old military roll technique, packing my items in the most space-saving way. If you have the luxury of compression straps built into your bag, then you’re good to go. If not, there are plenty of alternatives to compress your items.
Packed for a summer weekend away (Photo: Brendan Fallis/Instagram)
What’s your preferred luggage brand?
RIMOWA! No questions asked. I have yet to find a suitcase that is as good as a Rimowa. The compression straps really allow me to pack a lot in and strap it down. The any-direction-rolling four wheels make it so easy to put your brief on top and roll right through the airport with no effort at all. On top of that, it just looks bossy as hell in all black.
What are three key items you should always pack?
1) Black jeans: They’re good in way too many situations, from day to day, to meetings, to black tie if needed. 2) A Sonicare toothbrush: Once you start, you can’t use anything else, and no matter where you are in the world, no one is a fan of bad breath. 3) Nike Flyknits: They pack super-slim, can get good use during a workout, and they’re great to keep your knees, back and feet comfortable, whether you’re running around all day to meetings or being a tourist.
How do you pack for any situation, from day to night?
I think I’ve got this down to a science. I’m only carry-on, and I’m pretty good for most situations now. A crisp pair of skinny black jeans that can double as casual or black tie is key. Then a white and black tee, black tuxedo blazer, which can be casual with the white or black tee. Also a crisp white button-up and a white oxford for both situations. Then add a pair of white and black Common Projects low runners in the bag and you’re all set! That’s bare minimum to get by. I also have a pair of Flyknits and workout shorts and a tee on top of that, plus a light jacket that packs in a slim manner and socks/underwear.
(Photos 1-2: Shutterstock; 3-4: Brendan Fallis/Instagram)
What grooming products do you always pack for traveling?
Mason Pearson Comb, Mr. Natty Clay, Rose Water Face Spray, Clinique Men’s Under-Eye Cream and aloe vera.
How do you avoid jet lag?
Nap and eat well! People seem to think that they can get to a city and roll right through the day and night and be fine. You’ll wake up spent the next day for sure. If you’re heading east, nap when you get in, and before dinner. I try and eat a banana or two and get some sugar in my diet. Avoid the things that are temporary fixes—coffee, alcohol. They’ll only make it worse.
What do you always bring to make a flight and hotel stay more comfortable?
I bring an extra sweater on the plane, but not for a layer. I roll it up from bottom to top, then wrap it around my neck and use the sleeves to tie it fairly tight. This allows me to sleep while it holds my head up almost perfectly, allowing a little lean to rest on. I can’t stand the blow-up neck pillows, so this is my alternative not to be “that guy” with the inflatable neck pillow. For hotels, I try and bring a portable speaker with me everywhere so I feel more at home with decent sound. Besides that, I try to do my research and stay at hotels that I’ll find to my liking.
Any tips for getting travel deals?
I scour the Internet for good flight prices, but more often then not, I end up sticking to one airline and its affiliates. Status really helps keeping stress levels low at the airport. Also, if you don’t have Pre-Check and Global Entry, you’re really cheating yourself. It’s beyond affordable for its convenience and you can show up 30 minutes in advance if you’re carrying on, and you’ll have plenty of time. Anyone who says they don’t have time to go through the minimal process of getting those—well, I’m not trying to travel alongside them.
Did you have a travel disaster that you learned from?
I’ve actually lost a bag completely with the airline. I never saw it again, not to mention having items stolen from my bag two different times. I’ve learned to never check a bag if you don’t have to. At this point, I’ve been away for months at a time only with a carry-on. There really is nothing worse then the airline losing your luggage, even if you have good travel insurance to get you some staples while they find it. I used to check my bags religiously and have since stopped. Can’t trust the airlines with your luggage anymore. Not only do they beat up your bag, which makes you want only the cheapest luggage, but not having the items you planned on having for a day or two can leave you in a really sticky position. Carry-on only!
Top photo: BFANYC