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What to pack for a weekend in Kuala Lumpur


Malaysia’s temperamental climate and varied environments make packing with panache a difficult chore, but investing in the right capsule ensemble will ensure that you’ve got every sartorial situation covered, from the beach to the boardroom

Stephen Doig
Stephen Doig,

Malaysia offers a delightful combination of sun-kissed beaches and tropical rainforests, but its weather is famously unpredictable, with two monsoon seasons and highlands and lowlands that have their own microclimates. This makes packing for a sojourn in the Southeast Asian country all the more tricky; beach attire might cut it in glorious sunshine, but is hardly appropriate for exploring the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands or exploring Taman Negara, thought to be the oldest rainforest in the world. So what should make the final cut in the packing process?

An intelligent approach to packing starts with the case, and no other brand has a history in luggage like Louis Vuitton, which has been creating leather goods for the travel elite since the 1850s. The brand, which offers a packing masterclass free of charge should you find yourself in its sumptuous Bond Street premises in London or at Heathrow Terminal 5, has a roster of classic luggage, such as the handsome Pegase 55 case, which comes with internal netting to protect layers. Alongside its staple pieces, for spring the brand has also introduced the dynamic, sports-inspired Pulse range of rucksacks and carry-ons, with the traditional V logo reinterpreted as a graphic design.

With your mode of fashion transport fine-tuned, look to pieces that combine lightweight, breathable fabric with a sense of structure. Giorgio Armani has been a master of his craft for over 30 years, marrying Italian classicism with modern chic. For spring, that translates in his Emporio line as graphic stripes and bold block colour, with touches of low-key glamour. The designer’s elegant white Capri pants and cardigans for women and gauzy, soft-fit shirting with checked patterns for men are ideal style solutions to take you from beach to bar.

A thread of functionality also runs through Paul Smith’s spring offering and the designer’s quintessentially British appeal offers plenty for the stylish international traveller. Draping tie-dye scarves look bohemian and will protect against the breezes that sweep in from the South China Sea, and the range also includes tropical print trousers and shorts for men and fringing and vivid stripes for women, striking a balance between the exuberant and the appropriate.

It’s entirely justifiable to indulge a holiday sense of joyfulness and invest in some playful warm-weather pieces. And because you’re on a tight edit, make them work all the harder by choosing items that will make a statement. The Prism brand was launched in 2009 by stylist Anna Laub to lend a cutting-edge fashion touch to sunglasses, and the Brasilia model doesn’t disappoint: they will sharpen up a poolside look and look suitably glamorous as night falls and you sip cocktails in Kuala Lumpur’s SkyBar. A vibrant woven straw bag from Sensi Studio is roomy as a carry-on option and has impact at the beach. For the raffish gentleman, some lightweight espadrilles, easy to pack and throw in the beach bag for low-key days, will mark you as a step ahead; choose a vibrant shade from Castaner or Rivieras. If you’re the type of chap who veers from Kuala Lumpur meetings to the boarding gate and back again, you could do worse than investing in Paul Smith’s lightweight A Suit To Travel In, made in high-twist wool yarn that’s handily crease-resistant and looks pin-sharp.

Make the process of packing a pleasure, not a chore – and don’t forget that, after you land, Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur has a host of riches available. Brands from global designers to local innovators are housed in malls that allow customers to escape the heat, and offer a range to supplement your suitcase should you find yourself sartorially caught out.

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