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Ernest Sabine knows a thing or two about carryalls. Before expanding his made-in-America line to include everything from bowties to button-downs, the founder of the men’s label Ernest Alexander started out making weekenders, messengers and totes. Maximizing luggage space, he says, is all about being selective

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“I’m a big fan of minimal packing and of pieces that can function in a couple of different ways,” says Sabine, whose brand puts a rugged spin on the American preppy look. One must: dark denim (a favourite label is A.P.C.) Anything goes with this style of jeans, which can be dressed either up or down. Another staple: two or three button-down shirts. To avoid creases, fold them over once more than you’re used to, pulling the material taut. As a capper, throw in a navy blazer (he likes Paul Stuart); button it, lay it button-side down, cross the sleeves at the back and then roll it from bottom to top. And don’t forget your walnut-coloured wingtips. They should be the first thing packed at the very bottom of the bag.

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

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It’s the details that separate the dapper from the drab, so pack a few items that will set you apart from the rest. Sabine is a fan of Dom Vetro sunglasses handmade in the Italian Alps; he likes those with brown tortoiseshell frames and dark green lenses. To protect eyeglasses of all kinds, slip the cases inside your shoes. A watch also goes a long way in distinguishing a gentleman from a college kid. Sabine recommends the Daniel Wellington line from Sweden, whose timepieces have a cleanly designed dial and interchangeable straps. He also recommends tucking a tie into your carryall. He gravitates toward a slim-but-not-too-skinny model measuring 2 5/8 inches at its widest – sophisticated enough for a swish affair but also casual.

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

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We know: You don’t like shaving on weekends, but sometimes there’s a wedding on the itinerary. Instead of dumping your essentials in a ratty plastic bag, pack them in style by investing in a good dopp kit. Opt for one with a waterproof nylon lining to keep the rest of your luggage dry in the event of a spill. Inside, make sure you’ve got a Swiss-made tortoiseshell Speert comb and a Merkur razor. The latter is heavy-duty, offering the closeness of a straight-razor shave with the protection of a safety blade. As for shaving cream, Sabine opts for the classic: Barbasol. “It reminds me of going to the barbershop when I was a kid,” he says. Finally, don’t forget cologne. In the summer, that, for Sabine, means something light and handcrafted from Brooklyn-based D.S. & Durga, his favourite perfumer right now (its Boston Ivy fragrance smells like clover and the sea).

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

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When it comes to weekend reading, there are two options: the must-read and the guilty pleasure. Sabine packs both. His must-read right now: Steal These Ideas! by Steve Cone. He describes the book of marketing secrets as a “fast read with real advice.” For inspiration, he cites Let My People Go Surfing, by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, because he likes to read about “what other people are doing to change the world with their businesses.” He also suggests bringing an iPad, tucked inside a sleek carrying case. (Sabine’s is made from British tan wax canvas.) When people spot it, they’re less likely to notice that you’re catching up on episodes of Million Dollar Listing New York.

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

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