Rules of Style: Tumi's George Esquivel

It was a match made in accessories heaven when shoe designer George Esquivel stepped in as creative director of the luggage giant Tumi last February. The on-the-go craftsman has since continued to spread his influence, most recently with a limited-edition capsule collection of shoes for Tommy Hilfiger. We chatted with the California native about his neurotic packing style, how to spot good leather, and the trick to making shoes last.

1. If you spend over $400 on a pair of shoes, they should last you 10 to 15 years. Just don't wear them everyday. They need a chance to air out. Buy two of the same pair if you really like them.

2. Boots keep things from looking too polished. I wear them with everything, including suits. I think it comes from that feeling of wanting to be a cowboy. Who doesn't want to be a cowboy? I have the same Vern boots in seven colors.

3. I don't do black suitcases. My clothing is all black, so that would be too much. I'll do a spruce or really cool green and accent it with zipper pulls.

4. I have so much experience with lost luggage that I always put an Alpha travel kit in my carry-on with a little disposable toothbrush and other essentials. That way, you're covered in case things don't arrive for two days.

5. I buy the travel packs of Le Labo's Labdanum 18 fragrance and bring them with me wherever I go. They smell great and are relaxing. My wife and I give them away as gifts to friends, too.

6. Leather shouldn't feel plasticky—I like bags that crease and absorb the oils of your hands over time. The good ones look natural and age beautifully.

7. My hair gets cut every seven to nine days. I have crazy hair that's all wiry, and having it short works with my lifestyle. Luckily, my brother is a hairstylist. Sometimes my son even cuts it.

8. It's neurotic, but I always pack two suitcases with exactly the same number of items in them. So if I'm bringing four pairs of pants, two have to go in one and two in the other. Pants get rolled, blazers are turned inside out, and suits go in last on top.

9. Most days I'm in dark, unwashed jeans and a deconstructed blazer. I love deconstructed suits—I guess that's the Californian in me.

10. I'm not one of those guys that like to pooh-pooh on trends. Let people be who they are and just focus on what you're doing without worrying about everyone else.

—Kristen Dold. Follow her on Twitter at @KristenDold.

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Also on
Rules of Style: Billy Reid
How to Pack Smarter and Lighter
The Best On-the-Go Exercise Gear

Photos courtesy of Tumi.
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