I just got back from Bella Italia and I think, in the not too distant future, the airlines will have to pull up right into passengers’ driveways, the way the Super Shuttle does when it picks you up to go to the airport for your flight. Have you seen how people come dressed to the airport? Clearly they’ve just rolled directly out of bed and into the “Departures” area. Is it too much to expect that they change out of their pajamas and put on some shoes?
I realize, as well as anyone, that travel has become a hassle; the delays, the screening, the endless lines. There’s no question that it pays to be comfortable. But comfort doesn’t mean treating everyone to a glimpse of your usual Sunday morning pancakes-and-reading-the-paper look. I’ve seen people waiting to board who must not own a comb or a toothbrush and don’t feel it necessary to put on underwear. I’M NOT KIDDING! Have we lost all sense of pride and discretion? Has the effort to be comfortable completely superseded basic human dignity? Am I on a rant here?
My flight home was eight hours. Not short, but definitely not an extended sentence, and one guy, I’d say around sixty-five years old, was attired in a pair of short shorts (mid-thigh) and a baby blue tee shirt stretched over a huge belly that said, “best papa evah.” Just like that. All lower case as if some Bostonian child had written it. With this ensemble he chose Teva sandals which he removed before even the safety doors had been latched. No socks, of course. Now, okay. We’re on a closed aircraft, he’s in his seat. Who’s going to care? But is this how the grandchild, who is now in college, because the shirt was at LEAST ten years old, wants his Papa to be seen out in public? Evah?
So what constitutes appropriate travel wear? I know it may not seem egalitarian but travelers who are dressed a little nicer are more likely to be upgraded, to be taken care of faster, to receive help at the ticket counter, to get a better seat. It’s true. Provided, of course, it isn’t coupled with a hostile attitude. I know this directly from a ticket agent to whom I was once related. And if you’ve been reading my blog thus far you know that I don’t equate “nicer” with dropping a wad of Euros. And honestly, isn’t it worthwhile to consider safety?
Just take footwear, for example. Flip flops are probably the worst shoes (if you can call them that) for travel. They provide no support for all that standing around on hard airport floors, it can be cold on the plane, particularly near the floor, and here’s what really gets me, when someone crosses their legs in the seat next to you, do you really want to be staring directly at his or her feet? You get my point. Not to mention that if, heaven forbid, one has to make a speedy exit, how fast can you run in those things? JMO.
I like a pair of slip-ons—ballet flats or clogs or something of that ilk, that I can get off and into my plastic screening bin easily. Then, when I get on the plane, if it’s a long flight, I stow them in the overhead bin and put on a little pair of slippers or socks that I’ve brought in my carryon. Very cozy.
As far as the rest of my outfit, I find knits work the best. Leggings and a tunic (covering the butt, of course because you KNOW that leggings are not pants!) or knit pants and a cardigan. When I shift around in the two by two area of my seat the knits move with me, and they’re easy to layer since I find the cabin temperature alternates between blow furnace and arctic. And, quite frankly, knit pants are easier to get up and down in that coffin they call a lavatory. Personally, I’ve never found jeans to be a good option for air travel. Somehow, about an hour into the flight, the creases at the top of the legs start to dig into my thighs like a machete. And if I spill some of my meal on them (which I ALWAYS do) I can’t just rinse it out the way I can with a stretchy pant.
Not fond of knit pants? How about a long dress? It hides a multitude of sins, covers the legs and looks chic. A nice soft pashmina shawl over it that can double as a blanket and it’s a look. A pair of sunglasses and you’re very Anna Magnani!
I’m saving my p.j.’s for Mad Men reruns.