March 02, 2008

JFK is not AZD

Nor is LAX a spa, and Heathrow is not your dorm's common room. I have a short (ok, shoulder-length) list of pet peeves, but improper travel attire (especially in airports) is something I consider more of a violation of manners and social etiquette, and a matter requiring some attention.
No matter what hour of your flight, your destination or your degree of hangover, all self-respecting people should dress properly for travel. For some reason, perhaps the long period of sitting and waiting, young people have been equating a flight with an afternoon on the couch for as long as I can remember. Granted, going through security 3 hours prior to your departure to Cabo is tedious, and getting the most out of a vacation requires an early flight, which in turn requires you rising in the middle of the night. Not to mention the carrying of heavy luggage and dealing with long lines at every turn, it is understandable that travelers want to be as comfortable as possible.


I am sick. To. Death. Of seeing men and women in their twenties (who should know better) donning the following items for travel: sweatpants, PJ pants, gym pants, hoodies, slippers, Uggs, and flip-flops with socks. Offensive in solitude, but especially in tandem with each other.

It's about time people (young women in particular) begin dressing better for travel, by boat, plane, train or automobile. Below are some celebrities in travel mode, doing some things right, and of course, some things wrong.

Stylish... and Completely Impractical
If you expect anyone to travel in a skin-tight sheath and 5in. heels, toting an expensive and high-maintenance accessory (not to mention an expensive purse), it's Posh. Unless you expect dozens of paparazzi on each side of the pond, this degree of dress is unnecessary and for human women, extremely uncomfortable. Though she does look fabulous.

Katie Holmes' recent transformation into a "fashion plate" has obviously seeped into her travel gear. I love this look, but for travel, an all-white ensemble will soil easily. Plus, with fabrics this light and breezy, I hope she's flying from Bali to Cabo.

Chic and Realistic
If anyone should know how to dress for travel, it's Angie. With a trench in a dark neutral and coordinating bags, plus hair slicked back, Miz Jolie looks put-together, professional, and will not be stained or caught in a terrible photo.

My ideal travel look. Rachel Bilson pairs comfortable but clean jeans with stylish shoes she can walk in, a chic printed tote, and a great jacket over a simple cotton top. Clean and polished, but inconspicuous and comfortable. Parfait.

Tyra Banks does a similar look here - jeans with cute shoes, and layers on top with neutrals and a couple of color pops. The layers serve well on chilly/stifling planes, and heels are easily slipped off for unfortunate security checkpoints.

Score of 10 for the Gentlemen
Patrick Dempsey keeps it classic and comfortable in jeans, loafers, and black leather jacket with matching bag. He is facially clean enough, and looks like a star not trying too hard.

Orlando Bloom doing the same look here, with a wool polo coat and hat. And thank goodness there are superstars who handle their own luggage.

What Not To Wear for Travel
Oh, Vanessa. I am more willing to forgive your past mistakes in judgment when it comes to photography. But the bedhead hair, under-eye bags, bargain-basement hoodie and over-embellished purse aren't cutting it. I won't even touch the stuffed animal.

And now, inspired by my 2008 plans for Europe with friends and Key West with the family, what I have worn and plan to wear while my bags get scanned...

What You Should Be Wearing to Fly...
Cold-to-Warm Trips (or vice versa):
polo or chic tank
lightweight sweater
twill pants
bright flats
denim jacket or lightweight blazer

For more extreme temperature differences, I always do an on-board change, at least partially. I hate dressing out-of-climate, and it gets me excited to dash into the sardine can they call a bathroom to change into breezier clothes 30min before we land. So here's what you get on the plane in: polo shirt, jeans, Sperrys, sweater, lightweight jacket. In your carry-on are either a skirt or linen pants, flip-flops and deodorant. Freshen up, swap your jeans for a lighter bottom, ditch the jacket, wrap the sweater around your shoulders, and throw the flats in your bag. Have more fun by adding summery jewelry and aviators. You're ready to hit the cabana bar when you walk off the plane. Do the reverse when you're heading home. Warning: it's a lot less fun.

Happy Traveling!

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