TRAVELLING IN STYLE
When I look at photos of my grandparents from the early 1900's, something that strikes me, even though they weren't wealthy, is how beautifully they dressed. In particular, the photos of them arriving from a third-class, three month boat voyage from Europe, just after the first world war. Here to start a new life, knowing nothing about this country, and instead of looking dishevelled from the journey, they looked completely delightful in their neat suits, hats and gloves. Fast forward to this week and I went on a quick trip overseas for a little work and a little play. Hanging around at busy airports, I’m always mesmorised watching people from all walks of life, herded together to get to their destinations...it’s fascinating really! So, thinking ahead about this story, I took note of what I saw and, I have to say, I think most people take less pride in what they wear to the airport than in any other time of their life. It’s a bit depressing, but I’d say that only 10% of people made any effort to dress appropriately. What is “appropriate” I hear you ask? And what is the dress code for travelling?
I’m sure you never doubted it, but I’m in the 10% camp who makes an effort because I have a travel style rule: how you look at the airport is a key indicator of how you dress in life. I know many fashionistas that to the world, via social media, look 100% "fashioned up" all the time. Night and day, they have designer outfits: the latest and greatest layers of must own pieces, full make up and hair perfect. But if you see them at the airport (which I do), they don't look like that! It's like their 'real life' clothes don't matter (which you don't see!). And I do love looking at paparazzi snaps of celebrities at airports. These days, they make an effort to look cool even though they have a 13-hour flight ahead of them, because everyone is watching. They have perfected the art of being 'airport cool' while casual, and it helps the fashion trends of luxe leisure wear have really meant dressing for travel is much easier.
On a recent flight back from Bali, you would have thought I was wearing a ball gown compared to 80% of the people on the flight when really, all I was wearing was jeans and a t-shirt (I’m pretty sure there was a guy on the flight without a shirt on!). No, casual and comfortable doesn't mean you have to look like a slob. I understand travelling is uncomfortable and exhausting. And when you’re squashed in on a plane with only 1 cm between you and the next person, it isn’t an ideal situation. If you are seated at the front of the plane or down the back, there are a few simple items of clothing you can wear that are flight worthy and stylish.
· Think about the colours you wear when you travel. Neutrals, denim or black only! Avoid prints, bright colours or anything that makes you stand out. This way you don't need to think about what you are wearing. Think basics and keep it simple.
· Warmth. Whenever I fly I always get cold on the plane. I pack in my carry on, a large over sized cardigan that can double as a blanket or scrunched up as a pillow. And it's a good idea that it's black as it's a nothing colour, and can hide the dirt. Even if I am heading to a hot climate, having this knit always comes in handy too, for a freak weather day.
· Wear layers. You can always hide a casual outfit underneath a fabulous trench or coat. The coat is the statement and the style. A trench or lightweight coat or blazer is a good start as you can roll it up and it still looks acceptable if a little crushed. The "rolling" technique means your jacket can be stored while seated, and really does help reduce the creases.
· Wear fashion trainers. Flat shoes work the best especially if you are racing for a flight or if your feet swell! And as wearing sneakers is acceptable in most occasions now, it's my go to! I also have this thing about wearing open toe shoes on a plane are just odd and a little gross.
· Invest in good carry on luggage. Your travel bag can transport a casual vibe to a fashion vibe. Remember the bag must be able to securely zip up and should have a strap for a 'hands free' option.
· Fashion track pants are totally acceptable now! I used to always change into track pants on the plane but now I wear them onto the plane. Never before can you wear sports luxe and look dressed up. So embrace it! (If you frequent airport lounges, most dress code rules restrict 'active wear' which is mainly tights or leggings.....but you shouldn't be wearing these anyway! ha)
· In your carry on luggage pack a plastic zip lock bag with a few 'freshen up' essentials. Like a face refreshing spray, hand cream, face oils for dehydration, baby wipes or hand sanitiser and lip cream. Keep this in the seat pocket so you can use throughout the flight.
· I like to wear a white t-shirt on a flight - as it's comfortable but always looks fresh. I also pack a spare one in my carry on I can change into just before I get off. I also change my underwear mid flight – it’s my way of feeling like I have had a shower…if only!
· A slick low pony tail and big black sunglasses on hand, mean when you get off the plane feeling bloated and tired, no one needs to know.
So, although the fashion has changed since my grandparents traveled all those years ago (I’m happy we don't have to wear hats and gloves!) looking good all the time isn't about showing off, or meant to be a challenge. Dressing appropriately makes you actually feel better within yourself. And remember comfortable fashion is trending so enjoy it while it lasts!
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The Travel Casual Uniform
The simple formula for the travel dress code
1. JACKET/TRENCH/BLAZER + 2. BASIC TEE + 3. CASUAL PANT/SWEAT PANT + 4. FASHION TRAINER + 5. STYLISH LUGGAGE + 6. SLOUCHY KNIT