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Where Are You Going In That?

Travel attire lost in translation

By Aonika Laurent Thomas

The more elevated your dress, the more elevated your behavior, the more elevated you feel. It’s a fact. A fact I wish most folks would remember while traveling. It’s fun observing the style shifts from one country to another. I love travel and fashion watching. People are so creative and it’s a joy to watch those from fashion risk takers, to the perfectly polished. The effortlessly sexy women of Venice; the elegant French men; and the freedom of the island person, but I was struck by what was happening right here.

I recently took a trip from Los Angeles to New York. I was amazed at the number of people traveling that didn’t seem to care about their appearance. Call me a true southern girl, but presentation is everything. We travel for various reasons. Be it for pleasure, business, visiting families, visiting a lover, or just exploring something new. The reason for travel doesn’t matter, you will still get to the other side. So, what do you want say upon arrival? “Hello my name is fill in the blank and I don’t give a damn about how I look or present myself so neither should you.” I don’t think so. That’s not good messaging.



Here’s the scene. The Los Angeles airport, and I’m with a group of travelers anxiously waiting to board a full flight to New York. I couldn’t wait either, as fashion week and my favorite pepperoni pizza were calling my name. The gate agent announced the flight was 25 minutes delayed due to mechanical issues. In a sea of sighs and complaining a nightmare unfolded before me. Flip-flops, cut-off jean shorts that looked as though Freddie Krueger got a hold of them, pajamas, dirty sneakers, clothing that never met an iron, muscle shirts, work out attire, exposed midriffs, shirts with unintentional holes, and a moose knuckle (look it up) that I can never un-see! Damn, damn, damn, damn! What’s happening?  I needed to be pinched out of this reality. I know politics and the way of the world has us crazy but this is a road to far. Everyone I described was complaining, cursing, taking out frustrations on the gate agent. My first thought was it’s not this guy’s fault. I’m pretty sure he didn’t put a banana in the tailpipe. My next thoughts were, what if the guy in the muscle shirt and dirty pants had on a sports coat and nice dress slacks, would he be yelling at the top of his lungs? What about the lady in the gym clothes? If she were wearing a dress and closed toe shoes, would she be flexing her yucky spirit muscle or chill? The baby shivering and crying, had her mother packed a sweater she would be cool. The guy with jeans 2 sizes too small, if he had on something that didn’t make him chafe he probably wouldn’t be so grouchy. I think it’s time to rethink travel attire. You are going to arrive at a new destination. Do yourself and your fellow passengers a favor, DRESS LIKE IT.

Here are my suggestions for dressing for travel for men and women:



2 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. I think as long as the clothes are clean and appropriately fitted for the body type it should not matter what I have on when traveling. I know how to dress for a business meeting or brunch, so when I travel LET ME WEAR MY LEGGINGS and tennis shoes. They are clean, I have on a matching shirt and the shirt covers my buttocks (no unsolicited skin). So if you want to wear closed toe shoes, do YOU. As far as the “screaming at the attendants, that has to do with temperament and class, not clothing. *wink*

  2. I’ve had the same experience over the last few months. I got the opportunity to do a bit of travelling for work and noticed how inappropriate some people were dressed. I’ve always dressed up for travelling. Coming from a small island (Barbados) travelling was not a luxury most people could afford. My mum took me on my first trip at she 6 to Canada. I wore a red satin capris with a white ruffle blouse, white socks with frills and sandals. This was in 1983. Dressing well pays off. My mum and I were upgraded to business class because the flight was over booked and we were randomly chosen. Ever since that trip I make sure that I’m dressed to impress.

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