A few weeks ago, I was reading A Dress a Day and clicked through a link to one of Erin's archived posts. The post was all about her disappointment in the sloppy appearance of American travelers these days, and her (very strong) opinions about what is and is not appropriate to wear on an airplane. Frankly, I found the whole thing pretty snobby and ridiculous, particularly for where I live and where I tend to fly. In California, as far as I'm concerned, flip-flops are appropriate for about 70% of all occasions, including many job interviews and office environments. And as for apparel, I live in Silicon Valley - do you have any idea how most engineers and computer programmers dress for work? When we were first discussing engagement, J. and I went to Tiffany's to look at rings; I, in my skirt, sweater, and sandals, was ignored completely, while J., in his old t-shirt, cargo shorts, and dirty sneakers, was fawned over by multiple sales people. Why? Because they're not stupid - they know what a successful tech man looks like.
Okay, so much for "dressing for travel the way you would for a job," because apparently the way we all dress for jobs is already kind of sloppy. Plus, when you're like me and all you ever fly is Southwest, there's no point in dressing up in the hopes of getting moved up to the nonexistent first-class section. But there were also arguments about flip-flops and high heels being dangerous in an emergency situation, and that's why we shouldn't wear them on airplanes. To this I say: If I can dance a polka, chase a toddler, and throw a backflip in flip-flops and heels, I can safely exit a plane. And who are these people who get on planes and take their stinky shoes off? That's just bad manners in general, though I'd like to point out that feet that have been wearing flip-flops are likely a lot more aired-out than feet that have been enclosed in flats or sneakers.
So yeah, I was a little suspicious of this post I'd read. I still don't see what's wrong with a pair of comfortable yoga pants and a tank top (assuming they fit and are clean - there's a difference between being comfortable and looking like a hobo) and some flip-flops. But I did decide for my Vegas flight this weekend that I would try to step up my look just a little bit. NOT because I care if someone is judging me for wearing flip-flops, but because there was no reason I couldn't. My ride was picking me up at 4:00, and I had the whole day up until then to pack and get ready. And besides, I have a lot of cute, comfortable clothes that are nice but not too fancy. I decided to dress up my travel attire for myself, because sometimes, it's fun to put in the extra effort and go out the door feeling pretty.
I was pleasantly surprised that when my friend arrived he commented almost immediately. "You look really nice," he said after saying hello; when I arrived in Vegas, my mom also commented on my nice clothing. But even more surprising was a compliment I received at the airport from a fellow passenger as we waited to board. An older man, maybe 55 years old, spoke to me in a thick European accent. "I meant to make you a compliment when you sat earlier," he said. "You dress very nicely. My daughter dresses very like that - classy but feminine and just nice. I like very much." I was quite taken aback, but thanked him for his comment and walked away feeling quite smiley.
While I'm not sure I'm ready to totally give up the idea of comfort clothes on airplanes, I'm not quite as against the nicer clothing as I was before. When I have the time and inclination, I'll probably remember how this trip went and put in a little extra thought and care to what I put on for my travels. Though I still say that unless someone's paying me money, I am not voluntarily sitting in a crowded airplane in a skirt suit.
Even if it does make me look particularly fabulous.
What do y'all wear when you travel? Does it matter if you're traveling for business or pleasure? Do you judge others for what they wear? Do share - that's why the comments are there.