Airport Casual

airport Casual

While I don’t go to airports seeking fashion inspiration, GOOD GRIEF, AMERICA!

People go about in clothing that they have no business leaving the house in!

Seriously, if I wasn’t home alone, I would even put on a robe over some of the “outfits” my fellow flyers wear in the name of “comfort”.

This is something I am particularly sensitive to as a Westerner having spent time in Southeast Asia.

I can understand a fair amount of Thai and Lao, and I can hear their impressions of the disgustingly “casual” western tourist.

The phrase “falaang kee nok” sums it up: it means, uh, “bird dookie Westerner.” Yeah. Wash your hair, you nasty backpacker!

But back to air travel fashion faux paux. The most common offense: sweat suits. The airport is not a fitness club.

CIMG2293I promise that you will not be on a treadmill at any point during your flight.

Even worse: sweat suit in which the jacket is the only top to the ensemble. Are you seriously naked under that jacket? Have you no shame?

There is a lot of area that exists between “formal wear” and “should only be sold in the sleepwear section”.

Yeah, I said it.

You can in fact dress both comfortably AND presentably.

CIMG1968That way, fellow travelers don’t have to look away hurriedly to avoid embarrassment.

I even dress my children presentably to fly. I feel that it shows respect to those around us, plus if you dress like a hobo, you aren’t going to get to upgrade to business class.

Keys for airport casual dressing success:

Consider the ways you will be moving: sitting, bending to pick up luggage, walking to your gate.
Choose a top and bottom that covers your muffin top and butt crack in all of these positions, at all times.

Think of clothing that can give you that “sweat pants feeling” without the “sweat pants look”.

Ladies, how about a loose top or short dress over leggings or a below-the-knee knit skirt? This will do way more for your figure than a velour sweat suit or yoga pants.

Inspiration: Wandermom’s first foray away from the world of flying in yoga pants.

Men, you are not off the hook. Step away from the track pants. Get some trousers that fit properly. Is there enough fabric in the butt region to hold a sizeable load? Yeah. That means they are too big.

Footwear can meet all of these requirements without being crocs or uggs:
(Seriously) Easy-on, easy-off, comfortable to walk in, and looks awesome.
As an expat I missed the whole Ugg boots trend and am truly horrified to see them paired with…well, anything, except a dog sledding uniform.
Consider the climate change. And I don’t mean global warming.
I’m talking about when the cabin is too hot to breathe before take off, and a frozen tundra two hours later.
Solutions: a structured blazer, a cardigan sweater, a fashionable scarf.
Not solutions: knitted afghan, nylon jacket, ski coat.
Accessories are important.
Consider: is this going to set off the metal detector? Is this bag big enough for my travel documents and snacks, yet small enough to be my carry-on?
Don’t forget sunglasses for when you are leaving the airport. I hate hailing a cab when I can’t see.


Guiding questions for selecting clothing to wear on an airplane:

-Would I normally wear this in daylight? Or is this outfit better for watching movies by myself on my futon?

-There will be people in the airport. Do I want people do see me while wearing this?

-When I wear this, does any part of my body hang out in an inappropriate way, in any position I might expect to have to maneuver?

-Might people assume that I am on my way to the gym or track meet?

-Will this look inspire airport and flight personnel to treat me with respect? Or disdain?

-Could these clothes be considered culturally or morally offensive at my destination?

Your assignment: next time you travel, look smart! Share your triumph with me.

Get inspiration from real people for whom fashion is effortless. Captured via The SartoriaList, these ensembles are usually quite practical.

4 Responses

  1. Lauren
    Lauren August 16, 2010 at 6:58 am |

    Well said, Mom Most Traveled. I, too, am often disgusted and a bit embarrassed by Americans’ lack of style in airports. Yuck.

    I especially love your “guiding questions”.

  2. WanderMom
    WanderMom August 16, 2010 at 9:30 am |

    Cracking up at this :)

  3. Diana
    Diana August 16, 2010 at 11:47 pm |

    Don’t forget to mention the adults carrying a stuffed animal and full size pillow for the flight. I think those can be left at home.

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