Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Traveling Stylishly Light

Stylish Travel

Last Sunday I ran across a wonderful post on an equally wonderful blog: A Suitable Wardrobe. The post dealt with the dress code that United Airlines imposes on the companions of UA personnel who are traveling aboard one of the company’s flights. It is very instructive and very useful information. Will, the blogger, goes one further giving us a glimpse of the very stylish contents of his bags.

I admit to breaking at least one of the rules myself when traveling back from Spain (carrying a statuette of a waterbuffalo — but that’s another story.) I chose a white linen shirt, and off-white linen and cotton “jeans” to wear with my tan suede Tod’s driving mocs. A little Eurotrashy perhaps, but the well-travelled Mrs. E and I were en route from the Costa del Sol where we were incredibly over-dressed…

These (summer) days I would return to my trusty blue blazer (a pain at security, but lots of extra pockets), white seersucker trousers (they’re supposed to look wrinkled…) and a pair of Belgian Shoes. Doing without the blazer, I would opt for a lightweight sweater (which can double as a scarf, if need be.)

Follow the suggestions and traveling may once again seem vaguely glamourous. Now if only I could find a great spotted red neckerchief to set off a soon-to-be acquired tan…

5 thoughts on “Traveling Stylishly Light

  1. A few months ago I saw the John Wayne movie “The High and the Mighty” 1954. Back then people dressed nicely on flights and it was an elegant experience. These days I’d rather a sweatsuit as the kid sitting next to you might succumb to a nasty case of air sickness (it did happen!). I’ll save my nice clothes for when I get off the plane.

  2. Thank you, Alan B. for your comment. I think there is a middle ground. I am a father of two children under the age of three; I gave up being wholly clean and pressed about two and a half years ago. I’m not suggesting that you wear your Sunday best (well, maybe that’s not entirely true) but a cotton blazer, or a lightweight sweater with a pair of khakis or other casual trousers would go a long way to making you about as elegant as allowable in today’s world of security screenings. I think you would be as comfortable and “bullet-proof” as you are in sweats. After all, let’s not forget that the Army used to go to war in suits!

    And if, just imagine, if the parents travelling with children began to dress a little better, maybe they’d be more cogniscent of little Johnny’s actions. (I hope they offered to pay for your dry-cleaning. Basic manners would require it.) It would signal a revolution in good taste and public behaviour.

    I am just old enough to remember when Pan Am had a lounge upstairs on their transatlantic flights. People did dress for travel then (this was the very early 70s) and I imagine that there were a fair number of hazards to be dealth with — cigarette burns, spilled drinks and airsick kids. Somehow everyone came through without resorting to gym clothes.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  3. I always thought that while a blazer may hold you up an extra moment in security, it’s more than offset by how you’re treated by strangers in general. Wear a sweatsuit and expect to be treated like a sweatsuit.

  4. This winter, I needed to travel wearing a rigid plastic back brace. Usually when I have to endure this, I wear a nice jersey dress–structured waist bands are impossible with the brace–but it was cold, wool-slacks weather….

    I was forced to fly in yoga pants. Kept picturing my grandmother rising out of her grave to slap me.

  5. I’m sure you pulled it off with much élan. You must have looked as though you were aprés ski. There are some cases when we are forced to compromise our standards. In which case we must rely on impeccable manners to carry the day.

    I’m sure Alan B., above, was very gracious in the case of the sick child beside him, regardess of the damage done to his wardrobe.

    I’m reminded of Cary Grant during the opening scenes of “Charade” when he is sprayed by a small child with water from a water pistol.

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