Monday, August 11, 2014

Airport Style

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog, as I've been traveling a lot over the past week, and am working on some big (i.e. busy and stressful, but exciting) life changes (more on that later). Anyway, wanted to dive back into things, and while I was jet-setting over the weekend, I jotted some notes down on my advice for travel attire - more specifically, for what to wear to the airport. 

Sometimes, these decisions are dictated by the occasion - if you're landing for a job interview, or a business meeting, and therefore by necessity have to travel in a suit. Other times, though, it's completely up to you. Many people take this kind of opportunity to dress purely for comfort, but my recommendation is to really think through each item and go for the most practical and useful pick, and to aim for middle-of-the-road formality, as opposed to something uber-casual (or uber-formal) that will really limit your moves straight off the plane. Here are my thoughts:

My recommendation here is a nice pair of penny loafers, or boat shoes if you want to be a bit more casual. However, what it really comes down to is anything slip-on. It's just one less thing to do while you're in line at security. 

Even though you're wearing loafers (or boat shoes) don't just go sockless. Walking around in your bare-feet on an airport floor? Disgusting, for you and for everyone else. Grab a nice pair of no-show socks and you'll be all set. 

Honestly, this probably won't make a huge difference, but I tend to reach for a ribbon D-ring belt, as it adds just a little convenience - the belt itself is quick to get on or off, and (rather than stiffer leather), rolls up nice and small (I usually just stuff mine in my shoes).

Lots of flexibility here - and speaking of which, pick a flexible fabric! Nothing wrong with traveling in jeans, but if you pick a pair with a little stretch, you'll probably be much more comfortable on the plane. Really though, chinos, jeans, trousers, whatever you feel comfortable in, as long as it matches the formality of the rest of your ensemble. I do, however, recommend against wearing white or even light khaki. You never know when you're going to hit turbulence right as your neighbor takes a sip of his red wine (I can speak from personal experience). 

I'll often go with an OCBD or some other mildly casual button-front shirt, but my real go-to is a Uniqlo x Michael Bastian button-down polo. It's sharp enough to wear with a blazer, but as comfortable as any Tee, and the pique fabric will hide the wrinkles and rumples(?) of travel much better than a crisper shirting fabric. 

It's by no means necessary, but I highly recommend wearing a jacket to the airport. First, the airport, or the plane itself, will often have some heavy-duty A/C on blast, and it's always easier to remove a layer if you're warm than it is to dig an extra layer out of your carefully packed bags. Even more-so, a blazer (or even a more casual jacket) has the benefit of lots of pockets. I can usually skip fumbling with the little change-trays at security entirely, with all of my loose items in my blazer pockets. Streamlining, folks! I alternate between a more casual, unconstructed blazer, or a light bomber if I know I'm keeping it casual once I hop off the plane.
BONUS: It's a pain to figure out how to pack a blazer without making it irreparably wrinkled and misshapen. Easiest solution? Just wear the damn thing.

To recap, a quick checklist:
  • No laces!
  • No white pants!
  • Lots of pockets!
  • No bare feet!
  • Avoid stiff and pressed!
And as usual, versatility is the name of the game!

Now, of course going through the airport in sweats and a tee is going to be the most comfortable and carefree, but I think the above outfit has some solid advantages. The biggest and most obvious is that you can step off the plane, and head right to the bar, to your friend's place, out to dinner, pretty much anything but a formal or business occasion, without having to seriously freshen up and change outfits. 

Beyond that, I just prefer to have the more secure pockets that chinos or a blazer offer, rather than sweatpants and hoodie, where I constantly feel like my most valuable and important possessions and documents are going to fall out and disappear at any moment.

I want to end with one last note (even though this is getting loooong). Someone commented on our post on fest fashion, observing that a lot of aspects of all of these different suggested outfits are the same, or at least very similar. They weren't wrong at all - in fact, I think it really demonstrates my assertion that versatility is king. Instead of picking up pieces that are only appropriate for air-travel (see some of those compression socks and 'travel' or 'packable' fabrics), or only appropriate for a music festival (band tees, crazy graphic patterns), stock your closet with things that will keep you sharp, comfortable, and collected for the widest variety of occasions. Once you have that foundation nailed, it's far easier to branch out without blowing a budget or making big style mistakes. 

Alright, how do you all head to the skies? Share in the comments!

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