While sitting at the departure gate waiting for my Air France flight from Chicago’s O’Hare airport back to Paris last week, I was — OK, here I’m going to be brutally frank — shocked and dismayed.
I could not believe what the vast majority of the passengers were wearing and yes, I’m sorry to say, the worst offenders were women. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s simply because women have waaaaay too many options to make bad decisions that they end up decked out in the most appalling outfits.
It seems that the overriding argument for air travel attire frumpery is “comfort first.” Now, let me get this straight: Where is the contradiction between comfort and style? I’ve never been able to grasp that proposition.
Let me give you an example of a few get-ups I saw. First, my absolute favorite (I actually couldn’t believe it):
|Trust me I couldn’t make this up.|
A woman of a certain age, somewhat “ronde” as the French say, with close-cropped curly gray hair was wearing sweat Bermuda shorts — I’ve never seem them before — an orange polo shirt, a green fleece jacket and dirty, old running shoes. Her legs were bare. She accessorized with a navy canvas backpack featuring a blue and yellow abstract motif. She was probably going for that fab fashion trick of picking up a color and repeating it to pull the whole ensemble together, i.e. the yellow jacket. . .
Her husband was sporting a pair of pop jeans, I’m assuming that that is the correct description because they were basically mom jeans, but on a man, with an extra large yellow sweatshirt and dirty old running shoes. He chose to wear socks with his. He accessorized with a bulging fanny pack.
|Compared to what I was seeing, these would not be mom or pop jeans, they would be skinny jeans.|
I was so amazed by this couple that I almost missed the parade of passengers with either baggy jeans or sweats with either message t-shirts or message sweatshirts, some featuring their favorite sport teams which I’m sure was a fine way to communicate on Gallic soil.
|Puh-leese. . .|
You know where I stand on messages scrawled across one’s chest. Never after 35 unless working in the garden, painting the house, changing the oil in the car and maybe, maybe at the actual game of one’s favorite team and perhaps a charity event to show support for a cause.
And, here’s the thing: These people were traveling to Paris! Don’t they see how wrong this is? They are American ambassadors for “we don’t give a damn, they’ll never see us again” fashion.
Reputations are built and destroyed on facades. I’m sorry; it’s true. That’s just the way it is. First impressions count. Long before we can open our mouths to prove how incredibly charming we are we’ve already spoken.
My next post will be some en route travel dressing ideas which will prove the premise that comfort and chic are not mutually exclusive.