i think back to a few lines in a former katie post, that highlighted some key indicators she was moving to adulthood (e.g. making the bed each morning, and wiping the lipstick off the juice carton before company come. thanks for the consideration btw). while always making me laugh, it also got me to think that i, too, have started to engage in ritual activities that move my maturity status up from confused tweenie to sophisticated woman (though there’s still a loooong way to go before the latter happens!). the ritual of applying cream after showering, and always having a bottle of white wine in the fridge are activities never on my radar before i started paying my own rent. one of my most recent notes of adulthood came from changing my travel attire from a proud-to-not-have-done-laundry-for-three-weeks to a hey-you-can-bump-my-sophisticated-lady-self-up-to-business-class-and-noone-would-know-it’s-all-a-lie. now, i know that when you travel you want to be comfortable: to be able to curl up in your seat, maybe do a few yoga stretches between connecting flights. but, like anything in life, you can find a balance. work and play. love and hate. and yes, even comfort and style.
my change in attitude started when i realized that every time i stepped on a plane there was a whirlwind of possibility. no, not of what awaits on the other end silly! possibility of who i could be wrestling for the arm rest, or whose dessert i would eye as they decided to leave it on the tray. perhaps it would be the country director for a renowned ngo, sad that they hadn’t found a suitable project manager to hire. or, do i dare dream, an irish doctor on their way for their 5th placement in a rural camp placed close enough to a beach, but far enough from danger! in the words of will from will and grace, one should always dress right when traveling internationally. but 14+ hour flights, not including airport travel, wait time, and connections, wouldn’t make anyone run towards their prom shoes and a sundress. sigh, what to do?
i know many of you revel in the comfort of yoga pants, and would never dare to forget your wooly socks. my pre-grown up style for flights: cargo pants (side pockets provided for quick passport showings), fake birkenstock sandals so that i could (gasp) wear socks with to keep the toes cozy, and easily slip them on for a potty break (which, if you know me, you know is a major concern). the bag would be a backpack, usually ripping at the seems, and soaked in the muck found on hostel and public bus floors. but now, ladies and gents, lets fast forward and document some ways that we can ensure we stay true to our fabulous and fashionable selves, while still hugging our inner freshman whose best friend is a hoodie:
this is a picture of me, in my travel clothes, upon arrival back in asia. note; the enthusiasm is because i took the picture 1 week and 1 jet lag recovery later.
when preparing your style travel you need to consider:
1. comfort for pulling up your legs, contorting ones body for naps, and the pre-connecting flight yoga stretch.
b. the weather before, during, and after your flight. going from a winter sprung city to a tropical havana, while getting there in a stale cooler, with the option of your luggage not meeting you, does require some tact. and
*. what kind of trip it is. if its for work, you need to remember that while boasting about your uber-cool job that lets you rack up the air miles, you may encounter who doesn’t know where to go for the best local cuisine. if its for pleasure, you do have more leniency to rub in this fact to the business tripper but don’t forget you may get seated next to a lovely solo traveler looking for someone to join them in an odyssey of the countries most taboo cuisine.
taking all these items into consideration, i came up with this:
1. comfort! found in the foundation: the pants. or in this case, tights! for many people the yoga pant serves its purpose not only on the sticky mat, but on the plane too. let me tell you, there are options! i used to reject the notion of stirup pants. i silenced my inner 80s child when they resurfaced, believing i still hadn’t earned enough hipster status to pull it off. but i converted when the frustration of pulling down my riding up tights got the better of my protest. the comfort and warmth they provide are key when you realize your inner contortionist. here i chose black, for me important not just for slimming, but more for when i inevitably spill the rice from my veggie meal on my lap (its always something with rice, and like the potty thing i mentioned earlier, anyone who knows me knows i’m messier than a baby in car seat) i loved these tights so much that i included a second pair in the “in case my luggage doesn’t make it” clothes i carry in my handbag. more on the handbag later.
2. shoes! no more hippie mippie for me! i had these shoes made in vietnam for about 10$, as i couldn’t find any other shoes to fit my western foot. i always recommend shoes that can be easily slipped on and off, and still allow for some sock room on the plane. these are not only comfy, but give a dressy impression while not compromising comfort. you getting where i’m going with all this?
3. the top! this was bought while our beloved chels was showing me the ropes of thrift shopping in her town (though that town is not recognized by google maps, so i still doubt its existence). the colour is in my usual palates, and the softness is uber-desirable. its extra room encourages you to forgo the regular-size toblerone for the large one, and doesn’t restrict movement when doing a few between flight yoga poses. i have a tank top on underneath, for the autumn canada and in-flight coolness. but when i arrive i can easily dispose of it, and the shirt is billowy enough to allow for maximum ventilation. its also something that i would (and will) wear on a regular basis, as i favour empire shirts and quarter sleeves. and it makes me feel pretty, which is, after all, the first rule of style according to sarah. the second rule of style, is that it should make you feel pretty. got both of those?
4. for extra warmth and style, i also suggest two things: one, a jacket or sweater that’s easy to move in (note mine here) and never doubt the upped class factor with a fancy scarf.
5. not so easily seen are a few light accessories. my tried and true “sarah” in arabic necklace, and evil eye pendant because i’m beyond superstitious and need all the travel luck i can find. a watch (a must to track flight time, though don’t forget to update the time when you arrive. running to your connecting gate cause you failed to do so is not so much fun) and a silver ring i bought in mexico, and have lost and found more times than i can imagine (including 5 mins ago) but yet it always re-appears.
6. the bag. this one was influenced by chelsie on our trip to see katie last year. the notion of something other than a backpack for travel seemed odd, but i loved how stylish the look was. you have to pick one that can easily carry all your hand luggage needs: your laptop and any other electronics including their charge cords (never ever ever put in checked luggage! foolish people, trust the jester!), booka, magazinea, toiletry bag, facecloth, ipod or any other music listening device, passport holder, a spare set of clothes and undies, eye glass case, and of course, a few snacks (buying toberlerone or any other fancy dark chocolate from the duty free is one of my airport rituals never to be missed. like how some sports players don’t wash their jocks all season…hmm, maybe not…) the only grunts i have with a one shoulder bag is that it can strain an already tired back if its too heavy. but most airports have trolleys you can take from the duty free stores so pre-departure wandering can be enjoyable. and some also have quick massage booths, so treat yourself!
and that’s that people! i would love to know your travel style, so please comment what normally makes the cut when planning your trips. i hope i have been able to give you some pointers, and i am happy happy to pick up a few from you.
remember, you don’t have to forgo style just to be comfy. there’s a reason they say “its not about the destination, but the journey.” treat planes, trains, and automobiles as part of the fun of it all! mr. steve martin did it, and so can you.