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At that time it was gone. Where the Concorde used to be, there are now guards screaming to empty their pockets. If you spend a small amount of money in a first class seat, champagne is served in a glass, but most often it’s a brutal white wine in a plastic cup.
So yes, good days of travel are behind us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t play our part. That means striving to bring some dignity to the trip, even if everything around us feels more corrupt. In other words, put on your vest. Well, at least slightly better than you, if not your best.
Travel can be a challenge, but it doesn’t hurt any of us dressing up. why is that? Because you’re telling your fellow passengers what you’re trying to do — it’s a good habit whenever you’re in public. When you see someone dressing up, you can see that they are trying hard rather than doing the bare minimum.
The plane is not a gym, so don’t dress to exercise. If your clothes are elastic, they don’t belong to places where others aren’t deliberately breathing hard. Similarly, why is the airport spread across the floor like a picnic when it’s not a park? And is the airport floor really a place to stay in touch while eating?
My personal travel wardrobe is not complicated. Sports coats, ties (when going to big cities), Oxford cloth shirts and corduroy pants are fabrics that can withstand wear without wrinkles. And loafers — easy on, easy off. Consider the editor of a British literary magazine whose readership is declining.
If your flight is long, loosen your tie. If the flight is really long, throw away the coat. It’s true that you can’t relax without clothes, but there’s nothing about these clothes that is the exact opposite of comfort.
Yes, flights are long and delays make them long, but a little effort can help a lot. It’s refreshing to look good to gate agents and flight attendants (by the way, doing all this in suits), and to your fellow passengers. We welcome people with eye contact, smiles, and gentle words.
Now I imagine you are saying, “Get a man in the modern, informal world!” I think this is a losing battle, but it’s still a good battle. If a sweatpants is your truth, there is nothing else I can say, except that no one in the history of the world looks good on a sweatpants.
But if that doesn’t upset you, keep this in mind: A few years ago, an airline said that an airline could upgrade people in attractive clothes to their gate agents. I made it clear. I don’t know if that’s really true, but even the mere possibility should inspire you to dress in conflict.
David Coggins Author of “Men and Style”. His current book is “Optimist: An Example of Fly Fishing Life”.