20-40-60 Etiquette: What to wear on a plane?
QUESTION: What should you wear when traveling by plane? I have noticed people don’t dress up like they used to. Some travelers don’t dress appropriately for such a confined space. Really, short shorts and no shoes?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Today, it is much more of a relaxed look where ever you are. No shoes walking through the airport though, yuck! Can you imagine the germs? In regard to short shorts, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: This may be truly a generational thing. I like traveling comfortably and casually through the airport these days. However, on a recent trip one of my teenagers took that look to a new level, barely getting out of PJs and dressing for the airport in athletic shorts as if going on a long car ride and planning to sleep the whole way. One of my other two children couldn’t imagine why I would question that attire. When I was young, we dressed up for plane trips. Today I am a little more casual, but I would rather keep the just-rolled-out-of-bed look at home, especially since airports are such public places. Since “because I said so” isn’t enough of an explanation for my teens, I would love to have solid reasons to tell my children why they should make a little bit of an effort beyond the almost-pajama look for the airport, even if it is 7 a.m. when they depart.
HELEN’S ANSWER: People definitely dress for comfort when traveling, but I still think they should have a put-together look. It is still good manners to look your best when going out in public, even if you have to spend the night in the airport. Wear slip on shoes in case they need to be scanned. It is always good to have a jacket or sweater with you. Dark colors are best for traveling.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Jane Jayroe Gamble, former Miss America and television news anchor: When I traveled as Miss America in 1967, I was required to wear a suit or dress, hat and gloves. It was surely a different time. Casual attire while traveling is practical and welcome to most of us.
Walking long distances in the airport, sitting for extended periods of time in a small space, and the other challenges of travel make comfortable clothes a good option. When traveling, I recommend loose clothing in a color that doesn’t show a spilled drink from turbulence, sturdy shoes because it’s easy to be injured running through airports. They don’t have to be ugly. And bare feet can get very cold even in the summer on an air-conditioned airplane. Also, a light sweater is always good to have. With today’s fashion choices, travel can be practical and still be attractive.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.