What happened to traveling in style?
By MAR JENNINGS
Think about this: you have in your hot little hands the tickets for your trip to … Florence… Paris… Barcelona… San Francisco… Boise. You’re packed, your passport is safely tucked away, your itinerary has been checked and confirmed, and your ride is outside, waiting for you. The details of your trip are all organized. It’s a go! Vacation!
Oh, no, no, no! Wait one pretty, little minute there. Where are you going in that outfit? Sweats? Sneakers? A wrinkled shirt? Hold on now, we have lots of work to do. This is no way to start your trip, nevertheless end one. The art of traveling should be done in style and with sophistication, regardless of where you’re going.
For as long as I can remember, I have traveled. For equally as long, I have prepared all necessary items and details prior to flying – including what I am going to wear. This started for me at an early age when my mother would explain to me and my brothers the importance of putting together our clothes for our vacations. Of course, at the top of her list was how to dress appropriately, handsomely, and respectfully – for ourselves and whomever we would come into contact with. I appreciate this gift of proper organization and attention to not only what is being put in the bags, but also what is being draped on our backs.
The time and effort you put into arranging your trip absolutely warrants the consideration of how you dress for this occasion. Don’t you want to begin your adventure looking your absolute best? Well, I sure you do and I want that for you too!
That said, let’s take a look at what has been corrupting the fantastic element of traveling these days. Namely, slovenliness. I do not understand, whether traveling for business or pleasure, why people will go to great lengths to prepare their trips and then saunter off in workout clothes. Do you know what I mean? Wear your workout clothes to the gym for your athletic endeavors, not the airport. It is such an unhappy event to arrive and be seated in the waiting area with so many looking like they just got out of bed. In my book, if you look like an unmade bed, you’re going to feel like an unmade bed. And how do you think that is going to portray you?
In addition to the public’s lethargy, I feel the relaxation of the airlines regarding their own employees’ looks is a major culprit in this crisis. The early formal uniforms that began the glamour days of travel have become much too casual. It seems to me even the once-lovely members of the customer service counters no longer give a hoot about their appearance. This troubles me greatly – but that, my friends, is another fish to fry (in a future article; I can’t wait to do that one!).
I recently traveled with my dear friends, Lori and Jason, and their two children, to Florida, and because it was the first time traveling with this family, I was not quite sure what to expect. Thinking back, I can proudly say, “They’ve got it going on.” This is what I remember most. Both of the children, ages 9 and 13, and the parents looked fabulous. I was proud to be part of their family vacation for that week, as the outfits kept getting better and better. I loved that Lori not only looked stylish and fresh but was careful to reapply her lip gloss after every meal. Good shoes, good hair, and the perfect accessories always accentuated her grace. As for the men, Jason and I held our own with our well-packed wardrobe. There was, even more, interest for what else? Shopping for clothes. This family knows just how to travel with the kids while never sacrificing style. Love that!
Now, to truly understand Mar Jennings, you should know that I love dressing my best. Whether in the garden working or dressing for a casual charity event, I love not only pulling it all together but planning for it. I even enjoy shopping for clothes. I’m fast, I find the deals, and I enjoy transforming myself and my friends into our better-dressed selves. I thank my mother and those old girlfriends in the ‘80s for letting me fine-tune my early fashion skills. I’m now referred to as an expert in this field. That said, I can help you fly both comfortably and attractively.
Putting that first foot forward in a neat, comfortable loafer or walking shoe is the beginning of presenting yourself appealingly. Pair those great looking shoes with a crisply pressed button-down shirt, slacks, and an all-around jacket and you’re pretty much set. Layering is one of the keys to flying in comfort. It does get chilly on airplanes, so bring a fine-knit sweater that is thin and easy to roll up in your hand baggage or wrap around your shoulders for a look I personally love. Cashmere is an excellent choice and looks great with just about everything.
Ladies, camisoles and lovely tanks work beautifully under a blouse, V-neck sweater or cardigan. Be sure the fit is just right. Your clothes should fit well and look appropriate for a first-time meeting. You might want to include some lovely accessories to add a touch more elegance, but keep in mind, getting through security these days has become quite a project. Be ready to slip your shoes and belts off so as to make a speedy pathway for yourself and those on line behind you. It is nice to be nice. Again, simple but charming outfits even make this part of traveling a breeze.
Before you rise in objection, take a look at how dressing well for traveling is a benefit to you and your fellow travelers. In many ways, the manner in which you present yourself is the way in which you’ll be treated. I remember one time at the age of 25, working in Darien for a telecommunication company: a new client to the company approached me, assuming I was the manager entirely because of the way I was dressed. The customer admitted as much and added that if I wasn’t the manager, I should be because I certainly knew how to dress for the job! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so, by all means, give them flair and good taste.
Admit it: when you look good, you feel good, and that energy exudes from you. And when that happens, those around you treat you well. Don’t you find that you also have more patience and confidence when you are nattily dressed, not to mention graciousness? It’s true! And what could be nicer than sitting next to someone, whether in the waiting area or on the flight, who you can see has taken the time to be respectful to themselves and others by taking care in their manner of dress? It is by far a nicer experience to be with and near someone who has thought about how they are presenting themselves. I, for one, truly appreciate their effort and will often compliment them for their looks. Even more importantly, it is up to us to teach the next generation how to travel well and stylishly. We owe it to them and to the world. Please!
Always keep in mind, with the amazing array of clothing options these days, there is no shortage of fine looking, well-made, and reasonably priced fashion that offers comfort and style. You owe it to yourself to present yourself in a manner befitting you; you totally deserve the great look which gets you off the runway in style. Come fly with me across oceans, mountains, deserts, and brightly lit cities to explore all ends of the world. Well-dressed, of course.
So the next time you’re ready to travel, consider my simple advice. Looking your best will make us all look good.