The Aluminium Age of Travel
Im currently in the Bolt Bus, hurtling down the highway at a zillion miles per hour (60) headed towards the real center of the universe NYC. In the months prior to my move from NY to Boston, I rode the ol’ Bolt Bus a number of times and had the chance to observe some interesting (sort of) social anthropology regarding what people choose to wear to travel. Having been in many an airport, on many a train and aboard many bus throughout my life, and having a mother for whom outward appearance was second only to a miniscule Body Mass Index in order of importance, I have some very definite (judgmental) ideas about what is and is not okay to wear when one travels.
My mother speaks fondly of the days when air travel was a luxurious experience, almost as exciting as the vacation itself. Now in our instant-oatmeal-Jet-Blue-ugly-flight-attendant society things have gone a bit off the rails in terms of the glamour and sanctity of travel. We as a nation have enough problems without perpetuating the stereotype of Americans as tacky, loudmouth, obese sneaker-wearers. When in doubt black and white are a great fallback, as is jeans a cardigan and some decent shoes. ure, we all want to be comfortable, but you’re not in your fucking apartment people. Other folks still have to look at you.
So in the spirit of my favorite gap-toothed late night talk show host weasel, here are the Top Ten things that should be expressly forbidden to wear when you travel.
10. Flip Flops
Full disclosure: I’m wearing them right now. I know, what kind of asshole am I? A big one. I overslept and couldnt find my shoes and had to go lest I miss my bus, but rest assured I feel disgusting and I think I have disgusted my fellow passengers too. Traveling often means walking through dirty bus stations, airports and weird public bathrooms. No one wants to see the way that your bare feet are faring on that journey.
9. Fanny Pack
If you haven’t figured out a less cliched, less visually offensive, way to carry your personal effects than you have more problems than can be solved by a girth-highlighting belt/bag.
8. Strapless Anything
Unless you’re on your way to some sort of stripper convention, please don’t do it. It screams “I feed my kids popsicles for breakfast” at best and “I’m on my way to file that fifth restraining order” at worst.
7. Gym sneakers
I’m gonna make a lot of enemies with this one, because I know how important sneaker culture is, but lets get real. They don’t look cute. They make you look short and stocky and like this chick all the time. If you MUST wear your sneakers out and about, please make sure they arent the ones you wear to the gym. You’re better than that.
6. Lots of Jewelery
You just look silly–who are you impressing with all that metal? Surely not the poor people waiting behind you on line as you take your sweet ass time going through security. Cut the shit and go minimal.
Somewhere along the way, sweats stepped out of the gym and became a (somewhat) acceptable form of casualwear. It’s time we change things back. We are in an economic downturn here people–guess how you DONT climb back to the top of the capitalism ladder: By dressing like something that spent the day cleaning his St. Anthony’s medallion, lifting at Gold’s Gym and then waxing his IROC in the driveway. Ladies, that goes double for you. If you think stepping on an airplane in a pink Juicy Couture sweatsuit with flip flops and a full face of makeup is in any way okay, you better think again, cause it’s played as hell.
4. Sweats with heels
I didn’t think this was possible, but people, it is. I swear to god I saw this once. At LAX. Of course.
I shouldn’t even have to say this so I won’t. Don’t be a jackass. You’re in a public venue where anyone at all could see you, not sneaking in late to your econ lecture freshman year of college. And by the by, it really wasn’t all that cool back then either.
2. Sleeveless shirts
This one is exclusively for men, though ladies if you’re travelling longer than an hour and a half, you might want to bring a cardigan or a wrap. However, if you own and operate a pair of testicles you should never, ever ever wear sleevelss tops of any kind when you travel unless you are the guy from American Chopper, who just pulls it off so effortlessly.
1. A headset
The single most obnoxious, self-aggrandizing and offensive piece of human accessory ever invented, there is nothing more annoying than sitting next to someone on Amtrak or the bus who is wearing his headset and jawing away, seemingly into thin air and at nothing, because he can’t be bothered to pick up his actual phone, even though he is doing nothing. I say he because I see business-men types doing it most often, but I have seen many a female offender. I don’t know why it’s worse to wear a headset than to be on the phone in a small, public space because essentially the rudeness is the same–having to listen to one (usually loud) half of a strangers conversation–but for some reason it just is.