The perpetual queues, the inexplicable humidity, and the unsavory amenities. Philippine airports have long been notorious as an inescapable Calvary for travelers, blunting albeit temporarily the excitement of basking in new cultures and indulging in sensory wonders in the safety of anonymity as a tourist.
No wonder travelers in general have shunned the concept of a polished jetsetter in favor of an unapologetic vagabond, strutting around in durable Rimowas while donning an ensemble of frump best left in the darkness of one’s room with a pint of ice cream.
I may not have grandiose dreams of becoming the next big fashion blogger, nor am I interested in pretending to be an Asian Kardashian. However, I do believe that it makes practical sense to actually adopt a sensible and powerful travel wardrobe that speaks comfort while commanding a level of gravitas more than the unwashed hair of the fresh-out-of-bed look invading airports.
No, I am not talking about designer wear or dressing up like a stiff snob. I am thinking of pressed going-out clothes instead of ratty sweatpants and wrinkled sweaters. I am picturing clean flats instead of beachy flip flops. I am advocating brushed hair instead of stinky locks.
Sensible Dressing Communicates Respect
For the airport staff enduring long shifts and polarity of personalities, for the flight crew making the effort to look neat and polite, and for that portion of the traveling population harassed by a suffocating schedule, the least a traveler can do is to look like he made an effort to prepare for the occasion—and travel is actually a momentous occasion to celebrate, notwithstanding its relative affordability a decade ago. I also observed that sensible dressing uplifts one’s spirits even during red-eye flights, making warm greetings to fellow travelers and calm responses to service personnel a happy consequence.
Sensible Dressing Saves Luggage Space
From what I see, advocates of the frumpy gypsy look do subscribe to looking at least socially acceptable upon arrival at the flight destination. Why not don something that will no longer require one to change clothes upon arrival? That is one less ensemble to pack. Besides, the hassle of lining up in the destination airport’s bathroom just to redo one’s look should be enough turn-off.
Sensible Dressing Means Sporting What Works
Some may argue that for long flights, dressing up does not make sense. I beg to disagree. Sensible dressing for long flights, at least in my book, translates to foldable ballet flats, warm stretchy skinny jeans (or black leggings as pants), wrinkle-resistant button-downs (or cozy cashmere sweaters) and a coat with personality (anoraks always work). My hair is usually gathered in a messy bun or a low pony, and my face made up with tinted moisturizer, lashes curled without mascara, and lips a light gloss of pinkish nude. When the lights of the aircraft dim, I reach into my coat pocket for socks, slip off my ballet flats and wear my socks with pride as I curl up to sleep. From time to time, I re-apply moisturizer to my face, hands, and lips. Nearing touch down, touching up is a breeze with light natural makeup. If my outfit appears a tad wrinkled, hiding under a coat in cold weather or undoing an extra button under the heat offers a quick solution. Now that works. No frills, no frump. 100% comfortable, too.
I hope next time you take that plunge to travel, especially with the onslaught of Piso flights and miles conversion promos, you do a double take when you make a dash to the door. Dressing sensibly for travel not only makes the rest of the wanderlust world sparkle and saves you trouble, but also adds a spring to your step as you conquer new places in pride and confidence.