A couple of weeks ago, Antler (Who you may know as the makers of awesome luggage) challenged me to create a stylish travel outfit to go with theirEsme Small Shopper.
Now, as challenges go, this was a pretty tough one for me, because the fact is, I just don’t travel well. In ANY sense. I’ve always dreamt of being one of those elegant women who waft through the airport looking like they’re on a runway, but in my case, I tend to look more like I’ve just spent a few hours on the ACTUAL runway. As in, the one the planes take off from. Imagine what you’d look like after several hours out there in the wind and the rain, dodging all of the arriving and departing aircraft, and slowly becoming weak with hunger and exhaustion. THAT’S what I look like when I’m travelling.
The combination of getting up in the middle of the night to catch the flight, then sitting squashed in my seat for nine hours, surrounded by Others and in the grip of terror doesn’t exactly place me at the top of my game, style-wise, no it does not. With that said, however, I have developed a kind of travel “uniform” over the years, and I’ve attempted to recreate it here, albeit with a few subtle changes. I mean, I don’t generally put much effort into my hair or make-up for a flight, but no one needs to see me bare-faced and with dirty, ratty hair, so I cleaned up a bit for these photos. The outfit itself, however, is a pretty authentic version of what I wear to travel, and it consists of…
Stretchy trousers. Always stretchy trousers.
I find most airplanes to be absolutely freezing, which means skirts and dresses are totally out: it’s far too cold for bare legs, but I find tights uncomfortable at the best of times, so there’s no way I’m going to wear them for an already-uncomfortable flight. These trousers, though, are one of my favourite items of clothing ever. EVER. I wear them aaaaallll the damn time (I’m wearing them right now, as a matter of fact), and I love them because they’re so super-stretchy they’re basically as close to leggings as it gets, without actually BEING leggings. The stretch fabric also holds its shape FOREVER, so they don’t wrinkle, or sag at the knee, meaning that they finish the journey more or less the same way they started it. Unless I spill something on them mid-flight, obviously. Which, let’s face it, I probably will.
A stripey top
I don’t have a hard-and-fast rule about the top HAVING to have stripes on it, but… it does help. I have something of a stripe addiction, as some of you know, and when I’m not wearing a gigantic, pouffy skirt, I pretty much live in stripe, boat-neck tops and skinny black pants. This top is from Zara, and is one of approximately 500 such tops currently in my closet. I may need an intervention…
I hate wearing flats, seriously. I have a long torso and short legs: heels help balance me out, but flats only emphasise the stumpiness, which is why you rarely see me wear them, and also why I spent a large part of my life striding through airports in stilettos. I actually still do it from time to time, but for the most part, I tend to choose flats, just in case I have to walk a mile to the terminal, or run to catch my flight. If it’s summer, I may wear wedges instead, but it was too cold for them this week, so flats it was!
A smart(ish) jacket
Because of the “always freezing on the plane” thing, I take a thick sweater (Don’t judge me, but it’s usually my ‘San Francisco tourist” hoodie…) to wear on the flight, but I prefer to wear some kind of jacket to the airport, just so I can feel at least vaguely pulled-together. (It’s also handy to have when I land, because I’m not just cold on the plane – I’m cold pretty much everywhere, and even if I’m flying somewhere hot, I’ll need something to protect me from the chill of the air con in restaurants and stores) If it’s warm out, it’ll normally be a jersey blazer of some description, but, again, it was too cold for that this week: this wool jacket wouldn’t be warm enough to spend hours outdoors in, but it did keep me warm enough to take a few photos.
As for what’s in the bag…
1. Passport, ticket, credit cards etc
I cheated a bit here by not including the actual items, but one of the things I really like about this bag is the fact that it comes with a little pouch inside, which clips onto the bag, so that when I go through my regular “OMG WHERE IS MY PASSPORT?” panic (roughly every ten minutes, then), I’ll be able to find it really quickly, without having to rummage through a giant bag, panicking all the while.
Because, The Others. ‘Nuff said.
With earbuds, so I can listen to music if the earplugs don’t manage to drown out all the noise.
I get through at least one novel on a long-haul flight… I’m a really nervous flier and can’t seem to concentrate on the movies they show, so reading is the only thing that will take my mind off the fact that I’m hurtling through the sky inside a tin can.
5. Miscellaneous make-up etc
This little bag comes with me everywhere and contains the products I like to have with me at all times: normally a lip balm and concealer, my contact lenses, some hair ties, plus things like painkillers and hand sanitiser (I’ve had so many flights which ended in me spending the first few days of my holiday with a streaming head cold that I’m now really anal about hygiene on planes, and in airports…). Oh, and lipstick, to be applied just before landing, so I can look semi-alive when I finally disembark. I can’t take too many liquids, obviously, due to the safety regulations, so these are just a few things that help me keep me looking/feeling alive).
I forgot to include them in the photo, but I don’t leave the house without them, because my eyes are so light-sensitive they’ll be squinting and watering at the slightest hint of sunlight. I obviously don’t wear them on the plane, but I know I’ll need them the second I disembark, so they’re never far away!
Aaaaand that’s it: everything you never wanted to know about my travel habits. Now I just need a vacation, in order to put all of this into practice…
What do you wear to travel?