Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekly (Ha!) Feature #10

DISCLAIMER: This is a modified, updated version of an entry we originally did last year.

"J" is for...JOURNEYING.

With heartfelt apologies to
ayem8y, we decided to forego jewelry as our tenth topic: honestly, our thoughts on the subject of gentlemen and jewelry are so terse and concise* (*In a word: don't. Unless you are as swankily chic as Niki de Gunzburg, or ayem8y [and so few of us are], take our word for it: you cannot carry it off.), that it hardly seemed worthwhile for us to devote an entire entry to it.

NIKI DE GUNZBURG BY HORST

No, what concerns us here is the topic of journeying - or, rather, what one wears on that journey. Once upon a time, people really did dress like Bette and Paul did when they went traveling: perhaps not as glamorously as they would have if Orry-Kelly had been designing their togs, but you get the idea: jacket and tie for gents, suits for ladies, hats for everyone.

FIRST PORT OF CALL: PAUL HENREID AND BETTE DAVIS TAKE IN THE BRAZILIAN SIGHTS IN NOW, VOYAGER (1942)

Somewhere along the line, people stopped dressing for travel. Nowadays, when we fly, we feel like weary, disapproving chaperones of a large combination slumber party and fraternity beer blast; the "ladies" all in pajamas, velour, and yoga pants, with the "gentlemen" in dirty tee shirts, shorts, and flip flops.

THE AMERICAN WAY OF GETTING PLACES, c. 1939: WILL IT EVER RETURN?

We understand, we really do. No one wants to be uncomfortable when they travel, particularly if it's a long international flight. Even if it isn't, dealing with surly security agents, cramped seating and endless delays can wrack your nerves. But that doesn't mean that any of us really want to see you in your pajamas, sans makeup. If we did, we would have married you.
OUR DREAM WEDDING TO AYEM8Y, WITH JASON, MISTRESS MJ, AND JILL IN ATTENDANCE

So, with your indulgence, permit us to share what we do when we travel abroad, which is typically a 9 hour flight. We normally travel twice a year, and our "uniform" rarely varies:
  • Comfortable, well-tailored trousers in dark, tropical weight wool: black, or ideally, navy or charcoal. They won't show wrinkles as much as lighter colors, such as khaki, would. And need we mention that they shouldn't be overly baggy (you'll look as if you're wearing a Hefty bag after a few hours) or fashion-victim tight (you'll have blood clots in your thighs after a few hours on a plane)?
  • A clean, freshly pressed dress shirt. Stick with classic, basic white, or a simple check or stripe - nothing too loud or garish. Think worst-case scenarios here: would you mind wearing this shirt if the rest of your luggage never made it to your final destination? 
  • A lightweight V-neck or cardigan sweater. This is essential! For starters, the sweater won't show wrinkles nearly as badly as your shirt. Furthermore, airplanes can get ridiculously cold, no matter the season. Ideally, your sweater should be a thin wool or cashmere, which will better stand up to wrinkling.
  • A coordinating sport coat. Should you be subjected to the nightmare of having your luggage lost, you at least will still have a sport coat at your disposal, which is a safeguard business travelers would be even wiser to adhere to. May we suggest the indispensible, classic navy blazer? Even on the rare occasions when we don't actually wear a blazer, we carry one over our arm. (It would also be wise to pack the most expensive shoes you'll be taking in your carry-on, along with a fresh change of underwear, a clean shirt, and a different pair of trousers.)
  • In the spring and summer, a lightweight raincoat. In colder weather, an all-weather overcoat. These can be carried over your arm; packed neatly in your carry-on; stored in your overhead compartment; or, if you have a particularly accomodating cabin crew, hung in the closet for the duration of the flight.
  • Comfortable shoes. This does not include flip flops or sneakers. Either driving shoes or very flexible lace-ups that are more pliable, and easy to get on and off, would be your best bet. As mentioned above, put the best, dressiest shoes you'll be traveling with in your carry-on.
  • Small, travel- or sample-sized versions of face cleanser, moisturizer, toothpaste, and a disposable travel toothbrush. Also, a clean washcloth and a ziploc bag. Before landing, we duck into the lavatory, wash our face, brush our teeth, and throw the washcloth back into the ziploc. We also heartily recommend Fresh's Lotus Eye Gel, which instantly combats circles and puffiness; and Cosmedicine's Medi Matte, which battles shine like nobody's business. And both of these products are packaged in small, convenient, regulation-friendly tubes. Also, Visine eye drops are absolutely essential.
  • Sunglasses. Because even with the eye gel and Visine, you may need them.

  • Put it all together, and voila! This is how we roll:

    EN ROUTE TO VENICE'S LEONARDO DA VINCI AIRPORT

    Of course, once you reach your destination, it is entirely your prerogative to doff your traveling duds and just relax:
    We also make sure that we are scrupulously clean and pressed before ever setting foot on the airplane to begin with; and everything that we pack is also freshly laundered, cleaned, and pressed. For extra insurance against sloppiness, we also pack a travel-size iron and steamer. Don't laugh; but we do feel that when we travel, particularly abroad, we are, in a way, representing The American Tourist in general. If we can combat that largely negative stereotype in any way, we are glad to do so!


    BON VOYAGE!

    14 comments:

    1. Totally agree with you!!!
      My first flight was in 1970, a very short 40 minutes flight, and everybody was dressed up!!! And in Argentina!!!
      Since then I always try to wear something special, elegant...but the fellow travellers don't think the same...

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    2. Darling you have such a good memory. Honestly I’ve pared my jewelry wearing down lately (it simply is bad taste to be ostentatious during the depression) from the eight carat diamond Harry Winston ear baubles, dual four carat diamond finger blinders, antique rose gold Rolex bubble-back chronometer, and an enormous ploy-jeweled crucifix, down to just my wedding ring from a few weddings back. People look at my hands and say, “I don’t see a wedding ring on your finger?” Then I unzip my pants and let them have it with my platinum eighty-five carat diamond encrusted crusty cock ring!

      BTW - I have loved this glamour photo of Niki since the first time I saw it in Billy Baldwin’s autobiography way back in junior high. I had a friend recreate it starring me.

      I miss the days of glamour travel as well. Just too many people these days. WAY too many people that were obviously raised in a barn watching to much MTV.

      My first flight was in 1975 to a ski resort and all the ladies were dressed to the hilt in fur coats. Lots of head scarves and Russian style fur hats. I felt like I was in a Bette Davis movie.

      I’m positively thrilled to be the new Mr. and Mr. TJB but where is my new engagement cock ring?

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    3. Too true, helas. Well done, my lad. And beautifully turned-out (your clothes, not your feet).

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    4. Couldn't agree more. Also the great thing about the jacket is, with those extra pockets, more storage for immediate needs (passport, wallet, lip conditioner, breath mints, etc.)that saves you from fishing around the carry on.

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    5. sadly, majority rules and the majority are not wealthy. and they have no manners. and they reproduce.

      another reason why we LOVE to make our travel destination SSUWAT!

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    6. Darling, whatever you do, you won't want to miss this. Trust me!

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    7. Hi TJB,
      When you sail back to earth, I would just like to let you know that you have been awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award-the details are found here. (Please pardon the spelling, it arrived on my blogstep with that eccentric spelling).

      I love your blog and all the journeys, imaginary and aesthetic, you create here.
      All the best,
      Moira

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    8. You should know better than to let me near the cake.

      *refrains from posting cake link in consideration of your more sensitive readers*

      I want to see you place the ring on Ayem8y's ... well, let's just say I want to see the exchange of rings. If his "finger" isn't too swollen.

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    9. I may be one of your "more sensitive readers"! MJ?

      I adore water taxi's! We must go to Venice for your 1 year anniversary. They have beautiful cock rings in which you might want to upgrade. Ayem8y's wedding ring sounds like it might be painful. We'll eat risotto, ogle the Man and Horse sculpture at the Guggenheim, buy something from Fortuny and sing arias in a gondola at midnight!

      On our recent flight home from LA, my husband was discreetly ogling a tall blonde...I don't mind...I have a ridiculous amount of self-confidence...anyway, he whispers, "that's Brooke Hogan, Hulk Hogan's daughter"...she was wearing the ubiquitous velour Victoria Secret "jogging" suit with something stupid written on her ass. Tan, bleached blonde and tramp stamp...to me, she looked like most of LA...then a big, tall, black transvestite squealed and ran over and had a photo taken with her.

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    10. Yes, Jill. You are a delicate hothouse flower.

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    11. This is awsome!! Clothes to watch TV
      http://books.google.com/books?id=7UsEAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_hp#v=twopage&q=&f=false

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    12. JOTAELE - I have relatives, by marriage, from Argentina, and they are the most charming, delightful people I have ever met. They are the parents of my uncle by marriage, and invariably, Carmen [my uncle's mother] always says, "Now, let me see what you are wearing! You are so elegante [accent and emphasis hers], you look like something out of a magazine!" Is it any wonder that I adore Argentina? And, of course, my uncle (and his brother, and his father) are ridiculously handsome.

      ayem8y - I demand that you post that photo! It's one of my all-time favorites and, natch, I'm re-reading BB's memoirs right now.

      An Open Book - Don't make me paranoid; helas, my feet are my least attractive feature, and I know it!

      Felix - I can't believe I neglected to include in my litany of do's and don't's: invest in a passport case.

      Norma - Darling, I beg to differ. Air travel is fairly egalitarian, in basic economic terms, but the swath of bad taste cuts its ugly path all the way from coach to "first."

      Thombeau - You know me all too well. Spoooooky!

      Moira - Oh, you scamp!

      MJ - I live for the times when it's swollen.

      Jill - How, exactly, did you differentiate from Brooke Hogan and the big, black transvestite?

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    13. I agree with you (as you probably know) and recently reading an article about a couple who met on that plane that crashed into the Hudson and just married - starting with the fact that she was SO FABULOUSLY DRESSED AT THE AIRPORT - was another reminder. I am continually shocked at the way people dress for travel. You never know who you will meet, and you could miss the opportunity of a lifetime because of how you look. Here's to you!

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    14. Talking about flying in the past
      http://cruiselinehistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/cw84.jpgf

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