The Travel Look: On Planning and Letting Go


I had planned this post to be a long and beautiful description about how to choose an idea plane outfit, complete with sparkly photos of me standing at Terminal 8 in JFK bright-eyed with the sun shining behind me.  Except, when I landed after being delayed for six hours and nearning my 20-th hour of waking, I didn’t feel so bright-eyed or like taking photos and the sun definitely wasn’t shining.  I did, however, take some photos of my outfit in the hotel before I left.  Italian light at 5-am is more black than anything else, so you’ll have to excuse the poor illumination.

You never know what’s going to happen when you travel.  As much as you might want to plan for everything in your power, something will go wrong.  It’s okay, just go with the flow.  This ‘thing that goes wrong’ might be as inconsequential as not getting an aisle seat, the plane running out of the meal you want or not having little individual television monitors on the back of each seat.  Of course, it could be something bigger like a cancelled flight, a redirection to a different airport or an unscheduled landing.

On my last flight, my perfect outfit and I were in for a surprise.  I spent days debating whether or not to wear my normal plane jeans or the comfy Lululemon pants I wore on my previous flight (they did not look like yoga pants, they were dressier.  no, really).  I wasn’t sure whether or not a popover shirt would work or whether a t-shirt would be a more comfortable option.  Should I wear a heavy sweater?  Would wearing my boots make more sense than packing them?  The list went on and on.

Ultimately, I decided as you see above.  It was a good choice, I felt good.  I felt good enough to not actually start sobbing when the pilot announced that, due to a problem with one of our radios that meant we couldn’t actually pass the atlantic lawfully or safely, we would be landing in London.  Hopefully some mechanics there would be able to fix our plane and get us home.

The things that rushed through my head were: oh my gosh this means that I’ll have to take off again, Heathrow can’t do anything to help me get home at Christmas, can they?, I just want to go home and see my parents.  Not once did I think that my shoes hurt or that I was too hot or cold.  The only time clothes crossed my mind was when I was contemplating the then very real possibility of having to sleep in the clothing I was currently wearing.  My pajamas were in my suitcase and, if we had to get off at London, who knew when I’d be reunited with that.

I really should start packing some important things like pajamas, a change of underwear and toothpaste in my carry-on.  At least I had chocolate, facial spray and nail cream.  Those things are kind of important, right?

Everything turned out fine.  The plane was simply delayed and my outfit was fine.  I was never too cold during the flight and I didn’t think once about what I was wearing.  There are too many times and too many flights were I’m preoccupied with what I’m wearing.  I want to look good, I want to feel good, but obsessing about what I’m wearing never helps me achieve either goal.  A little planning helps as does a little acceptance.

My next plane outfit?  Who knows, it will works itself out.  Travel needs an open mind and the ability to accept that whatever will be, will be.  The right outfit will work itself out and you will get where you need to go, no matter how long it takes or how unlikely it seems.

Do you like to plan your travel outfits?  What do you usually wear on planes?


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