Quite Continental Charm School: Day 11 — Travel Elegantly
11/02/2012 § 8 Comments
The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Image via The Nationaal Archief in The Hague.
Day 11: Travel Elegantly
It isn’t a revelation that clothing has become much more informal over the past half century or so. While I definitely don’t advocate a return to outdated social mores, I do believe that missing from much of the fashion one observes on the street today is a certain sense of pride, a certain je ne sais quois, and that it is high time for a revival.
It used to be that the event of travel was occasion to look exceptional, and rightly so — a trip was a special treat, an exciting adventure. Travellers endeavored to put their best foot forward as they explored new territories. You can find countless old pictures of women in gloves and men in hats, boarding trains and ships and airplanes. Comparing those pictures to the houses of horrors that are now our airports and train stations, can be bit difficult to reconcile.
Therefore, today’s tip suggests that it is charming to travel elegantly:
- First the restricted items: No tracksuits, no pajamas, no leggings as pants, no boxer shorts as shorts, no basketball shorts, no yoga wear, no slippers, no Uggs, no flip flops. None of them. Never. Not to travel in (and some never ever). If you can’t manage to put real clothes on your body, you really ought to stay home until you can. Your aim should be for timeless, elegant clothes that will travel well.
- Most months (excepting winter), you will need to travel with a lightweight coat, something that can be tucked away in the overhead easily, but cover most of your body when worn. For these needs, a basic trench is perfect. (See also: 2011’s 28 Days: The Trench)
- Layers are important, due to fluctuating temperatures. I frequently wear a scarf that can double as a wrap or lap blanket, in case of a chill.
- Slip on shoes are best, for security checkpoints and for removal while seated in miniature coach seats. Remember to bring a pair of socks in your tote if you aren’t wearing any.
- Dark trousers are key. If you are only travelling for a few hours, denim is perfectly fine — provided they don’t look like you should be weeding the garden or fronting a punk band. Best: well-fitting, straight legged, dark indigo. For longer hauls, chinos are much more comfortable.
A suggested elegant travel kit:
Burberry double-breasted trench coat
Levi’s Made and Crafted Worker blazer
J.Crew Minnie pant in stretch twill
Brooks Brothers classic fit non-iron dress shirt
Citizens of Humanity Elson straight leg jean
Aubin & Wills Emmerson cotton cardigan
DKNY croc-effect belt
Pilcro Trinket Flats, bee
J.Crew silk-cashmere wrap
Ralph Lauren keyhole sunglasses
Moynat signature tote