I’ve noticed a decline in the way people appear in public especially why they travel. It appears more to be a lack of fashion sense then a matter of money. Do you get dressed nicely to fly?
Answer by Raakhee Venugopal:
I boarded a flight for the first time at the age of 2. And I have been shuttling frequently between India and the Middle East for a couple of decades now. Your observations are largely true. I remember how it was back in the days when buying a new dress for travel was almost customary. New dress. New shoes. I used to look like little Amelia Jane during the initial days of my flight journeys. I had a lot of dresses frightfully similar to this one…
Needless to say, I used to get shoe bites and rashes at times. But it was not supposed to matter as looking impeccable was of utmost importance. When we landed at the airport, I remember mom brushing my hair down and powdering my face just before we got off the aircraft. The first appearance had to be one commanding admiration. And not a lot a people had gone overseas back then. Traveling was a big deal and traveling outside the country was an even bigger deal. Anyone who returned home on vacations, etc. were looked at like they were some exotic beings who just landed on earth 😀
But as I got older, my perspectives started to change. I ditched formal frocks for more comfortable jeans and tees. I ditched my pretty shoes for sneakers or floaters. No powder. No perfume. Not even a bit of make-up. I could have passed for having just gotten out of bed to go buy a bottle of milk at the nearby grocer’s. I guess my attitude had a lot to do with my coming of age process. It was all a part of the great teenage days rebellious stage that we all go through.
I have changed much since. I don’t say I dress in complete formals while traveling now, but I see to it that I groom myself well. I have observed a marked difference in the attitude of the airport staff towards a well-dressed person and towards a casually dressed person. I have observed this subtle discrimination particularly among South Asians. I don’t know why this exists, but it certainly does. Strange as it may seem, the airport staff are a lot more courteous to well-dressed passengers than they are to the others.
Like I said earlier, traveling has become a lot less ‘uncommon’ now. People don’t gawp at airplane passengers when they stand in a queue to enter the airport or when they come out of the airport anymore. Comfort has taken the place of class. And people have almost stopped caring about looks. People have understood that it is better to look like you’re on a hiking trip and be comfortable, than to look like you’re going to a royal ball and be uncomfortable as anything.
As for me, personally, I try to strike a balance. I go in for semi-formals, a comfortable pair of shoes (certainly not new ones) and dab on a little long stay make-up. Does the job quite well, I must say.
And airport fashion is quite a thing back home these days. The standard formula is pretty simple – jeans/trousers, style statement tees, branded sunglasses (even at night!) and snazzy shoes. Yup!