If my grandfather taught me one thing- ok, there’s also the lesson he taught me about working hard, the joys of gardening, the importance of frugality and many other nuggets of life lessons- it’s to always dress your best while travelling. I have distinct memories of my grandfather’s pressed pants and jacket and polished shoes as we stood in airport security for our trip to Italy six or so years ago, he was the best dressed non-European on the flight. Honestly my grandfather never sat me down to tell me: Grandchild, if there’s one thing I’m going to teach you it’s to dress your best while travelling. It’s just one of those things that I absorbed from being with him- I also absorbed that Rumsfeld was a jackass and that cutting pot roast with an electric blade is scary.
The question is why is it so important to dress snappily while driving, boating, planeing or training around the globe? I can think of a few reasons.
The first is the image that you are trying to convey. When you dress sharp you convey to those around you that you are a serious traveler and not some putz who is going to complain that the steward won’t make him a ninth martini. You should (depending on your idea of dressing nicely) convey a certain calmness that is much needed in these current travel times. Now I’m not saying that you’re going to get through customs easier or that you’ll get a free drink at the Amtrack cafe car but you just might get a cute security guard to give you a friendly fondle instead of a painful prod.
My other reason for dressing up is simply the fact that we don’t have enough time to dress up. Maybe it’s simply northern Vermont speaking but shouldn’t we take advantage of every opportunity to break out the pearls and green polyester pants? (Everyone has their own ideas of dressing nicely, alright?)
Which begs the question as to why I was wearing a slightly torn sweater and far too short tweed pants on the southbound Amtrak today.
Yesterday in class I was planning my outfit. Brown slip on shoes. Socks (rather dressy for me). Tweed pants. Belt to keep said pants up. Tight yellow Shakespeare shirt. Purple cardigan. Owl necklace from Belize. Kinda-tartan-or-maybe-plaid scarf. As I started packing last night the first fatal flaw reared its ugly head: Where the Hell was my purple cardigan? I searched high and low, bathroom to sleeping room, it was no where to be found. And while this did remind me that piling my clothes around the room based off of when they were last washed is not the most efficient method of storing clothes I never found that damn cardigan. With a sigh I consigned myself to the soft green knit sweater and no necklace (the colors would be all weird with the green).
This morning the second fatal flaw struck. My tweed pants come down to an inch or two above my ankles. They may be lovely pants but they look like I’m wearing short pants and I feel ridiculous wearing them. What does that leave me with?
Brown suede shoes, kinda matching brownish socks, too short tweed pants, Ben and Jerry’s vintage tee, fuzzy green sweater with faux crest on it, kinda-not-really-tartan scarf worn loose, and my adorable face. All in all not my worst outfit. Unless I stand up. If I stand up I look like Urkel.