Cleared for Take-off

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Our bags are packed. We’re ready to go. Just a few more days and we’ll be “leaving on a jet plane.” But before then I have to decide what the heck to wear to travel.
Vintage poster for Braniff airlines. Buenos Aires

I always struggle with this decision. I think a travel outfit should be comfortable, of course. And it should look half way decent. I refuse to fly in yoga pants, or sweat pants. A great travel outfit has to keep me warm on the plane, especially if we are on a long haul flight, and yet be appropriate for the weather at our destination. Which can be difficult if we’re flying from one climate to another, or one season to another. 
Dressing for my journeys from Ottawa to the east coast to visit my mum is easy. I just wear my most comfortable jeans, and whatever footwear and coat I plan to wear during the week I’m home. The seven hour flight to France in 2015 was pretty simple too. It was spring when we left Ottawa, and still spring the next morning when we arrived in Paris. For that trip I wore light wool leggings, a long-sleeved tee shirt, a light cardigan, and sneakers. A scarf and my spring coat were in my carry-on. 
This trip, however, is a bit more challenging. We will be in transit for about 22 hours, with a long lay-over in Toronto. So comfort is key. And I’ll need an outfit that will keep me warm at the beginning of the journey: it’s still winter here after all. And yet be cool enough when we land in summery Buenos Aires the next afternoon. 
As I mulled over my problem, I did a bit of reading. I found all kinds of websites and blogs which advised me on what to wear to travel. You can read a couple of them here and here. Much of the information I already knew. Like wearing comfortable pants, bringing a scarf to keep my neck warm, and wearing or bringing socks. Check, check, and check. And some of the information I decided to ignore. Like purchasing a “cute” eye mask for sleep. Really? I still have the free ones we were given on a Quantas flight a few years ago. One site I read even recommended giving myself a hydrating facial masque enroute, so when I disembarked I’d be all dewy-complected, presumably. Unless one is flying first class, which we’re not, I don’t know how that could be achieved. I simply can’t see myself monopolizing the tiny washroom for fifteen minutes. So maybe I could apply it in the washroom and then sashay back to my seat in my face masque? Or maybe set up my mirror and creams on my little tray table, like a mini spa? Ah. beauty bloggers, ya gotta love em, eh? I will say that I wear minimal make-up when we fly on long trips, and I bring facial wipes for sensitive skin, a small jar of my best moisturiser, and lip balm. So maybe a min-spa on my tray is, after all, only one step beyond. 
Flying in the fifties. Man in suit and woman in a dress, pearls and nylons
I think it’s safe to say that I will not be wearing pearls and nylons. Not this time, anyway. source

But back to what to wear on the plane. I have resigned myself that I will have to wear my hiking boots since they are the hardest to pack. If, at the last minute, I find there is room for them in the checked bags, I’ll pack them and wear my Stan Smith sneakers. I’ll also wear my old black Theory leggings. I’m bringing my good Vince ones but decided to NOT wear them on the plane. I’ll also wear either a light, loose turtleneck or a long-sleeved tee, my fleece vest, and my Gortex jacket, at least until we get to the airport. I’ll have my new zippered yoga jacket, and a short-sleeved tee shirt in my carry-on so I can change before we land. I hate arriving at our destination in the same top I’ve been wearing for a day and a half. So, I’ll be wearing two outfits, really. One article I read recommended changing into pyjamas on the flight. Seriously? It would be just my luck to do that, and then everyone else on the plane would follow suit. Then, the next morning, I’d no doubt still be at the back of the line for the washroom by the time the flight landed, and be forced to get off in my pyjamas. Ohh. I can just see it now. I get goose bumps even thinking about it. 

Flying first class back in the seventies.
First class back in the day. Smoking and cocktails and high heels. source
Like most advice articles which tell us what to wear when, articles about travel wardrobes are limited to a certain extent. They’re often about a specific kind of travel, like city to city jaunts. Or city to beach vacations. And then of course there’s the limitations of my own closet, and the very real constraints of my body. Ahem… my… ah… middle area in particular. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find bits and pieces of some articles useful. I just chuckle at the rest. Still, if you come across an article which purports to show how to pack, and what to wear on the plane, if you are a sixty year old, fairly active woman with middle-age middle, a flat butt, and long skinny legs, packing for a long trip requiring outfits for three seasons, with city walking and rural hiking featuring largely into the mix…. please do send me that link.
I know, I know. I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. But, now that I’m all packed, with only a last physio appointment and the final hair cut to go, having finished all my books and not wanting to start the ones I will take on the trip. Now that Hubby and I are cleared for take off, so to speak, what else do I have to do but worry about what to wear on the plane?
I’m laughing as I write this and remembering a post I wrote last fall about shoes, and their ability to make or break an outfit. And how I was inspired to write it by sitting in airports in several Canadian cities when I flew home to visit my mum, and then back to Ottawa. And I complained that many of the women travellers I saw were wearing the exact wrong shoes for their outfit. 
Ha. So now the chickens have come home to roost, people. I’ll be sitting in Toronto airport in leggings and hiking boots. My snazzy little black sandals packed away in my checked luggage. My lovely Stuart Weitzman ankle boots in the closet at home. You see, that’s the problem with packing for a trip like this one. It’s a perfect storm of variables: extended time away from home, a wide variety of activities, and limited space in our luggage because we’re trying to pack light. And all that results in my sitting at the airport in an outfit I wouldn’t be caught dead in normally. Sigh. 
Ah well, I’m sure that six weeks in South America will go some way to assuage my mortification over my temporary outfit faux pas. 
Have a listen to this rendition of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” sung by John Denver and Cass Elliot back in 1972. The concert was taped for the pilot episode of  Midnight Special, the theme of which was getting the vote out for the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. 
I love this song. Been singing it all week, in fact. 

So that’s it from me for a while, my friends. For a few weeks I’ll either be in transit, in areas with sketchy internet, or too exhausted from all that hiking (and whatever) to blog much.

I will try to squeeze in a few posts if time and location allow. I’m aiming for once a week… I’ll try my best. I’ll probably be posting some pictures on Instagram… if you have an Instagram account you can follow me there. And I’ll definitely be back on my regular-ish posting schedule come April. 

When it will be almost spring. And time for the seasonal wardrobe cull, and spring shopping lists. Oh. I can hardly wait. 

Until then, mis buenos amigos.

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36 thoughts on “Cleared for Take-off”

  1. I am the same as you, fear not. But my golden rule is always: wear shoes you can run in. Because you just never know. This does, of course, mean that I am often very hot by the time I can unpack my bag and put on something more appropriate to the climate. Also, I travel in black trousers or jeans. They always look fine at the end of the trip. Like you, I enjoy looking at other people's flying outfits and spend a great deal of time in wonderment. Have fun!

    1. Good point. Pretty hard moving quickly and navigating moving sidewalks etc in shoes that can fall of or aren't comfortable. People watching at least passes the time;)

  2. I give you this song from The Foundations to send you on your way. "Baby, now that I've found you I can't let you go …" That's been in my head whilst reading! Not in a scarey way I quickly add, but because I have not long found your blog, I love every post and I'm missing you already :-(. Have a wonderful trip away, gozarte bien!

  3. Great pictures Sue ….and the song! I've always loved that! Re outfits and clothes choices, you've planned and packed considering all eventualities (hopefully! 🙂 ) and I'm sure you'll be fine. Being comfortable and not too cold or too hot is probably a priority on this holiday and I think you've got that covered. Like you, I hate travelling in my hiking boots …which I often end up doing. If I can I put a lightweight slip on, flat shoe in my hand luggage that I can wear on the flight. Definitely not one of those people you see walking to the plane toilet in bare feet or socks!!!!
    Take care, safe travels and have a wonderful time. Looking forward to reading about it.

  4. Happy Adventures to you! Can't wait to read all about your trip.

    I'm so with you on the dilemma of what to wear in transit, and worrying about choosing exactly the right thing…and then having practicality win out. So, I use it as a "yoga moment" to sit in the airport and repeat the mantra "I am not what I wear, the essence of me transcends all", and then think about all the ways is which we're so damned lucky to live the lives we do. And I SMILE a lot, because really, that is almost always to most perfect thing to wear.

  5. Have a wonderful trip! (I do not have the impression that the "I hate to go" part of the John Denver song applies.) Looking forward to hearing all about it! — Denise L.

  6. Sue, I enjoy your blog and hope you have a great trip. We travel quite a bit and am always puzzled by what people wear on the plane. I am also puzzled by the reasoning that yoga pants are not OK, but leggings are OK. A nice tidy pair of black yoga pants doesn't look any different than any other pair of black pants as long as any wobbly bits are covered by a long top. 22 hours on the plane – I'm all in for yoga pants. Nice ones!! not ones that say 'Juicy' or 'Pink' on the butt! The facial masks recommended are the clear ones, more like a night cream than a blue mud mask 😉

    1. You're right of course. Just that my yoga pants are my work-out pants and as such look pretty rough. Also they pick up every piece of lint etc in a 3 metre radius and end up looking terrible. While my leggings are heavy ones that don't easily bag at the knees. I guess you're also right about the facial masques … but in my mind's eye I still see myself all blue in the face trying to get back to my seat inconspicuously:)

  7. It sounds as if you have got wardrobe items for every occasion thoughtfully planned and you can be forgiven wearing hiking boots this once…after all they will be needed, are weighty and take up space when travelling lightly. I wear black dress pants in an appropriate fabric when travelling and always a pair of black flat leather shoes or boots depending on the season. The colours of tops/sweater/light jacket vary depending on what else is packed but always everything can be mixed and matched and layered depending on the climate. We no longer have the luxury of travelling with several trunks! Have a wonderful trip and return with many priceless memories…Cheers, Alayne

    1. My new hiking boots are not as bad as my old ones were. They look more like runners albeit a bit high around the ankles. Black is always the choice for me too. So much easier to pair with tops. Wouldn't it be wonderful to travel with those wardrobe trunks? And of course several porters to shift them.

  8. When travelling from wintery Canada to a warm destination, I wear a lightweight jacket & pants, because it's only car to airport that is cold. And, I have sandals & sun hat on the top of my bag for a quick change upon arrival.
    Have a wonderful time, Sue!

    1. Thanks, Joanne. That's what I did when we went to Australia because I didn't need to pack any clothes for warmth. But I was cold on the plane. So this time I'm wearing my fleece vest and will stuff it in my carry-on when we land. I will need the fleece in Patagonia anyway.

  9. I had to chuckle at your writing about this dilemma of what to wear on the plane. I have been there a few times myself and end up wearing my hiking boots as they are so heavy and awkward to pack, at least mine are. As others have said at the end of the day it really doesn't matter, you are going and you are going to have a fabulous adventure. Have a wonderful time and I am looking forward to travelling vicariously through you and your blog.

  10. Thanks so much for the music clip!! My grade four music teacher used to play a 12 string guitar and teach us John Denver songs. And he was also our writing teacher, so we wrote out the songs for writing practice! Oh, the memories. thanks and enjoy your trip!

  11. I do hope you don't get papped at airport and end up as a terrible warning on a "what not to wear blog". The trials of travel! Have a wonderful holiday. What a great way to escape the end of winter. Iris

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