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.
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.
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.
High Heels in the Wilderness is for women like me. Women who love clothes. And books. Who dream of travelling to amazing places. Who want to explore their own lives, and their own potential, now that they aren't twenty (or even forty) anymore.