American tourist fashion leads the world

OK, an intentionally provocative headline.  But true. When I was growing up people dressed to fly. They would wear make up, jackets and ties and even as a child I would have to wear my best and usually most uncomfortable clothes.  It was of course insane. What you need most on a long flight isn’t tight shoes or a 400 pound pressure on your bladder because your jeans are three sizes too small.

Then in the 1980’s, Americans rediscovered their adventurous side again and started travelling again. In the last two decades they have continued this trend or stayed home as the mood or Islamic terrorism dictated.

While Europeans continued to view travel as a catwalk for the middle class, the Americans showed us the way to dress for long flights. Gone were jackets and ties, dresses and that essential of all business travel, full makeup.  In came cotton, elastic and foam rubber.  Elmer and Elly-Mae showed us that comfort trumps fashion every time. So a group of people with no sense of style created a style for us all. The fact is that trainers only look good on young people but the fat and elderly grasped them with a passion, in fact at Dublin airport a few days ago I saw a group of Americans with a combined age of over 240 years dressed like 17 year old gang members. Nike Air, shell suits and attitude.  Bless them.

I once saw a woman get on a plane in a pencil skirt, high heals and full war paint. A minute after take-off she hit the bathroom and emerged wearing essentialy a sleeping bag with legs. She slept all the way to NYC and then reversed the process 20 minutes out of JFK. Insane but she was Dutch.

So when you wander around a major airport and wonder why the passengers look like refugees from some bad teen movie raise a glass, if they allow these on board, to the tasteless heroes of middle America. They taught us how to fly comfortably.   


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