The curious nature of airport fashion


August 21, 2017

I am most definitely not qualified to write about fashion, but this is where I will use the disclaimer that's very popular with amateur art critics: I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. And so I am going to be talking about airport fashion. It all started with my husband wanting to wear a hoodie on the plane.

Of late, my husband has decided that a hoodie is what he needs to help protect him against the so-called sub-zero temperatures in our house. I must admit, watching a man of, shall we say a certain maturity, not just sit and watch TV but also work on contracts and proposals in a hoodie takes a bit of getting used to without a broad grin spreading across your face.

Let me be clear here, the hood of this hoodie is always up, never nonchalantly lying on his shoulders. But the thought of walking across Muscat International Airport with my husband dressed like a sullen teenager was too much for my fragile mind. So a little bit of wrangling later, once it was established that he would not be pulling up the hood until he got on the plane, I gave in.

I couldn’t be too harsh because, as fate would have it, I came across some rather old photographs of myself on the weekend before we travelled. Let’s just say he’s not the only one in the family/relationship guilty of making questionable sartorial choices. I have had a haircut that was so short that it only looked normal if I was sitting down and adding a clip-on nose ring hardly helped matters. Enough black kohl to wipe out the sun and candy pink college sweatshirts (of colleges I would never visit) completed the picture.

Cut to 2017 and there is always a sense of déjà vu when I look around at what people wear while travelling. All it makes me want to say is ‘why’, just as I do when I see my old photos. A young lady who was boarding the same flight as me this week wore sky high, patent leather stiletto boots with grungy jeans and a formal top with a giant bow. Watching her climb up the steps to the aircraft was quite inspirational.

I’ve always admired women who wear high heels in airports. It looks amazing and I like to think that may be when you weigh as little as a Victoria Beckham, you don’t suffer the excruciating agony that I am 100 per cent certain I would have been feeling in her shoes.

The fashion choices of men travelling to or from destinations like Bangkok are always worth a look. Shorts of every kind, from the weird fitted, belted, knee-length types to the ones which started out as cargo pants but, due to material falling short, ended about two inches above the ankle - you can see them all.

Brightly printed Hawaiian shirts, Tiger or Singha T-shirts or better still, fake Gucci ones tucked into the aforementioned item of clothing makes the picture complete. And for the finishing touch, socks, nice white ones pulled up to about six inches from the ankle.

Then there are those who look like they were about to go into their kitchen to make coffee but got magically transported to the airport instead. Both men and women are guilty of this one. Bathroom slippers for travel, a T-shirt that looks, and probably was, slept in? The excuse of comfort is just an excuse to be sloppy.

I am amazed by how much there is on the Net about airport dressing, including specialised sites that talk about celebrity airport outfits. Just one thing to keep in mind: Kim Kardashian in spandex and Louboutins or Ryan Gosling in pajamas would not be the same as you or me in that attire. Exactly the difference between good old George C in a hoodie and my husband.