By Nii B. Andrews.
I returned to airtravel this weekend after a forced hiatus of 27 months on account of the Covid-19 pandemic and an overabundance of caution.
Change is certainly a constant feature of life and dress for airtravel has not been left out.
What is obvious is that there appears to be a shift to athleisure and sleepwear; the thrust for casual dressing has become well entrenched.
For almost all travellers the vogue is to dress as if going to the gym or wearing clothing in the realm of sleepwear.
*****UNTITLED: Anane Asare, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 92 cm, signed lower left, 1999. Private collection.*****
The former ensemble consists of a T shirt or singlet aka “wife beater”; jogging pants that are often two sizes too small and sneakers of various types – high tops, thick and wide soled, sometimes with vivid graphics that may include flashing neon lights.
Otherwise, the latter features baggy jogging pants- or cargo shorts/ pants under a T shirt, with a larger shirt or loose dress/ blouse as cover; in this instance, footwear consists of slippers, sandals….or again, sneakers.
Both ensemble options sometimes have as add ons a sweat shirt or hoodie.
The most common hand accessory is the haversack and oftentimes a hideous, huge, faux leather or nylon fanny pack.
YELLOW CAR: Max Boadi, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50 inches, 2018. Photo courtesy of Efua Coleman from Memphis in May art exhibition 2022.
This is it.
Fast high street fashion meets the era of cheap and accessible airtravel.
The environment faces a double whammy and aesthetics take a back seat or are jettisoned overboard.
Shall we add, good taste – who dares speak about that these days when the boar and or pitbull are all the rage as they garner likes on Instagram, Tick Tock or some other cyber platform?
No no, we are not here to body shame anyone; there is absolutely no need for that. Our interest is solely in looking at the clothing choices as they relate to aesthetics, elegance and yes, decorum.
Did someone offer comfort as the driver and most likely explanation for the latest trends?
***** Brown calf skin leather soled loafers; definitely casual and with a cool vibe. Easy to take off and put back on for security checks; keep a small shoe horn handy***
Then perhaps those in shorts, T shirt and slippers are the new role models and we must revise our notes accordingly especially as their accessory of choice is the baseball cap emblazoned with corporate logos – hat etiquette is now a forlorn, forgotten topic.
While revising my notes and drinking deep from this well of modernity, I shall need to quit wearing cotton chinos (preferably beige, cream or shades of brown) with proper fit and at least mid rise- including of course length with little or no break; a long sleeved regular shirt or polo in linen, denim or chambray; brown leather soled loafers (suede or calf skin) and a shirt jacket (shacket) or an unstructured and soft shouldered jacket.
A pair of denim pants – or jacket, both in mid to lighter shades of blue or even black – but both without the affected tears and shredding, will make our cut; double denim continues to provoke a side eye.
****Cream cotton and linen blend shirt jacket/ shacket by Nouredine Benkarime of EVA – Marrakech Medina. It has 4 besom pockets and ideal for travelling; worn here with white cotton long sleeved polo.******
After all when people who look like me show up in most places – including airports in Africa, we need a whole lot of documentation apart from our current pass/stop port in order to be afforded the barest minimum of human courtesy let alone allowed to proceed; our halo of suspicion never leaves us.
It may help if you also looked more put together or better dressed than the non green passport holders in athleisure and borderline pyjamas often accompanied with an unjustified air of self importance.
Keep it artsy.