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The Style Column | What to Wear on the Plane

The Style Column | What to Wear on the Plane

Turning right as you board the plane? Here’s what our style columnist Jeremy Langmead suggests. 

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I’m sitting on an economy flight back from Dubai. The muscle mary next to me is currently knocking back the Heinekens and so, as I try and drift off to sleep, I know that at some point soon he’s going to prod me so that he can get past to use the loo.

The middle-aged woman on the other side of him, by the window, has just ordered a tomato juice — why do flights make people randomly order tomato juice? — and then decides she needs the loo.

As she carries her drink with her across the seats to reach the aisle, she spills half of it on my seat. There is nothing to wipe up the juice with, and the air stewardess refuses to help as she is trying to get past with the food trolley.

The middle-aged woman subsequently goes to the bathroom, coming back with some paper towels and hands them to me so I can clean her tomato juice off my seat.

Behind me a baby is crying, while an elderly man is struggling to work out how to pull down the tray from the back of my headrest. Each time he unsuccessfully yanks on the tray, my head bounces backwards and forwards like a Thunderbirds doll on a gravity-defying mission.

This all occurs within the first 60 minutes of a seven-hour-and-25-minute flight back from Dubai. Oh, the glamour of air travel.

The reason I mention this — hang on, the muscle mary and the middle-aged woman have both just gone for the chicken curry option on the menu; great — is that dressing elegantly for a long flight where you’ve turned right and not left when stepping onto a plane is pointless.

I’m wearing nothing more exciting than a pair of loose-fit J-Crew jeans (bottom) and an oversized Our Legacy grey sweatshirt (above).

Mistakenly, I’ve teamed them with a pair of Lanvin hi-tops which, cruelly, I was made to remove at two different security checks on the way to the gate; my colleague, wearing a pair of Common Projects sneakers (below), was allowed to walk through both unhindered. Lesson learned.

Anyhow, the jeans soak up the damp remains of the tomato juice without leaving any telltale signs and the sweatshirt will loyally protect me from stray pieces of my neighbours’ curries.

I actually think the ideal economy traveller cabin outfit is a pair of wipe-clean primary-coloured dungarees and a pair of foot-swelling-friendly Crocs. Say hello if you spot me; it shouldn’t be hard.

 


I was actually going to write about swimwear for this column  as I think I may have been mentally scarred by some of the sights I saw on the beach of my Dubai hotel:  dozens of cartoon-like, roly-poly tourists munching on club sandwiches and salad cream-smeared fries followed by a dessert of Marlboro Lights.

And, of course, the roly-polies’ swimwear of choice was small, tight and flesh-baring; in fact, some of the buttocks on display were so enormous that you feared the owner would wake up after a long snooze to discover some sheikh had sold them off as prime real estate.

I know I’m not pointing out anything new by writing that so many men are still getting their swimwear horribly wrong — I’m sure by the time you read this column, the newspaper silly season will have started and the tabloids will be filled with pictures of ageing celebrities, former nightclub hosts and current prime ministers sporting inappropriate trunks — but today, with a wealth of good brands to choose from, there really is no excuse.

For me, the choice boils down to just three or four brands. If you want a pair of traditional-fit, beach-bright swimwear shorts, go to Vilebrequin (or, if you want to be a bit more elite, Pink House Mustique); if you prefer something a little more tailored, and popular with the style set, opt for Orlebar Brown (Boxer or Setter fit); and if you’ve got a good pair of legs, then slip into something a little snappier and shorter by Robinson Les Bains — the fashion boys are loving those this summer.

OK, I’m now faced with a flight conundrum; one that happens to me quite a lot. A small child seated a few rows behind me wanders up the aisle and stops next to my seat.

He or she — I can’t tell — is just standing there staring at me. I think it wants to play. Children always do this to me because I have kind eyes. However, my eyes lie and I’m not kind at all, and I have no desire to interact with this small child. What do I do?

I can either ignore it, which isn’t easy, or, since its parents can’t see, I could tell it to “fuck right off”. That might be a bit harsh. I know — I hand it some tomato-flavoured papertowels to play with.

Jeremy Langmead is the editor-in-chief of mrporter.com

Photographs by Studio 33