I read on social media last week that a woman was barred from boarding a plane because she was wearing inappropriate clothing. She was a burlesque dancer and was wearing such short shorts that they looked like underwear. Anyway she was sent to change before she was allowed to board. And now there is a big fuss about it--her rights have been violated. She is free to choose what she wants to wear, etc.
Frankly I have been horrified for years about what people now wear on planes. Shorts, low cut tank tops, flip-flops, anything goes. (Not to mention the dog who sat on the seat next to my husband last week) So how does an airline draw the line? Too much flesh in contact with a seat? Too much boob exposed? My husband was with an airline for years. When we flew there was a strict dress code. We had to dress as if for a business meeting. Men in suits, ladies in suit, dress or smart pant suit. I was once almost denied boarding because I was wearing a light blue pant suit, nicely tailored, and the gate employee claimed wrongly it was denim. It took the station manager to let me pass.
And our children had to be dressed as if going to church. Of course we were usually put in First Class and we were in a way representing the airline so the code was necessary. Frankly I liked it. It made me feel that we were doing something special, that it was a big occasion. Alas dressing up for anything now has gone the way of the dodo. Even in first class you'll find the shorts and sweats and flip flops. And you certainly can't blame people trying to squeeze into those few inches of economy from wanting to dress in something comfortable.
I still dress smartly when I travel. It used to get me upgraded quite regularly across the Atlantic. Not any more. And I still dress smartly for the theater and opera. It annoys me to have paid a lot for my opera seat only to find the folks in the next seats are in jeans and sweat shirts. What's wrong with the world? Why does no one have pride in appearance any more? Why don't they want to make occasions special? The only exceptions are cruises on premium cruise lines where long evening gowns and black tie are the norm, the old fashioned London clubs (my husband is a member of one) where blazers or suits are required in the dining room and the opera at Palm Beach Florida where every lady was dressed to the nines, dripping in jewels. (And it was an occasion on which I hadn't brought a long skirt!)
Oh, and the other occasion: when I take my granddaughters to the Nutcracker every year. All the children look adorable in their best party clothes. I keep hoping that they will grow up to keep this tradition of dressing for the theater. Who knows. (And I was going to post pix but have been warned about posting any pictures of children on social media. Scary but true)
So Reds, how about you? Do you think there should be a dress code for planes? For the theater? Do you like to get dressed up?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, I've got to say I continue to be appalled by what people wear. I am in airports and on planes frequently, and it is astonishing. And yes, I saw the photos of that woman who was denied boarding. Yeah, she looked bizarre, but you know, I'm kind of on her side. If she wants to look like that, well, okay. Her call. And once you start throwing people off the plane for what they're wearing--it seems like a line that'll soon become difficult.
Still, I have seen women for whom I've wanted to call out--"Hey, ma'am? You forgot your SKIRT!" And those tan leggings, I have to mention, do NOT look like tights. They look like SKIN. Which, often, is disturbing.
My mother used to say--"Does that woman not own a full length mirror?" And now I say that (to myself) all the time. But she used to yell at me for short skirts--which aren't even short any more. So--do we just ride this out? And cross fingers we don't have to sit by a person who is all skin? (I'd rather sit by too much skin than too much perfume.)
But hey. Don't even get me started talking about what newscasters wear on TV. I actually yell at the television: "YOU CAN'T WEAR THAT ON TV!" But no one seems to care.
I am sad about the demise of--pride in appearance, maybe you could call it. I love to dress up. And I'd adore to go to the opera with you, Rhys! But to each her own.
HALLIE EPHRON: "Party clothes." Now there's a term I haven't heard in awhile. I think I can remember every "party dress" I ever owned, and still feel those scratchy crinolines that you wore under or were sewn into the skirt. Dressing up for me now is a short black sheath, worn with or without a longish underskirt. Pearls. Pink of course. Period. I had to buy a party dress for my daughter's wedding and it was as painful as buying a bathing suit.
I do people-watch in airports and what astonishes me is women who can traipse around in 4" heels. And has anyone else noticed women traveling in what really looks lke PJs. Flannel PJs.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: The PJs. And the flip-flops. I object to those in airports just on practical grounds - if you have to dash from Terminal A to Terminal C, you want something secure on your feet! I agree with you, Rhys, there does seem to be a loss of pride in appearance in the present day. I suppose it's the sartorial equivalent of people who are proud of not being "politically correct" - as if speaking politely and with sensitivity makes one a phony.
I do enjoy dressing for occasions. I have some fancy-ish separates perfect for entertaining at home, and the family always does it up for the Portland Symphony Magic of Christmas concerts. I don't go to the theatre in a long dress, but I always wear something that says "this is a special occasion." Really, the way everything's wrinkle-free and made with a bit of spandex, it's not hard to look good and still feel perfectly comfortable. A pair of well-fitting trousers, a silk blouse or a fine wool sweater, cute flats and a showy necklace can take you anywhere from dinner at the local bistro to a friend's daughter's wedding and can travel from NY to LA with you always looking attractive and appropriate.
As to the short-short-shorts, my hope would be that everyone is covered enough so I don't have to worry about having to drape a towel over my airplane seat...
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh you guys are cracking me up! I admit to dressing for comfort on planes. Not my nightgown, mind you, but yoga pants and a sweatshirt:). We do try to look decent at the theater, and it is astonishing that people come looking as though they were going to the beach.
In general, teenagers wear things that my parents would have fainted dead away to see. What I want to say when I see what they're showing is: "Are you sure you want creepy guys to be looking at you that way??" (NOT to be confused with men dressing up as women and hiding out in the girls' restrooms LOL.)
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Flip flops! Not only uncomfortable walking and carrying luggage, but dangerous because it's impossible to run in them. And can you imagine if there was an emergency? Same with all that bare skin on planes. Scalding from hot drinks, burns in any sort of emergency. And then there's the "ick" factor. I don't really want to sit next to someone wearing what amounts to underwear--or sit where they've sat! Maybe the airlines could have a "no bare skin on the seat"policy... It's a really difficult thing to make rules that can be practically enforced and that don't offend someone.
I can't blame people for wanting to be comfortable on long flights, but I usually try to find something that still looks nice. Maybe that's old fashioned...
But, honestly, nothing could beat the things we saw on the street in New Orleans!
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Oh my goodness, at the Marriott in New Orleans for Bouchercon, there were people using the lobby restroom BAREFOOT! can you imagine?
I absolutely believe in dressing up for the theater, etc. — it's a sign of respect. The actors/dancers/puppeteers have all dressed up in costumes and put on makeup; we should respect that and dress up as well. Kiddo is not a fan of dressing up these days, but he knows that a trip to the theater means trousers, belt, and a button-down shirt at the very least. And I really love to dress up — so different from my everyday life. It's a treat. And I love the people-watching during intermission. A friend and I have season tickets together to New York City Ballet and we sit in the first ring and watch the world parade by below us.
And I don't understand the flip-flops thing, especially in New York. The streets of New York are ... not clean. Enough said.
I miss Miss Edna for many, many reasons, but her take on the fashions of New Yorkers was priceless: "That's quite a skirt she's almost wearing," was one. And, "Nice dress—too bad they didn't have enough fabric to finish it." And if a woman was wearing something too short and/or tight and a sexy walk: "That's quite a hitch in her get-a-long."
RHYS: Oh how I wish Miss Edna was still with us. There are so few true characters in the world any more and she was a wonderful character.
Oh, and did you notice the food in all those pix, which were courtesy of British Airways and Delta archives.
So what do you think, dear readers? Should people be allowed to wear what they like on planes? Do you still dress up for important occasions?