What Not to Wear: Airplane Edition


**June 23: Super-awesome Update. Clinton of “What Not to Wear” liked this. I once told an entire church full of ladies that my dream job was to host a makeover show (it went over like a brick so turns out those weren’t my kind of people). ANYWHOOO…the dream is alive. Feel free to tweet Clinton at @clinton_kelly and recommend me for the show.


As a somewhat-frequent flyer in the last couple of years, it’s come to my attention that a public service announcement is in order when it comes to flying style.

I can no longer remain silent when I see so many suffering from fashion faux-pas that are easily rectified. Of course, many might argue that fashion is a personal issue, but much like sin, your fashion issues affect the travelers around you, so it is no longer a personal problem.

So, without further ado, allow me assist you with some simple choices before your next flight, head to toe, or since security starts the other direction, toe to head:

When it comes to footwear, the airport poses many, many, problems. So sweetie, I know that those lace-up, hook-and-eye, knee-high boots really complete your pretween emo-Twilight-Goth look, but it’s really hard to maintain that “I’m visiting the Underworld” cool demeanor in the security line when you are hopping on one foot and attempting to pull off that pleather leg-straightjacket. The rest of us wearing flip-flops behind you would really love to grab our coffee before we squeeze into the flying metal tube, so how ’bout next time you just wear your bunny slippers.

And while we are at it, let’s discuss the need for heels in the airport. Darlings, I’m as vertically challenged as you, but did you really think the six-inch platforms were perfect for sprinting to your connecting flight? They might look good dangling off your pretty pedicured toe while you are dining al-fresco in Paris, but they look like circus stilts when you are hoofing it from terminal A to C. Also, you teetering on the end of your shoe to get your bag into the overhead compartment isn’t doing anything for the safety and security of the people seated underneath your 50 lb carryon.  You might as strap your Romper Stompers, which are just about as practical. **You sweet younguns of the 90s and 00s don’t know what Romper Stompers are, which is tragic.** Here is a visual:


Let’s move up the body now and remind you that the airport is not the gym, the beach, or the nightclub. I’m not sure if the superior customer service you’ve received on your other flights gave you the impression that flying coach is the equivalent of checking into the Ritz-Carlton, so allow me to inform you: no one cares about the fact that you are hauling a roller bag, a carryon bag and three shopping bags. And a purse. Nobody’s coming to your rescue, and complicated clothing and carryons don’t mix. Let’s just say your shirtdress is turning into a shirt when you’ve got that much luggage on your shoulders.  Your halter top was not designed for this kind of work. Don’t make it give up on you. Same goes for strapless, backless, generally anything with a “less” is use “less” in the airport. Wear big sunglasses and sweatpants, and people will wonder if you are a celebrity, plus it avoids wardrobe malfunctions.

Also, if you are over the age of 12, your pajama pants do not qualify as travel wear. Isn’t the purpose of activewear to at least look like you didn’t sleep in it last night?  Those SpongeBob PJs seemed really funny on the WalMart rack the other day, but that look in the airport makes me assume that the only place you are trying to head in life is back to your parent’s basement.

Meanwhile, if you are over the age of 12 months, shorts with leg lengths that allow the pockets to show are not, in fact, shorts. Let’s just call them what they are. They are denim underwear. Key word “under.” Let’s keep it that way. This is a family establishment.

And the Top 5 for Men:

#1: If I can smell your cologne from three rows away, it’s no longer accomplishing what you were hoping.

#2: Back away from the Axe bodyspray. The extra ten minutes of sleep is not worth sacrificing the shower, I beg of you. Take a shower and I’ll gladly give you control of our arm rest. Anything for clean. Please.

#3: The pajama pants…??!! Lord have mercy, if it was bad enough on the ladies, this is even worse on the men. Also, the I-just-left-the-weightroom zebra pants are pretty much the same as wearing PJs. Avoid at all costs.  That’s actually a message for life, not just the airport. Public service announcement: the pants aren’t accomplishing what you are hoping. I promise.  And I know, I know, you are so, so proud to be a medical resident, but unless you are carrying a human heart or performing surgery during this flight, please don’t wear your scrubs. It’s cheapening their cool factor for cute doctors everywhere.

#4: Dear Men, let’s discuss tank tops. First of all, why. Seriously, why? Is the extra four inches of shirtsleeve really going to change your flying experience? Because it’s going to change mine, dramatically.  Those of us who happen to have our nose at your armpit level really aren’t interested in inspecting your underarm hair. Please and thank you, for the love of all things beautiful and true.

#5: Oh yeah, and it’s real sooper that you just returned from a week of boozing and babe-ing in Vegas, but if you could leave the ridiculous, vulgar T-shirt in your travel bag, that’d be swell. My eight-year old loves to read and she’d be happy to read your shirt out loud to the rest of the passengers, and you don’t want this mama giving you a flight-long lecture that will defy your noise-cancelling headphones.

This concludes today’s lesson on flying fashion. What did I miss?

*I’m sorry for anyone I offended, but I’m not sorry about the truth.

**I did not mention cleavage but seriously. Seriously.

***Also, Stacy and Clinton did not officially approve this post, although they should. Stacy & Clinton, I could squeeze in a quick taping on What Not To Wear. Have your people call my people.





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  1. Airport Fashion Police | Lisa K. Greer

    June 23rd, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    […] http://www.nicoleunice.com/girl-life-god-life/what-not-to-wear-airplane-edition/ […]

  2. Celia Cortner

    June 24th, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Loved it!!!! About #1 for the men – I used to work in a 22-story tower in San Diego and believe me you can lay money on which suits were CPAs and which were lawyers just by the amount and brand of cologne. I developed the lung power of a cliff diver just trying not to be overcome by the ridiculous level of cologne these guys use.

  3. Katie Axelson

    June 25th, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    OK, this is hilarious! Can I be your first fashion contestant? As soon as I throw away my spongebob jammies, I’ll have officially passed step one. 😉

  4. Nicole Unice

    June 26th, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    believe me, I’m keeping this makeover career in the life-hopper. I’ll put you on my list. 🙂

  5. Tracey Eyster

    June 29th, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    You are now officially one of my most favorite people! I have read two blog posts and each was awesome! You have given me new hope that there are people who are crazy in love with Jesus and sassy all at the same time! Real people like you make my heart happy! Blessed to have met you…looking forward to becoming your friend! {But not in a creeper sort of way!}