Dressing up for travel is a colossal waste of time

There’s a post circulating the internet that waxes poetic about the fancy-dress travel days of long ago. J. Bryan Lowder of Slate is passionate in his argument, but passion doesn’t always make you right. As the saying goes, “You may be sincere, but you are sincerely wrong.”

Let me clarify. Lowder is allowed to dress however he wants when he flies. He describes, “The competently dressed individual stands apart as a beacon of civilized life, an island of class amid a swamp of schlumps.”

But here’s the thing: I’m allowed to dress however I want, too. Lowder’s description of a well-dressed traveler as an “island of class” made me laugh. I would 100 percent rather be a schlump any day, but then again, you’re talking to the mom who wears yoga pants to the grocery store. Yes, I do that. Yes, I realize many people argue that yoga pants aren’t real pants. No, I’m never going to let this sloppy trend die.

All of Lowder’s arguments for dressing well during travel are valid, but none of them apply to me — and, I’m guessing, to the majority of the population. He believes it is wise to wear nice clothes while traveling that you may have packed in your suitcase anyway. I feel exactly the same way about my beloved yoga pants, seeing as I never wear business attire when traveling for pleasure.

He also argues that dressing well could “garner superior treatment from transit staff.” To this I say, “Meh.” I know air travel may be a flawed system in many ways, taking into account the recent in-flight scuffles over legroom, but I’m pretty happy with it. I love to travel. I know what I’m getting into when I board a plane with dozens of other passengers and zero elbowroom to speak of. I just want to get on with the show and get to my destination, without any special treatment.

What Lowder doesn’t understand is this: I wear sloppy, pajamalike clothes and flip-flops when I travel because that is my source of comfort. (It also doesn’t hurt that flip-flops are easy to take off at airport security.) If wearing a business suit on an airplane provides someone with comfort and esteem, then good for them. Don’t judge my yoga pants until you’ve walked a mile in them.

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