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Men’s Style Tips: What to wear on airplanes with Esquire’s Charlie Teasdale

Blog • 21 October 2016

This week we asked the exceptionally stylish and well travelled Deputy Editor of Esquire Magazine, Charlie Teasdale, to shares his views on the best style to choose when flying.

From the comfortable commuters to the high-flying flâneurs, all manner of dress can be found on an airplane. Whatever you wear, be sure your socks are first class, says Charlie Teasdale.

Flying etiquette is a sore subject for some. There are still a few hardy, nostalgic souls who try and uphold the glory days of in-air elan, dressing up for the departure lounge and curtseying for the captain. A tailored jacket, button-down shirt, four-in-handed tie and Northampton-made shoes are perennials of the men’s style milieu, but they can be a hindrance when you’re facing a stopover-heavy long haul. One must respect the boarding-best dresser, though – any effort to uphold sartorial decency should be commended.

Conversely, there are those that have come to see international flight for what it is: a form of public transport. A miracle of engineering, but public transport nonetheless.

They are the pragmatic frequent flyers, foregoing all that buttoned-up rigmarole. And thanks to the recent trend for technical fabrics, unstructured, slouchy tailoring and sports-lux designs that allow for comfort and style in equal measure, they’re well within their rights to do so. The go-to look is tailored joggers, Egyptian-cotton tee, cashmere crew neck and sneakers that can be whipped off before the immigration officer even realises they’re on.

Whichever camp you’re in, there’s one unifying factor: good socks. Not the amorphous ones you find in the complimentary gift bag – those are best left where they are.

The reasons are numerous. First, there’s the potential ignominy of holey socks at security. A strip search is more likely if your toes are poking out as you saunter through the X-ray machine, I’m sure of it. Then there’s the chance of an upgrade. Every detail must be preened and considered if you’re looking to wangle a first-class pod. (Matching your socks to the airline’s colours may be a touch too far, but worth trying. No Virgin Atlantic attendant will be able to ignore a pair of Routemaster reds.)

Red Ottaway Style for Virgin Atlantic?

Red Ottaway Style for Virgin Atlantic?

Ultimately though, it’s about comfort. Champagne before take-off, a hot flannel after dinner and that extra-legroom seat by the door – it’s all for nothing if you’re not sitting comfortably. So whether you’re wearing them for yourself or the aesthetic benefit of others, pack good socks. Your feet deserve it.

Charlie Teasdale is deputy style editor of Esquire Magazine. His style ethos in a nutshell: ‘Simplicity and quality’.  To see more from Charlie Teasdale: READ ESQUIRE ONLINE

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