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For Christmas, I flew from NYC (Laguardia) to Michigan (Detroit Metro) and spent several hours in both terminals.

Eighty-five to ninety percent of the pants worn by men and women (less than 1% of the women wore skirts or dresses) were jeans (mainly traditional blue with black and grey following in second and a distant third respectively).

The other approximately ten to fifteen percent of pants for men were sweats (modern or old-school) and, for women, sweats or (some form of) spandex.

For men, about 1% wore chinos or some "one-off" type of pants.

What stunned me was the dominance of jeans - they are, basically, what nearly ~90% of the population (passing through those two airports on last Sunday and yesterday) wore. I thought - based on them still being readily available in stores - that chinos would have been more common, but they were very hard to find on people in these two airports.

One other observation, this population does not wear traditional overcoats. Approximately 70% wore some form of a puffer coat or jacket with the balance (sans a sub-1% that wore a somewhat traditional overcoat) wearing a series of layers of sweat shirts, jeans or baseball-style jackets, hoodies, etc. - basically, getting warmth via layering these items. Women did wear more overcoats than men, but maybe ~2% for women, versus sub-1% for men.

It seems, from memory (there's no science or hard study here), that I saw a noticeable drop off in traditional clothes this year. Chinos, dress pants, overcoats, etc., have been a minority for well-over a decade now, but this year they seemed to all but disappear.

Of course, this is just an observation of clothes worn in two airports on two holiday-period days - this is not a broad sample, etc. That said, I've been going through airports for forty years and the decline in traditional clothing has been amazing.

What were others clothing observations over the holidays?
 

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Airlines now stuff everyone in economy seats where there is little room to move or store larger coats in the bins above. As much as I despise today's lower standards in dress, an airliner is not somewhere I bemoan this too much.

Here's an unpopular comment which might get me banned or reprimanded: there was probably more room for a person on a slave ship than on a modern airliner.
 

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I don't understand the appeal of jeans, they just aren't comfortable on me. I will wear a pair of Levis from time to time, mainly just to "fit in" with whatever environment I may happen to be in; and mostly at the behest of my dear wife.

I recently attended a friend's holiday party, and there were a number of men and woman there wearing "dressy jeans", though the majority were more appropriately dressed. It was snowing that evening, which I think may have been their reasoning for being more casual.
 

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Fading Fast: I wrote about this topic 4-5 years ago, and I continue to pay some attention to the matter. On my trip through three airports in a Westerly, then Easterly, direction (RDU/MDW/MSP) over the Christmas Holidays, I saw no ties, no suits, two sport coats, and no dress shoes. Women continue to be better dressed than men, but neither gender has much to write home about!
 

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I understand and totally agree with the point you are making, FF. I'm just not sure airport travel - especially at this time of year - is giving the general public a fair shake.
I'd like to think that the business and/or first class lounge would have yielded slightly better results. Not because they can afford to dress better (those ugly sweatshirts & jeans cost some people a fortune!), but because they can actually hang up their coats & breath in their seats.
 

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Today's style seems to be all about achieving "comfort." But I don't see how jeans are any more comfortable than khakis, at the airport or elsewhere.

I observe very few men wearing overcoats anywhere today. Comfort means wearing a puffer-type jacket (dressy) or a hoodie (casual). I've noticed a number of men wearing the Canada Goose parkas lately, which they seem to take as "really dressy."

Of course, that means really nice, gently used overcoats are plentiful at the thrift shops (which benefits us Trads!).

My parents always used to bemoan the attire worn by my sister and her ex-husband to family holiday events (jeans, sweatshirt or other casual shirt). I'd be the only one in jacket/tie. My former brother-in-law poked fun at me while I was wearing my double-breasted blazer by shoving my hand in my jacket a la Napoleon.

Dressing well today requires a little effort--something the majority of men seem to have little interest in pursuing.
 

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Having grown up in jeans on the West Coast, I find them 'comfort clothes' along the lines of lasagna for dinner or fried chicken and mashed potatoes.
 

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I don't think you can draw any conclusions from sampling airport dress: air travel is so grim and awful, even in business class, that it's just not an occasion to be seen. Air travel is no longer social (which it once was, being modeled, essentially, on train travel, which used to be quite social).

I'm not sure what the average AAAC age is, but I suspect relatively few here experienced air travel prior to the 70s (the decade when it started changing for the worse). Want to wear a suit and tie while chatting up fellow passengers over cocktails? Find a time machine, my friends.

If I look at my own evolution of travel clothing (not counting my childhood travels in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s), I started with coat and tie in the 80s and early 90s - and that ended with my first transpacific flight, which itself ended in an extremely rumpled suit - transitioned to sort of utilitarian "travel apparel" (hiking/trekking kit, essentially) as I traveled more and to more exotic places (like Nepal and Antarctica), to my current reliance on the classic Adidas warm-up tracksuit.

I don't even bring a coat on the plane: I pack it when I arrive at the airport. I'm just not interested in subjecting a nice coat (all my coats are nice) to eleven hours of being crushed by someone's carry-on.

(I always get a kick out of the Lufthansa safety video, which shows all these very stolid Germans sitting comfortable in their dark, conservative suits, calmly affixing the airmasks as they drop from the ceiling. I have not noticed Lufthansa planes to be any roomier than average, however!)

DH
 

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Flying is a PITA, people are going to dress in the most comfortable garments possible. Personally I find jeans can get a little constricting when seated for hour upon hour...I tend to wear my most comfortable pair of chinos for air travel. That said, it's not an accurate read of general trends to judge people based on their travel clothing. Traveling by air in 2017 has almost no relation to what traveling was like 50 years ago.

As far as overcoats...I find them to be a hassle, especially in places where you will be sitting and standing a lot. They make sense in an environment where someone can check your coat for you, but for travel, when you are lugging bags, etc...they just get in the way [I find]. They do look nice though.
 

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^^
After 40+ years as a road warrior, flying hither and yon in the performance of a litany of military and civilian government assignments, subsequent to my final retirement from full time service, I have consistently elected not to fly, but rather to enjoy the luxury of driving from point A to B to C, etc. While I cannot recall ever flying in jeans (though a flightsuit is a utility uniform), I (don't often do so, but) do occasionally wear jeans, depending on the purpose of the travel. :icon_scratch:
 

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For Christmas, I flew from NYC (Laguardia) to Michigan (Detroit Metro) and spent several hours in both terminals.

Eighty-five to ninety percent of the pants worn by men and women (less than 1% of the women wore skirts or dresses) were jeans (mainly traditional blue with black and grey following in second and a distant third respectively).

The other approximately ten to fifteen percent of pants for men were sweats (modern or old-school) and, for women, sweats or (some form of) spandex.

For men, about 1% wore chinos or some "one-off" type of pants.

What stunned me was the dominance of jeans - they are, basically, what nearly ~90% of the population (passing through those two airports on last Sunday and yesterday) wore. I thought - based on them still being readily available in stores - that chinos would have been more common, but they were very hard to find on people in these two airports.

One other observation, this population does not wear traditional overcoats. Approximately 70% wore some form of a puffer coat or jacket with the balance (sans a sub-1% that wore a somewhat traditional overcoat) wearing a series of layers of sweat shirts, jeans or baseball-style jackets, hoodies, etc. - basically, getting warmth via layering these items. Women did wear more overcoats than men, but maybe ~2% for women, versus sub-1% for men.

It seems, from memory (there's no science or hard study here), that I saw a noticeable drop off in traditional clothes this year. Chinos, dress pants, overcoats, etc., have been a minority for well-over a decade now, but this year they seemed to all but disappear.

Of course, this is just an observation of clothes worn in two airports on two holiday-period days - this is not a broad sample, etc. That said, I've been going through airports for forty years and the decline in traditional clothing has been amazing.

What were others clothing observations over the holidays?
Exactly the same observations. In the last 35 days I have flown nine times, traveling through the Atlanta airport six times, LaGuardia twice, JFK twice, in France at CDG, Nice (twice) and Lyon, and also Amsterdam. What is more amazing is that, although I passed many thousands of men at the airports and flew with over a thousand of them, I saw only about 3-4 wearing neckties, excluding airline or airport employees. I wore a bespoke sport coat and a tie for each flight, feeling very lonely about it. By the way, during 47 trips to Europe over the years, I have never received any upgrade, or any other extra consideration, despite my jackets (usually suit) and ties for every flight, except that twice I was addressed in French, by Air France flight attendants. They apparently thought that I could not possibly be an American.
 

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I've just about given up on jeans. They look good for about 1 wearing after a wash, then they stretch out and look shabby. I'm looking for an alternative five-pocket style in a different material that doesn't stretch out of shape so easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I like jeans, but I also like chinos, cords, flannels and, in the summer, linen.

What surprised me was the complete dominance of jeans (with sweats being the second choice). I saw a few chinos, (maybe) one pair of dress pants (not on an airport employee) and no cords (maybe a 5 pocket, but not a traditional style cord).

In years past, jeans dominated, but not to this extent.
 

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Air travel aside, I noticed that for the past few years, ties are disappearing in an ever faster rate in business settings.

For Christmas, I flew from NYC (Laguardia) to Michigan (Detroit Metro) and spent several hours in both terminals.

Eighty-five to ninety percent of the pants worn by men and women (less than 1% of the women wore skirts or dresses) were jeans (mainly traditional blue with black and grey following in second and a distant third respectively).

The other approximately ten to fifteen percent of pants for men were sweats (modern or old-school) and, for women, sweats or (some form of) spandex.

For men, about 1% wore chinos or some "one-off" type of pants.

What stunned me was the dominance of jeans - they are, basically, what nearly ~90% of the population (passing through those two airports on last Sunday and yesterday) wore. I thought - based on them still being readily available in stores - that chinos would have been more common, but they were very hard to find on people in these two airports.

One other observation, this population does not wear traditional overcoats. Approximately 70% wore some form of a puffer coat or jacket with the balance (sans a sub-1% that wore a somewhat traditional overcoat) wearing a series of layers of sweat shirts, jeans or baseball-style jackets, hoodies, etc. - basically, getting warmth via layering these items. Women did wear more overcoats than men, but maybe ~2% for women, versus sub-1% for men.

It seems, from memory (there's no science or hard study here), that I saw a noticeable drop off in traditional clothes this year. Chinos, dress pants, overcoats, etc., have been a minority for well-over a decade now, but this year they seemed to all but disappear.

Of course, this is just an observation of clothes worn in two airports on two holiday-period days - this is not a broad sample, etc. That said, I've been going through airports for forty years and the decline in traditional clothing has been amazing.

What were others clothing observations over the holidays?
 
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