Women love pilots. What’s not to like? Even men have a thing for pilots. Think Brad Pitt. He fell in love with one. The word itself conjures up images of Richard Gere (Officer and a Gentleman), Tom Cruise (Top Gun), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator), Andy Garcia (When a Man Loves a Woman), John Travolta (pilots his own 707), and Jake Pavelka.
Jake Pavelka. Ya know, The Bachelor this season. Rumor has it he’s a Captain for ASA.
It’s true. I really do watch reality TV. I wish I could tell you the reason for this is because I’m a flight attendant and flight attendants have erratic schedules which makes it nearly impossible to keep up with regular sitcoms, but you’d probably mention something about TiVo and then I’d have to admit I already have it, which pretty much ruins that excuse. The simple fact is I enjoy bad TV. I crave drama, even though I refuse to work the New York – Miami route, and that’s why I hope Vienna and Ali continue to stay in the running.
Pilots and fashion. I’m not sure you can even use the two words in the same sentence since they go as well together as orange juice and toothpaste. Ask any flight attendant if they can easily spot a pilot in civilian “layover clothes” and they will emphatically say yes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying…
Luckily not all pilots are created equal. Take for instance Bob, the singing pilot, whom I met in the travel section of Barnes and Nobles. There I stood flipping through a couple of books on Italy, Croatia, and Portugal, trying to figure out where I wanted to go to next, while he scanned the shelf looking for a place to sail his boat. Somehow, I don’t know how, we started talking, and soon Bob had me cracking up. He’s a funny guy. He’s also a very well-dressed guy. So imagine how shocked I was to learn that Bob actually worked for a major US carrier.
“Pilot,” he said matter of fact.
I had to know, so I asked flat out, “Why are so many pilots such bad dressers?”
As I stood there in the bookstore with Bob, I thought maybe, just maybe, I might be on to something. What pilot wouldn’t appreciate a little fashion advice from a fellow pilot. I scribbled my email address on a piece of paper and asked Bob if he’d be willing to share a few tips. Two days later I received an email from him. It was three pages long! Like most pilots, Bob takes his job very seriously.
- Wear anything black. If they invent a darker color than black wear that.
- Dark blue-ish / grey-ish jeans in a boot or regular cut are best. (nothing tapered)
- Linen is your friend. It’s cool, comfortable, and looks great…even if wrinkled.
- Fitted shirts. If you can still pull them off. Otherwise stick to shirts in solid colors or subtle patterns.
- Brown leather bomber jacket. It screams “look at me, I’m a pilot…on a layover…in a bar…drinking.” These are only fashionable in pilot lounges or near military installations
- Tank tops. Keep America beautiful
- Tube socks. Socks should never go above your ankles. Nor should they be worn with sandals.
- Shorts. Especially in Latin countries where it’s considered effeminate. If you must, go with cargo or hiking styles
- “Douche bag” shirts. Nothing screams midlife crisis, desperate for attention, I have a prescription for Viagra like a bold patterned, colorful dress shirt commonly seen worn at clubs or in Vegas.
- Uniform items outside of work or on layovers. No thin belt. No black shoes. No black or blue pants. NO!
- Pleats. Unless you have the physique of Lou Costello and it’s 1939 just don’t.
- Khaki. Enough already! And for God’s sake, no pleated khaki.
- Golf clothes. Not unless you’re on a golf course.