Galley Gossip: The Bachelor – pilots, fashion & a few pilot fashion tips

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?

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.

I like Jake. He seems like a nice guy. This is why I’m afraid he may be in over his head. The women have been fawning all over him. I don’t blame them. He’s a handsome pilot who looks dreamy dressed in a tux! But that tuxedo got me thinking. Would they have given him a second glance if they’d seen him say passing through the lobby of a hotel – not dressed in his uniform, nor in a wardrobe chosen by a professional stylist for a popular television show, but in his (gasp) “layover clothes?” If you’re a flight attendant, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

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.

Me, too!” I exclaimed, clutching a copy of Frommer’s Italy to my chest. “I’m a flight attendant.”

“Pilot,” he said matter of fact.

I looked him up and down. I didn’t believe him. How could I? He wasn’t wearing acid washed jeans or khaki pants paired with a polo shirt, or even worse, a Member’s Only jacket. Nor did he wear Top Gun style Raybans with a brown leather bomber jacket. Bob was just a regular Joe who looked pretty darn good in dark fitted jeans.

I had to know, so I asked flat out, “Why are so many pilots such bad dressers?”

The problem, according to Bob, is that pilots spend too much time looking for tools in the Sears catalog and then accidentally stumble into its clothing section. “It’s not so much that being a pilot causes one to be fashionably challenged, it’s just we tend to be better at things like engineering, checking the car’s oil, fixing things around the house, and not asking for driving directions,” he explained. “This as opposed to fashion design.”
Made sense.
Truth be told, I like a man who can fix things around the house. I would really hate it if I had to fight with my husband, a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy, over hangers. Honestly, I wouldn’t joke about something as serious as closet space. That’s mine!

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.
Photos courtesy of The Bachelor and Hoodrat