Tag: Travel Fashion

What Would Kerouac Wear?

Photo by Tom Palumbo (Creative Commons)

Dressing the part of your favorite traveler—fictional or otherwise—is a fun concept. Consider the crumpled linen of “Our Man in Havana” or Miss Lucy’s Edwardian ruffles in “A Room with a View.”  When the trend and fashion site Who What Wear published a piece on how to do exactly that, I wondered what the fashionistas advised. And hey, they mashed it up with a travel-centric summer reading list. Great idea.

We’ve heard that escapism can be a vice, but we’re ignoring the professionals for now and using our summer reading to transport ourselves to coastal Scotland, 1950s Paris, and the high seas (just to name a few) via a few of our favorite books. Even better? We’re taking style notes from these classic tales and are fully dressing the part.

It took only two outfits for my sarcastic side to kick in. For “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s classic about racism in the 1930s American South, the site recommends a $295 leather backpack. Where is the ham costume worn by Scout for a Halloween pageant in the 1962 movie? By the time I got to Kerouac ($9 for “On the Road,” $588 for a pair of shorts), I’d had enough.

I reread “On the Road” during a recent trip to California. At the beginning of the book, Kerouac—or rather, Sal Paradise— makes much of the fact that his feet are wet and cold thanks to his cheap espadrilles. Sal never has enough gear, and at one point, fellow hitchhiker Eddie makes off with one of Sal’s only shirts. When I read the book in my early 20s, I was taken with the free-spirited nature of it. Reading it again, I thought about the hard travel Kerouac describes and how exhausting being cold and hungry so often would have been.

Plus, Sal Paradise would kick you in the junk for blowing close to $600 on shorts. He’d spend that money on booze and books. Let me know when there’s a guide to drinking like your favorite literary character—that’s an idea I can get behind.

(Never mind. It exists. If you need me, I’ll be at the bar reading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Singapore Sling, if you’re wondering.)

Happy Unofficial 75th Birthday, Aloha Shirt

Laura Bly explains why July is a significant month for the aloha shirt, unofficially.

Though Honolulu tailor Ellery Chun trademarked the term in the 1930s, the garb gained official visibility in 1947, when the city’s chamber of commerce amended an earlier resolution allowing open-necked shirts during the summer to specifically include the aloha shirt and its loud, colorful patterns. Celebrities from Elvis Presley to Tom Selleck were enthusiastic ambassadors, and soon every Hawaiian tourist worth his plastic lei was bringing one back as a souvenir of paradise.

One man who helped popularize aloha shirts, Alfred Shaheen, died in 2009.

China Beyond its Borders

Caught up with NPR’s series about the ways China is asserting itself throughout the world. It’s excellent. The latest piece looks at Italian response to the changing textile scene in Tuscany, “home to the largest concentration of Chinese residents in Europe.”

Sylvia Poggioli says:

On Via Pistoiese, shops are Chinese—hairdresser, hardware store and supermarket. There are few Italians. It’s 2 p.m. and all shops are open—there’s no time for siesta in Chinatown.

The Family Jewels

A Himalayan trek took an unlikely turn, leaving Abbie Kozolchyk in the hands of a Nepali goldsmith, his wife and their son

See the full audio slideshow: »

Odd Jobs: Interview With a Nigerian Garment Fixer

Odd Jobs: Interview With a Nigerian Garment Fixer Photo: Lola Akinmade

Lola Akinmade meets a guy in Lagos who'll fix the shirt right off your back

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Mr. Suitcase

On the trauma of luggage gone astray (and how an inconvenience turned into an obsession)

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Jersey Girl

Jersey Girl REUTERS/Christine Grunnet

Abbie Kozolchyk finds herself on an unlikely quest to buy soccer jerseys from Bolivia to Bhutan

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Photos: Laundry Around the World

Ross Arbes and Alexandra Hiatt share their images of laundry taken during a 16-month trek. Here’s what compelled them:

At first, we assumed that it was the colors that continually caused us to focus on the laundry. But these clotheslines also provided subtle allusions to gender issues, cultural differences and the impact of modernization. The closer we zoomed in, the more we came to see laundry as an open window into others’ lives.

Laundry can also bring people together.

Japan Airlines Flight Attendant Uniforms: Big on the Black Market

You can probably guess for whom the uniforms hold a “mysterious power.” From the Times:

For decades, the crisp, no-nonsense outfits have appealed to male Japanese tastes. New Japan Airlines (JAL) uniforms have long been in demand in the local sex industry for customers keen on role-playing fantasies, while rare specimens that have actually been worn are hugely sought after by fetishists and are worth their weight in gold.

Countless shops will sell a very credible imitation for a few thousand yen, but the real thing can fetch a fortune. Historically, says Yu Teramoto, the owner of a specialist costumier in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, real JAL outfits have been virtually impossible for buyers to lay their hands on. However, the post-bankruptcy prospect of huge layoffs at JAL—especially among uniform-wearing air-crew—raises the prospect that former staff will attempt to sell their outfits for a profit.

One stolen uniform previously sold for about 11,000 pounds.

Photo You Must See: Models Strike a Pose in Karachi

Photo You Must See: Models Strike a Pose in Karachi REUTERS/Adrees Latif
REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Two fashion models pose together before hitting the catwalk during Karachi’s Fashion Pakistan Week.

Photo You Must See: Tokyo Punk Parasol

Photo You Must See: Tokyo Punk Parasol REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Japanese girls in punk fashion sit under a parasol in Harajuku, Tokyo’s fashion district.

Photo We Love: The Scarves of South Sulawesi

Photo We Love: The Scarves of South Sulawesi REUTERS/Stringer Indonesia
REUTERS/Stringer Indonesia

A woman tries on a headscarf at a market in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Interview With Rose Hamid: Flight Attendant, Hijab Wearer

Interview With Rose Hamid: Flight Attendant, Hijab Wearer Photo courtesy of Rose Hamid

How does she navigate the tensions between her profession and her faith in a post-9/11 world? Andrea Cooper learns more.

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The Traveler’s Shoe Conundrum

The Traveler’s Shoe Conundrum Photo by ilkerender via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ilkerender via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In his latest blog post, Frugal Traveler Matt Gross reflects on the impossibility of finding the perfect pair of travel shoes. I think most of us who’ve ever tried to pack light for a multi-purpose trip can relate.

The Shanghai Qi Pao Club

Photo by Kellie Schmitt Photo by Kellie Schmitt

They gathered to celebrate the sexy, figure-hugging traditional Chinese dress. Kellie Schmitt joined them for a journey into the country's past -- and future.

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Farewell, Crocs?

Farewell, Crocs? Photo by *hoodrat* via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by *hoodrat* via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Ah, cruel fashion. The Washington Post reports that the company behind the, er, distinctive foam shoes is in major financial trouble—and Crocs, so recently a hot item, could be on their way out. Fine by me. Now, any chance that a few other staples of the ugly tourist uniform—fanny packs, anyone?—could be vanishing, too? (Via Andrew Sullivan)

Bikinis: A History in Pictures

Just in time for the summer holidays, Slate digs up a brief (har har) pictorial history of the bikini, originally put together for the suit’s 60th anniversary a couple years back. There’s also an excellent Magnum photo gallery.

May Day Is Lei Day in Hawaii

May Day Is Lei Day in Hawaii Photo by Nerd's Eye View via Flickr (Creative Commons

May 1, 1928, was the first Lei Day, the holiday that celebrates the Hawaiian tradition of making and wearing leis. Island festivities include lei-making contests and Prom King and Queen-like coronations. After the contests are over, the leis are taken to the tombs of the ali’i—the Hawaiian royalty—and left there as offerings. I’m more than a little delighted to be arriving in Kaua’i just in time for the island’s Lei Day festivities. There’s a rather nice video montage of some older and new Lei Day photos here:

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In Shanghai, What Not to Wear

In my old stomping grounds in Shanghai’s Pudong area, I was always amazed to see grown women wandering the streets in pajamas emblazoned with teddy bears and Mickey Mouse motifs. The Chinese teachers I worked with were embarrassed by the trend—they told me they wouldn’t be caught dead outside in pajamas—but somehow it’s become as much a part of Shanghai culture as soup dumplings and hairy crabs.

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Dora the Explorer: Now Packing Lipstick

Yup, one of our favorite fictional travelers is all grown up. A “teaser silhouette” of the new Dora, released a couple weeks back, stirred up controversy, with parents worrying about the “sexy” image being projected to their children. Now the final image has been made public—and yes, as we suspected, Dora is now clearly packing makeup, accessories, and some serious hair product for her travels. “If the Dora we knew grew up,” laments one parent’s petition, “she wouldn’t be a fashion icon or a shopaholic. She’d develop her map reading skills and imagine the places she could go.”

What do you think? Is the new Dora too sexy, or is this a tempest in a talking backpack?