The outfit is black, of course, to hide errant spills and manage dirty seats. The top is a deep V front and back, the shoulders elasticized enough to easily pull down in a nasty bathroom, but not so loose as to allow the whole outfit to drop to the floor. The fabric is a mid-weight, two-way stretch Cotton / Lycra blend: soft to the touch and neither sheer nor shiny. It’s sink-washable and will dry overnight. The bottom flares out wide enough to have a deep pocket on the outer leg (to hold my reader and phone for boarding) but not so wide to look like clown pants. The legs taper down to a perfect just-above-the-ankle length for either sandals or boots, season dependent. And there are zippered pockets, one in the front V to hold ID plus credit card for incidentals; two on the hip level for lip-gloss and tissues. This outfit is neither a jumpsuit nor overall: I call it my Travel-Alls.
A brief word about how I travel. I check. I hate dragging bags through the airport and dread the real humiliation of not being able to heft my own shit into the overhead bin. I end up through security with a crossbody bag and a backpack and open hands. Being able to tuck the necessities in accessible pockets is huge for me, the Travel-Alls make it so I don’t have to fumble around in bags to pay for coffee, drinks, and snacks.
The Travel-Alls and a tank are what I wear on my way to Mexico, a bright lightweight scarf around my neck to ward off the plane chill. Hat in hand I laugh through the airport, anticipating meeting up with friends and family for a sunny trip. No need to hold my stomach in on the way home: the Travel-Alls cover up a week filled with guacamole, chips and palomas.
A T-shirt and jacket are what I wear with my Travel-Alls to Colorado to visit my Dear Friend. Layers are important when the weather is ninety degrees one day and snow the next. I wear my light boots without socks, checking a case of wine for us to share. We stay up way too late solving the world’s problems, and the Travel-Alls are totally forgotten on the floor until time for home. No worries though, the wrinkles fall out on a fuzzy drive to the airport.
It’s February and we are on our way to Chicago, this time the Travel-Alls are layered with tights, a turtleneck and sweater. Heavy boots are on my feet. My scarf, gloves and heavy jacket are in the overhead bin at the ready upon landing. The Travel-Alls and heavy jacket work perfectly, keeping me warm as we hit Costco then grab pizza to enjoy a wonderful and too-short visit.
My backpack holds a change of clothes instead of my laptop as I rush to the airport for an emergency visit for Dad. The Travel-Alls work at the hospital, the pockets handy to hold Dad’s insurance information and paperwork. Fortunately, all turns out well, and I head home the next day confident that Dad is on the mend.
I’ve worn ball gowns and business suits tailored just for me and felt lovely and powerful in both. But when I close my eyes and dream about clothes, it’s the Travel-Alls that come to mind. Mind you, it’s not an outfit that I own, but one that has been designed in my brain for every future adventure. One day soon I will break out my sewing machine and make them my own.