Traveling in Style
The popular, though unsubstantiated, origin of the word posh is that it's an acronym for "Port Out, Starboard Home", where the first class berths were on Titanic-era luxury liners. While this theory is questionable, there's no doubt that the accommodations on-board these ships were, well, pretty posh.
Madeline Shaw, associate curator for costume and textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design, helped organize The Far Traveler, an exhibition devoted to the ways in which form has followed function as modern travel evolved.
While some perhaps were stooges, full-service gas station attendants were at least on hand once upon a time. A time when people just didn't go for a drive, they went motoring.
Where did one find a motoring veil and other such items? Why, in a Saks automobile apparel catalogue, of course, also on display at the exhibit.
Protecting passengers from the means of transportation themselves was another important function of travel clothing during this era. Early airplane engines, for instance, spewed oil everywhere. The solution? The one-piece flying suit: coveralls of cotton or fur-lined leather that not only protected clothing from oil stains but provided warmth while soaring through the chilly upper reaches of the atmosphere in an unheated plane.
Though it's hard to believe airplane food was ever that good, air travel of course eventually became more civilized. Ageing boomers like myself even recall the days when people used to get dressed up to get on a plane. And even though we're now traveling to more places around the world than ever before, you have to admit when you start comparing, say, your average carry-on bag with the likes of a French designer steamer trunk, we're just not doing it with quite as much as style we used to.
At the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, I'm Tom Verde for The Savvy Traveler.
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