Vintage travel was glamorous, exciting, expensive and… well just a little bit kooky.
Flying was still a novel experience which offered the elite a chance to explore the Empire. Between the 1930s and ’50s, the travel industry began to boom, and boy was it exciting.
Why? Well, let me tell you…
1. The Air Hostesses (and the Pilots)
To be an air hostess or a pilot was one of the greatest jobs to have! You got to travel the world and look awesome doing it. While the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s had all the glam, these jobs are no less amazing today, as Emma Hardy and Julien Hall can tell you.
2. The Leg Room
We’ve all heard of air rage and, subsequently, passenger shaming; but back in the Golden Age of travel, airline passengers were treated to extra leg room and seats that reclined back into beds without the need to squash the person behind you – and this was just in Economy Class!
3. The Food
Airplane food has never been good… Or so we thought. Back in the “good ol’ days” (thanks Gran) passengers of all classes were treated to lobster dinners and champagne. Nowadays you have to be a high flyer to get some of that action.
4. The Entertainment
You’ll be forgiven for mistaking that life in the air in the between the years of 1930-1955 were dull affairs. After all, there was no in-flight movies. But who needs in flight movies when you have a man playing all your favourite tunes on the piano?
5. The Swimwear
From the 1930s onwards women were gaining more independence and freedom to wear what they wanted, when they wanted, leading to some drop-dead-gorgeous beachwear.
6. And The Men’s Swimwear
7. What People Used For Swimming In General!
These hilarious contraptions were actually used for scuba diving, and they were pretty darn good at it too. I can imagine you would have to have a strong set of shoulders in order to hold them up on dry land though. Well done, boys.
So you might be thinking “Ah, I wish I could go back to the ’40s and travel ‘vintage style'”, and well, so do we. But it wasn’t all this awesome. It was also pretty darn weird…
They did WHAT?!
Today, every passenger is equipped with the essentials: life jacket, T.V., pillow and vomit bag… But did you know that vintage travel essentials also included an ashtray, because of course it’s fine to smoke on the plane (??) , a radio, and a Burp Can? And yes, it is exactly what you are thinking.
Oh, to be a lady…
While women were gaining more rights and freedoms, there were some who thought a woman had to travel a certain way.
Women were not allowed to travel with shorts or trousers on, a skirt or dress was the appropriate ‘comfortable’ clothing. To add insult to injury, these skirts had a length allowance: their skirts could be no longer than the length of their luggage bag so as to resist folding their skirts in half. This rule went on the window when one was wearing an evening gown. Obviously.
When taking her seat, a woman would walk in front of the man, the man had to open or close the window for a lady, and when disembarking she would walk behind the man.
It was also advised of women that, when talking to strangers, “one should not disclose information about oneself except in the vaguest sense”. What they were expected to talk about is beyond me…
And check out these amazing vintage travel posters…
Far off countries were depicted as other worldly paradises.
To travel was to be glamorous, with travelling fashion taking over advertisements.
It was the first time that swimwear was seen as a status symbol and fashion statement.
Warm, exotic places weren’t the only top destination, with skiing and cruises to the Arctic also popular!
So basically, to sum up, vintage fashion rocked. Sure, it had it’s weird points such as the burp cup and the strict rules for women, but it was the beginning of the travellers revolution, the Golden Age in which commercial travel took off. In short, it was what brought us here today and for that, we are grateful. Thanks, grandma.