08/18/2011 12:20 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

What Happened to the Principle That...

What happened to the principle that "while we are traveling, let's look our best"? If you can dress up for church on Sunday or for a job interview, why can't you put on some shoes to board a flight? I recently cris-crossed the country on several flights and witnessed first hand what people are wearing in airports. It gave me very troubling pause and cause for thought.

Forget the George Clooney Up In the Air moment of picking out a matching belt for every pair of shoes -- along with matching socks in the left shoe. There is no shoe. The modern airport attire has become a uniform of flip flops, pajamas and no make-up. There was a time when air travel had a much more elegant uniform -- business attire. And design was involved everywhere, from the coffee cup, the seat tray, the clothing of the flight staff to the logo on the aircraft to which you were going to trust your life; a logo that implied standards and quality. If I'm going down on a flight, please let my last vision not be a pair of Teva sandals with no pedicure. If I have to act in the case of emergency, I would hope that my feet are wrapped in a tough, quality leather with the ease and comfort of a slipper but the steel toe that might be needed to kick open an escape slide.

I am nostalgic for the era captured in those photos when I was growing up of people jumping on flights, ready for anything, but with a style that would challenge any runway show. Close to the body but made of the most gorgeous fabrics available, this is the way I would want to go down, or preferably arrive on my exciting journey to the next destination. I looked at the presentation that now is common flight America and was shocked. Make that alarmed. More design goes into the aesthetic of a Sunchip's bag than that of the person who consumes the snack. Right now, foreign investment is flooding into our shores via Detroit, LA, NYC, Miami... everywhere... and what do we have to offer these investors but a vision of spandex and light wash denim.

It's the first impression and you never know who you might meet traveling across America. Now is the time to dress up and face the world with our best face possible. When Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Halston and Ralph Lauren started selling America did they start with disposable fashion? No, because true fashion staples that cued into the American psyche can be every bit luxe and well tailored as a Brioni suit. I am hopeful that new TV series such as Pan Am, can bring back some glamour to flight... (or at least a chance to witness the beauty that is Christina Ricci.) There's a sense of hope that when you are boarding a flight that you are representing your best...