NYT: It wasn’t long ago that we wore suits and dresses on planes, in restaurants or at the theater.
I can vouch for that. In the 1950s & '60s as a kid I had to wear a coat & tie when I went to a restaurant with my parents, and my younger sister a dress. Blue jeans (or "dungarees") and sneakers were only for play after school.
Even at the kids' Saturday morning movie matinee I had to wear creased trousers and leather shoes, though without a jacket or tie, even just a collared "pullover" shirt (nowadays generically a polo) being OK, but not a T. When I was taken to Radio City Music Hall in NYC with family, though, it was full jacket & tie.
My last 2 years of secondary school were in a public high school, where even in 1966-67 boys couldn't wear jeans or sneakers (we didn't have fancy running shoes yet), and the girls could only wear skirts or dresses, no pants of any kind. They had to wear flats, no high heels.
Despite later movies about that era like Grease
, that make the guys look like members of a motorcycle gang, and the girls like hookers, I never knew a school that allowed that look. Boys whose hair touched their shirt collar or went below their eyebrows could be sent home or face a scissors cutting in the principal's office.
When I flew to college in 1967 I wore a suit & tie on the plane. Even the Army was "formal" in that we soldiers couldn't go off the installation in our fatigue uniform, except for the purpose of driving in a private car if we lived off post. But no stopping along the way, except briefly for "essentials" like gasoline (there was actually a list of rules about this). We had to wear our khakis or greens with a tie, or else civilian clothes, which could be anything the civilians allowed. Nowadays you hardly see soldiers anywhere wearing anything but camouflage combat dress as if they just returned from Afghanistan, unless it's a General testifying before Congress.