What to Wear on a Flight

Stylish folks will tell you fashion rules were made to be broken. But if you’re a frequent sky-high traveler, you know in-flight fashion is very different from what may be most trendy on solid ground. Dressing appropriately on a plane often means comfort trumps style. But while it’s important to feel cozy and relaxed, you don’t want to look like a slob.

Don’t throw your fashion sense totally out the window. When dressing for a flight, focus on both function and style. After all, dressing up and remaining comfortable isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here are some essential style tips for any jet-setter’s wardrobe.


It’s All About the Layers

The temperate is likely to fluctuate a lot during the process of air travel. It can be steamy hot while waiting in the security line, and then freezing cold about halfway through your flight. Therefore, dressing in layers is our top recommendation. You want to dress in layers that can be peeled off or pulled on as needed.

For your base layer, consider some kind of easy, breathable cotton shirt that is comfortable enough to wear on its own. (Ladies may want to avoid camis or tank tops that are too revealing, and men will want to avoid stained or tattered undershirts.) Then pack or wear a scarf, pashmina, shawl or wrap — items that can easily double as a blanket — or consider a cardigan, vest or light jacket. Anything with pockets will be extra convenient. One top pick is a solid-colored cashmere hoodie (or perhaps a cotton-cashmere blend), which offers functional comfort of a hoodie with the style, softness and lightweight warmth of cashmere.


Stretchy Pants and Compression Socks

A lot of companies have started making pants with an elastic waistband that are still super stylish. You can feel like you’re in your pajamas, but still look sophisticated. Women should try cropped pants, joggers or leggings. If you wear slacks or jeans, choose a pair with 5% or less of Spandex so they have a little extra give without becoming saggy or baggy. And if you wear a skirt or dress, wear tights or leggings underneath. Also, compression socks are key, especially for long flights, to promote blood circulation and help prevent your legs from swelling.


Comfortable, Simple, Slip-On Shoes

There’s a lot of walking in an airport, and you also want shoes that are easy to get through airport security. We suggest wearing shoes that are comfortable, mostly flat shoes. Sneaker-like or canvas slip-ons, fashionable flats and botties are ideal. Wear clean socks. And you may want to avoid sandals or flip-flops, since toes can get inadvertently stomped on in a crowd.

Now that you know the rules — comfy, stylish, easy layers — remember to avoid these items on a plan:

  • Uncomfortable or complicated shoes
  • Super tight clothes
  • Non-breathable fabrics
  • Constrictive or intricate clothing
  • Offensive or inappropriate clothing

Jocelyn Sexton is a marketing and corporate communications professional with more than 15 years of writing experience. She is a passionate storyteller and has worked in a variety of industries, including a stint in state government where she worked to promote Texas food with the Department of Agriculture. She earned an Executive MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has an undergraduate degree in Journalism-Public Relations from the University of North Texas.

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