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Classy and Comfortable Fashion for Air Travel

Classy and Comfortable Fashion for Air Travel

On a recent trip through the Houston airport I was pleased to see a change from the usual dress of t-shirts, skinny jeans, sweat pants and flip-flops that so many wear as slaves to being uber-comfortable when traveling. We have evolved from the dress of the 50s and 60s when a woman dressed to the nines and elegance and glamour were considered the norm. Today the dress code for air travel seems to be something that can often be called sloppy at best. Yet it doesn’t need to be that way.  There’s a whole world that exists between pajamas and formalwear, and plenty of clothes that not only help you get snuggly in your seat, but also make sense after landing.

dressed well and dressed badlyfor airport travel

Appropriate, Not So Appropriate

Appearances do matter. Wherever you are, appearances matter, and even more so when you’re on a plane. Dress well, and you’ll be the first person considered for an upgrade if one becomes available, the flight attendants will respond more positively to you. .Make sure you look the part!!

The outfit you wear on the plane is also the first thing you’ll wear at your destination, after all, so your first impression’s at stake. But, if your clothes prevent you from getting past security swiftly, booking it to your gate, and sitting comfortably for your three- or 13-hour flight, you’ve got to rethink.

So here are some ideas on what you should be wearing when you fly.  First some general ideas which provide plenty of comfort plus a touch of style. Be the best dressed in the cabin with our guide to in-flight apparel.

General Guidelines for Air Travel

Layers and More Layers

Air travel is often an assemblage of various disparate micro-climates, from the sweat-inducing sunny tarmac to the arctic air-conditioned cabin during flight. I like to wear a. Pashminas, shawls, wraps, cardigans, sweatshirts, vests, and light jackets are perfect. You can even fold or roll soft items, like cotton jackets, and use them as makeshift pillows during flight. A washable cotton scarf that’s large enough to double as a wrap is perfect when it’s particularly chilly

Plus, the more layers you pile on your body, the less you need to pack in your luggage. Roll items and stuff them in your carry-on bag or under the seat in front of you if you’re too warm. A foldable, reusable  bag which takes up almost no suitcase space and can even be scrunched up and stuffed into a pocket, is useful for toting extra apparel that you’ve taken off.

Layers help you regulate temperature while flying and come in handy when traveling through various (actual) climates. And for travelers hitting the road during shoulder season, when weather is particularly unpredictable, layers are key for optimal comfort.

traveling outfits for air travl

Breathable Fabrics

Maintain in-flight comfort and cleanliness by wearing breathable fabrics — materials that allow air and moisture to pass through — like cotton, silk, or linen. Fabrics that don’t allow air to circulate will hold sweat on the skin, likely making you feel dirtier faster and probably necessitating a good spin in the washing machine upon landing. Natural fabrics are great, but moisture-wicking man-made fabrics are suitable options as well.

Support or Compression Legwear

Many doctors recommend that pregnant women wear support or compression stockings or socks in flight. But compression legwear is also a good choice for those with pre-existing medical conditions, travelers taking long-haul flights, and anyone who flies often. The socks or stockings, which promote blood circulation, help prevent swelling of the legs, and help guard against deep vein thrombosis (DVT), work by putting pressure on leg muscles and increasing blood flow. You can find them at many pharmacies and drug stores

Comfortable, Simple Shoes

It’s best to wear extremely comfortable, mostly flat shoes on the plane — think of your poor feet after hours or even days of sitting, standing, and walking en route to your destination. You’ll also want to select shoes that are easy to slip on and off when passing through airport security.

Clothes with Lots of Pockets

With all kinds of airline baggage fees dropping like hot bricks, clothes that do double duty as wearable carry-on bags are de rigueur. There are myriad travel jackets out there that feature an explosion of pockets

Loose-Fitting Clothing

As we mentioned before, DVT is a danger on flights, where travelers stuck in cramped seats for long periods of time are at greater risk for developing blood clots. To reduce the risk of getting DVT, the University of Washington Medical Center recommends avoiding “tight clothing, nylons, or socks (especially the type that are too tight at the top and/or leave marks on your skin) that might restrict blood flow through veins.” So leave your skinny jeans at home and opt for less restrictive garments like A-line skirts, loose-fitting dresses, or more relaxed straight- or wide-leg pants.

Something Stylish

Don’t throw fashion totally out the window. When it comes to dressing for a flight, much of our advice focuses on function. But dressing with a bit of style — while keeping conscious of comfort, of course — could help you get a free upgrade. An anonymous source told Goop, “On a Virgin flight back to Heathrow, I spotted one of the staff’s monitors that read, ‘Look for well-dressed people to upgrade.’ The staff then began looking around for well-dressed people to upgrade. I’m not saying this will happen every time, but if you are looking to get upgraded, it helps to look smart.” Throw a flowy, fashion-forward dress on over your compression socks and flash the airline staff a smile.

Want some specific suggestions? Here you go. I’ll walk you through this airplane outfit, explain why it’s a good outfit for air travel.

Your Airplane Outfit

great traveling outfit


I don’t travel on a plane wearing shorts, because I know I will be cold.  Jeans often make me feel like a fatty as my body expands like a little balloon from the time spent at a higher altitude.  So I prefer a longer-length full skirt which lets me curl up my legs up inside. Look for a skirt in a heavy, natural materials like suede or thick jersey. Or there is the  Substantial Gaucho which is free of fussy pleats and flimsy fabric. It’s cozy without being restricting (it’s super easy to curl up in these). Second, it looks as polished as work trousers thanks to clean lines and substantial fabric.


If you need to travel light, layering is a must.  I would wear a tank top or camisole beneath t-shirts.  With this outfit, picking a bright color adds interest to the ensemble.

traveling outfits

The Blouse

The blouse seen above, is a sheer cream color, made of chiffon fabric.  The long sleeves are nice for airplane warmth, but the fabric is still light and breathable.  Another plus is that this material doesn’t wrinkle almost at all when packed away in a suitcase.

The Jacket

Picking a neutral color for the jacket is important, because it will have to go with all of your outfits, as it will most likely be your only jacket choice.  I chose the Mocha color because it goes well with the pants, and offsets the other accessories.  I purchased my jacket, which looks almost identical to the one in the picture for cheap at Ross.

The Scarf

Even when I’m going to an island destination, I usually wear, or pack a scarf.  I like to wear a scarf on airplanes, because once again, if I am cold, which I often am on planes, I can wrap it around me.  Or, it doubles nicely as an eye mask.  Pick a scarf that has a few different colors in it, so once again, you can pair it with other outfits, that you wear, during your adventure.

The Shoes

I often wear sandals when I’m going on an airplane trip, but pack socks.  Footwear that is easy to slip on and off makes security that much more simple. They are great because, although flats, they still look classy, and yet, unlike heels, comfortable for walking, and running.

The Jewelry

Yes, I like jewelry, and why fly on an airplane without wearing an airplane necklace?  The earrings are simple, but dress up the outfit a bit, and once again, can be worn with anything (see a trend here?).

The Watch

Once you are lounging on a beach, in an island paradise, toss your watch in your suitcase, but for the airplane flight, it’s nice to have.  The flight attendants will appreciate that you aren’t harassing them continually with questions of, “How much longer till we land,” and “What time is it?”  I usually just wear a simple gold watch, but I really liked the aqua, wrap around, bracelet watch seen in the photo.

The Bag

You’ll need a bag that can fit your must have airplane fun kit; like a computer, wallet, passport…etc.  Just find a travel bag you like.

Big Sunglasses

Whether you sleep all the way through or you don’t sleep at all, nobody looks their best while on flights. Good quality sunglasses will protect your eyes from the harsh lights, making it easier to sleep, and preventing puffed up eyes. My sunglasses are always the first thing I pack, they make me look effortlessly stylish during the flight and are lifesavers when

Make up!

Get a cute make up bag and make sure you pack it with essentials. Toothpaste and a toothbrush will keep you feeling fresh, and make sure you’ve got some deodorant.  Depending on the length of flight, you may need to do some touchup after landing. Make sure  you  check the current guidelines on what you can take onboard.

 And with that, you are all dressed up to go somewhere….

skirts while traveling air travel

Finally, what not to wear

  • Complicated Shoes
  • Fabrics That Don’t Breathe
  • Tight Clothing
  • Complicated Clothing
  • Contact Lenses
  • Perfume
  • Offensive Or Inappropriate Clothing
unkempt travelers

Comfortable but sloppily-dressed travelers

Want some more ideas for airport fashion, try this Pinterest page.

And if you are looking for fun places to go and stay, check out these travel ideas from Home Away.

Credits to the following sources:  Refinery 29     Smart Travel     Aelida      Huffington Post




Rita Doyle says:

I only fly a couple of times a year and my flights are just a little over an hour and usually during the fall and winter months. I agree that loose pants are more practical, specially since I like to travel inconspiscuously efemme. Pants, turtle- neck sweaters, low heel booties or flats. I have a couple of jackets, one in leather, and a marine style coat which is nice and warm. My long hair in a pony tail, little make-up and no lipstick. Many GGs travel like that and I try to blend in.

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