Crafting the Perfect Plane Outfit

crafting the perfect plane outfit

Image: Exofficio Shirtigan (Amazon), Anne Klein black cotton leggings (Amazon), Pashmina (Amazon), Black Jacquard Toms (Amazon)

You always see photos of celebrities arriving to the airport looking effortlessly chic, but how do us real gals do it? In crafting the perfect plane outfit for yourself, there are a number of factors to consider.

  • Firstly, how long is your flight? If you’ll be on a plane for any longer than eight hours, you might wear something completely different than you would for a three hour flight.
  • Secondly, what time is your flight? Do you plan on immediately exploring your destination upon arrival or will you want to change or even sleep?
  • Thirdly, do you want to get upgraded? Studies show that passengers dressed more formally are more likely to get upgraded than those who aren’t.
  • And lastly, how comfortable do you want to be?

Luckily you can have it all, comfort and class, if you choose the right pieces.

Short Haul vs. Long Haul

Short Flight Outfit
Short Flight Outfit

As I said before, the length of your flight can play a role in crafting the perfect plane outfit. For short haul flights where I know I will immediately be sightseeing in my destination, I like to choose attire that is cute and comfortable. For example, on a flight to New York this summer, I wore a nice (ie. not grubby) V-neck t-shirt with a black blazer and floral skirt. I brought a scarf to keep my legs warm on the flight. Once I got there, I was able to wear my blazer in the morning when it was chilly and fold it up to put in my bag once the sun came out.

On long hauls, however, my standby plane outfit is my ExOfficio Go-To ¾ Sleeve Shirtigan, which is like a tunic in length but also has zippered pockets and a flattering fit. I pair it with a pair of black leggings and my black corduroy Toms with an extra pair of socks in my bag. I also bring a scarf for when I get chilly. It feels much like pajamas as everything is made of cotton, but it looks better than the real thing.

What to Avoid

To keep comfortable and prevent yourself from falling victim to deep vein thrombosis, which creates blood clots from flying, wear your clothing as loose as possible. It should also go without saying that you shouldn’t wear any shirts with an offensive message or clothing that’s too skimpy, as you could be kicked off a plane for breaking airline dress codes.

Clothing

Long Flight Outfit
Long Flight Outfit

While it may seem reasonable to wear your pajamas to the airport for a long-haul flight, it won’t do you any favors. Find clothing that’s equally comfortable but looks good, like a pair of cotton stretch black pants, jeggings or leggings.

Don’t overthink it. There’s nothing wrong with basics, like a simple grey sweater or white t-shirt. Use layers to make more room in your suitcase and to keep you warm in the plane’s recycled air. Pants should be loose enough to give your legs room to swell from altitude. Leggings are a good choice and if all else fails, go with black.

Don’t forget breathable undies like those from ExOfficio if you’ll be on a plane for a while without changing. Alternatively, you can try Pop N Go knickers, which are easy to change in small plane bathrooms.

Shoes

You should consider your shoes when choosing your plane outfit as it will impact what else you pack. If you are bringing a pair of tall boots or something else that takes up a lot of room, you should probably wear them on the plane to save space. If you aren’t, wear shoes that slip on and off easily to get you through the security line in a breeze.

I recommend shoes that both look good and feel good. Toms are easy to slip on and off and can fold up to go into your seat back. Tieks are cute flats that can make you look more professional and also will fold up to throw into your purse. And you can’t beat the comfort factor of Uggs, which make you feel like you’re wearing bedroom slippers.

Accessories

As we’ve said before, accessories take an outfit from “drab to fab.” A scarf or pashmina is an essential airplane item, keeping you warm and making it able to bundle into a pillow. If you’re bringing a hat on your trip, you’ll want to wear it on the plane to keep it from getting flattened. And top off every look with key jewelry pieces.

Let us know what you consider a perfect plane outfit below!

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


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Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

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Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

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Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Sandy says

    Good suggestions. I like the idea of leggings, but as a 60-something traveler, I prefer black pull-on pants with elastic waist! I always have a pashmina. Sometimes I wear running shoes instead of slip-ons. Easier to wear than to pack, and it only takes a little more time to take off and put back on. I have some Sketchers that I love. Also I NEVER walk thru security with bare feet–gross!

  2. Steph T. says

    Short flights…I will wear whatever fits my destination. Usually comfortable jeans or slacks, my Teiks and weather appropriate top. For long flights…leggings, a tunic and my long sweater that can be used as a blanket if it is cold. I’m a large woman, so a pashmina is generally not big enough to do me any good.

  3. Lesli says

    Would you recommend the ExOfficio top for someone with a large bust? I love the look of it, and I’d kill for a button-up that doesn’t wrinkle! But unfortunately, button-ups that fit my bust are hard to come by.

  4. Caroline says

    @Lesli- I’m on the bigger chest side but because it’s jersey material, you don’t have the same puckering problems you do for other button ups. It also only buttons part of the way, which helps with the tension.

  5. Vero says

    So I have a big dilemma. My feet hurt all the time and I mainly wear tennis shoes. I have bought those pairs of Asics I love.
    We will be flying to Spain and have over 6 hrs layovers.
    Would Asics tennis shoes and tights be ok to wear? I am not sure of the top as I don’t want to look too sloppy. And I will be having my 4 year old boy with me. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Veronica says

    So, I have a little dilemma.
    I am flying to Spain and have some long layovers plus a 4 yr old. I was thinking about wearing my Asics tennis shoes since I have feel problems.
    I am not sure what to wear to make it a little stylish and cute.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated !

  7. Marvia says

    Ideas for clothes to wear and travel to Barcelona,Bilbao and travel to San Sebastián . Leaving Dec. 4- returning Dec. 13….. To PA

  8. Svea says

    My ideal plane outfit:

    Lightweight button down shirt with a solid colored tank top or a T shirt with long sleeves
    Leggings
    Sheer scarf
    Slip ons or running shoes

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