If there’s anything I’ve learned from flying, it’s that the first step to potential freebie upgrades is to dress the part. No one’s going to bump you up to business or first class if you’re dressed like you just rolled out of bed or you look like you’re ready to hit the gym—I don’t care how in-style athletic gear is.
For me, choosing the right outfits for plane travel are the most important part of packing. While I’m usually wearing yoga pants chasing after my boys, there’s no replacement for feeling really comfortable when I’m flying. As a bit of a claustrophobic person, I can get antsy on a plane, and the last thing I want is to be sitting for four hours in stuffy, stiff, or too-tight clothing.
Whether you’re hitting the ground running and need to look good immediately when you land, or you just want to shake the slob off, heed these practical tips and outfit ideas for the next time you travel by plane. Chances are, you probably have the elements for these outfits in your wardrobe already.
For the Ultimate Casual-Chic Look
This is my go-to outfit for plane travel, and I rarely stray from it.
Dark Jeans: These are always a dressier option, and these lightweight jeans are super soft, super comfortable, and not overly tight to be uncomfortable when in the air. I should know—I wore them into the ground. I need a new pair! NYDJ Sherry Slim in Premium Lightweight, NYDJ, $124.
Scarf: Stay in season with an amazing colorful or print scarf. This Autumn Print Scarf by BP, Nordstrom, $26, is a perfect find for dressing up your look quickly and staying warm on the plane.
Bootie: The AJAX by Joie, Nordstrom, $295, are adorable and low heeled (so they’re comfortable, but dressy), and they keep you mobile. On top of it all they can be easily removed for check points at the airport.
No-Iron Top: The Ilari Top in Caviar, Joie, $158, is both functional and dressy-casual, and it pairs back with a million other pieces. It’s perfect for traveling. It’s so great I don’t even think it needs ironing.
Statement Jewelry: Functional and fashionable, this Reva Watch by Tory Burch, ToryBurch.com, $295, is the icing on top.
For Transitional Weather Wear
This outfit is key if you’re headed from warm weather to cold, or vice versa. The sweatpants (yes! They’re sweatpants!) are cozy but pass for patterned skinny leggings, and a cozy cardigan layered over a light silk/cotton blend top will take you from warm weather to cold and back again.
Off Duty Pants: Not your average sweatpants, The Nevaeh Sweatpants, Joie, are just $55.20 right now. They’re uber soft yet dressy enough in an animal print.
Cozy, Dressy Top: This cotton/silk blend is dressy and free juxtaposed with the pants. I love this! I could wear it all day every day! Carley Top, Joie, $128.
Shoes: BDG Renee D’Orsay Flat, Urban Outfittes, $39.99 on sale. I love comfortable nude flats—they go with everything in your luggage.
Throw-On Sweater: The stylish Back Buttoned Elbow Spliced Pullover Sweater, Rosegal, $24.61, will get plenty of use throughout your whole trip.
For Packing Ultra-Light
Who doesn’t love a great jumper? This one feels especially nice against your skin and is perfect for the minimalist traveler.
Jumper: This silky casual jumper is a quick standout. Dress it up, wear it casual. It’s a no-brainer for travel. June & Hudson Jumper, Nordstrom Rack, $34.97.
Long-Length Cardi: Multicolored Cardigan, Zara, $99.90, is the perfect snuggly when you’re on the plane; use it as a blanket or ball it up as a pillow.
For Donning a Dress (Without the Discomfort)
If pants aren’t in the forecast, try this thin, no-iron sweater dress with a light and cozy wrap. The shoes are a statement piece on their own, completing this simple outfit.
Maxi: This crazy-affordable dress works for just about any occasion, is a breeze to pack, and doesn’t need ironing. It’s also uber comfortable for travel. Ribbed Dress, Zara, $22.90.
Shoes: love these shoes—especially for long journeys. They add height and sophistication without the wear of a heel. Platform Bluchers, Zara, $49.90.
Wrap: Cozy it up on the plane with this sophisticated mustard cardi. Wrap Jacket, Zara, $25.90.
For if You Insist on a “Just-Rolled-Out-of-Bed” Ensemble
OK, OK. Judging by about 80% of women I see at the airport, black leggings and a sweater are the ensemble of choice. If you’re sticking with the look, do it right with a fancier knit variety of leggings with zippered accents, an oversized sweater that passes for cashmere (shh—it isn’t), and leather sneaks.
Leggings: These are chic, and you’ll wear them a thousand times without them fading. Wide Waist Leggings, Zara, $29.90.
Oversized Sweater: Oversized Gray Marl Sweater, Zara, $29.90, is a sublime, understated statement piece.
Leather Sneaker: Sleek, shiny, and comfortable, this is one dressy sneaker. Leather Sneakers with Floral Detail, Zara, $89.90.
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