What to wear travelling on a plane

Whether your flight is an hour or a whole day, what you wear on a plane can make or break the ride. Here are some tips for what to wear on a plane to travel in comfort and style.

1. Wear Stretchy Pants

The best travel outfits start with comfy pants. When you’re sitting for hours in a cramped airplane, the best pants are soft, a little loose, or have some good stretch. There’s nothing worse than stiff, tight pants that squeeze your thighs and dig into your crotch as you sit stuffed into a tiny airplane seat.

Jean lovers can try a relaxed boyfriend cut or any other style of jeans that have some decent stretch. If you sit for hours in tight jeans, you risk getting Deep Vein Thrombosis – blood clots in the leg, which can lead to sudden death.

Compression socks also help keep the blood flowing and improve circulation. This excellent portable footrest also helps with that—casual, loose, silky wide-leg pants in a matching top that look like a lounge suit.

Airplane Outfit Travel - Olive Knit Set

2. Choose a Relaxed Top

A soft, loose top is what you need to feel comfy and stress-free. It can be cotton, silky material, or a thin knit. Try to stay away from a top that is so crisp it wrinkles, because travel clothes are guaranteed to get wrinkled!

I like tops with long sleeves you can push up, or 3/4 length sleeves because airplanes are often very cold. Layering tops is a good idea if you are menopausal and your body temperature fluctuates between chilly and burning.

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3. Dark Colors Are Easier to Travel In

Dark colors and neutrals are standard for travel because they don’t show dirt as much. Airplanes are tight, crowded spaces. Spills are common, and it’s easy to rub them against something and accidentally get your clothes dirty.

I like to wear neutrals and a pop of color, like jeans and a bright top. That’s more, my style. Happy colors make me feel like vacation time has begun. I’ll even wear white pants on short trips. It doesn’t scare me.

I think a lot of the fear factor about white pants is in your head. I don’t find white dirtier than any other color on a plane. But that’s me. If you are worried, stick with darker tones.


4. Leggings are Ideal for Planes

Leggings are trendy, especially on long flights. They’re soft and flexible; you can even buy the kind that wicks away moisture and lets your legs breathe. Just be sure they aren’t flimsy, and wear them with a long top, tunic, or a short dress that covers your bottom. It’s only polite in such a crowded space that you cover up a little, and a longer top also creates a more flattering look.

5. Never Board a Plane Without a Scarf, Wrap, Jacket, or Cardigan

Hot flashes aren’t the only reason to wear layers when traveling on a plane. Many other conditions are out of your control, making you feel overheated, like being delayed for takeoff and sitting on the runway for an hour! On the flip side, it can be hard to get rid of that deep-seated chill you often feel on a plane when the air conditioning is blasting and the airline blankets are as thin as toilet paper.

I find an oversized scarf or a light cashmere wrap essential. I always take one. You can layer it over your top or use it as a blanket. When you don’t need it, roll it up into a pillow, use it as an eye cover when you sleep or toss it into your carry-on. A long cardigan is good too, or even a thin, light jacket works well. A boyfriend jacket is ideal because it is soft, slightly oversized, and meant to be rolled up in the sleeves.

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Airplane Outfit - black joggers


6. Ditch Your Heels

The amount of walking you have to do in airports nowadays is crazy. The walk from the ticket check-in to baggage drop off, to the customs, then security, and finally to the plane can seem like miles.

I don’t think there’s any sense pretending we can do such a long walk it in heels anymore. It’s not worth it to wreck your feet. There are too many cute flats, sneakers, or low wedges out there these days, and they are perfect for airplane travel.

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Airplane Outfit - Jeans and a blazer


7. Closed Toe Slip-on is Best

Speaking of shoes, Did you know that closed-toe are the best shoe to wear on a plane? A flight attendant once told me that closed-toe shoes make it easier to escape in an airline emergency like a fire or crash because they protect your feet from the fire and falling debris. No one likes to think about these things, but it’s true!

There are other practical considerations when deciding what shoes to wear on an airplane. Slip-on flats or sneakers are easy to remove when going through airport security. However, you know us, gals. Sometimes style trumps practicality.

If you’d rather wear sandals than sneakers or ballet flats, be sure to pick sandals you can easily wiggle your foot in and out of. Bring socks if your feet get cold on the plane.

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8. Take a Bag that Gives You Freedom

There are two ways you can go here. Many women like an efficient crossbody bag with a long strap that leaves their hands free for suitcases and carry-ons. I prefer a big lightweight tote.

My kids and husband always ask me to carry their keys, sunglasses, gum, or whatever, but I have stuff I need to move, too, like my earphones and magazines. I need a lot of space, so I take a large, lightweight tote with everything in one spot. That’s much better than carrying my purse and many small things in small bags.

Finally, I suggest avoiding bags or hardware accessories, such as studs and chains. They can weigh down a purse – too heavy, and you want to travel light. Also, you don’t want to swing them around in a packed plane because the hardware may get scratched, or worse, you could knock someone out!

What to Wear on a Plane in Summer?

Summer is when most people travel by air. It’s hot, and there’s more flexibility as to what you can wear. For example, you could also try…

Maxi dress: A long comfy maxi dress with a layering piece, like a jean jacket,  can work.

Shorts: I wouldn’t recommend them, but if you want to wear them choose longer Bermuda shorts to keep your legs warm or capris.

Sundress: On short flights  (i.e., 1.5 hours or less), I wear a soft, loose cotton dress with 3/4 length sleeves and sneakers. It’s always fine,  but pants are the best for any flight for warmth and safety.

Cropped Pants/Capris: If long pants feel too hot in summer, cropped pants or capris that hit just above the ankle to midcalf are great options.


P.S. Wondering what to wear on a long plane ride to Europe? Check out these stylish euro-chic travel looks.

Tags: What to wear when traveling on a plane, what clothes to wear on a plane, what is a good outfit to wear on a plane

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