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The Plane Truth: How to Dress for Air Travel

When you work for a world traveler like Annie, you pick up a ton of terrific travel tips. We’ve covered packing a checked bag like a pro and carry-on essentials, but what about the outfit you wear on the plane?

Turns out Annie’s got some great tips for this too. Assuming you don’t have a job interview or important meeting as soon as you land, here are her rules for dressing for plane travel:

1. Leave the sweats at the gym and the pajamas in bed. Yes, you should be comfortable on a plane, but that doesn’t mean you should toss out all sense of propriety. As an anonymous source told Goop, airline personnel are occasionally told to offer free upgrades to well-dressed travelers. We have yet to enjoy this perk, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying. Keep your clothes modern and sleek, and include one “luxury” item—like a beautiful shawl, a colorful cashmere sweater, or a gorgeous wristwatch—and you might just get lucky.

2. Loosen up. Forget those pics of celebs running through airports in skinny jeans and shrunken blazers; according to medical experts, being cooped up in a tiny airplane seat for long periods puts you at risk of developing blood clots, and tight clothing, socks, or nylons will exacerbate the problem. Instead, opt for slim or slightly slouchy cuts in natural fabrics like cotton or linen, or moisture-wicking manmade fabrics.

3. Layering is caring. A single plane ride will cycle through multiple variations in temperature, from the stuffy on-the-runway lineup to the 30,000-foot chills. Start with a stretchy, long-sleeved T-shirt as a base layer, and add a tailored cardigan or jacket on top to polish the look. We love a jacket with pockets for at-hand essentials like our cell phone, hand sanitizer, and tissues, and a colorful scarf wrapped on top. We also like to toss a cozy throw in our carry-ons to use as a shawl or blanket when the temperature drops.

4. Listen to Mom: ditch the heels and wear sensible shoes. Remember that celebrity pic we mentioned in number 2? That same fashionista is no doubt wearing a pair of sky-high Louboutins in her photo. We don’t have to tell you how impractical this is when you’re running (literally) to catch a connection, but heels can also be downright dangerous when getting on and off a plane. Carry a cute pair of heels in your carry-on, if you must, but wear a pair closed-toe flats or slip-ons—easy-off, easy-on through TSA lines, protective, and a thousand times more comfortable in the air.

5. Speak softly and carry a big bag. A roomy, patterned tote in washable polypropylene is our go-to bag for plane rides. Not only can you pack it like crazy and still smoosh it under the seat in front of you, but it also looks chic paired with a variety of destination outfits. Double-duty dressing? We’re in.

Pine Cone Hill ladder amethyst scarf ked's shoes eileen fischer jacket gap shirt athleta pants

  1. Athleta Andale pant
  2. Gap Breathe long-sleeve T-shirt
  3. Eileen Fisher Asymmetrical Zip Crop Jacket
  4. Keds Cali canvas slip-ons
  5. Pine Cone Hill Ladder Amethyst scarf
  6. Fresh American Le Tote Graphite/Platinum
  7. Pine Cone Hill Cardigan Shale throw


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