Whether you’re jetting across the country or to an exotic international locale, there’s no escaping the fact that your journey is likely to involve more than a few hours in an airplane cabin. Wearing the right outfit, though, can make a long flight seem that much shorter. Whether you’re a fashionista or a comfort-seeker, here are five suggestions for what to wear on a long-haul flight.
“First Class Fashionista”
If life is a fashion show, let the airport be your runway. Whether you’re catching a red-eye or lounging around during a long layover, you know it still pays to look fierce.
Hers: Stretchy skinny jeans maintain a chic look while you’re on the go, but the trick is to find a pair that’s stretchy and comfy rather than restrictive and tight. A fashionable blouse or tank top lets you show off your fashion-forward style, while a cute pair of wedges, booties or heels classes up the entire affair. Pack a pair of eye-catching flats in your carry-on, though, just in case the sky-high heels take their toll mid-flight.
His: Slacks, dark jeans or fashionable chinos paired with a button-down shirt keep you looking sharp from check-in to landing. Opt for a stylish blazer or cardigan to polish off your look.
“Wake Me When We Land”
When you’re in it for the long haul, who wouldn’t want to be nice and comfortable? The “wake me when we land” traveler puts comfort above all else, making him or her likely to be the most well rested traveler upon arrival.
Hers: For the comfort-driven traveler, black yoga pants are a girl’s best friend. Flattering for all body types, these multipurpose pants are both comfy and cozy. Top it off with a basic white shirt, and add a pashmina and zip-up jacket for a less disheveled, more “comfy with style” look. The zip-up jacket lets you easily adjust to hot or cold temps, while the pashmina doubles as a blanket or makeshift pillow on your flight. Finish your look with sandals or flats.
His: Sweatpants and a basic tee are the hallmarks of a comfortable travel outfit for a guy on the go. A hoodie is well suited for this casual, effortless look, too, and a pair of sneakers are a go-to footwear choice.
“Dress to Impress”
If you’re hoping to turn your next long-haul flight into an opportunity to meet a cutie, the rules of romantic comedies say you’re going to need the right outfit. Prepare yourself to be swept off your feet by dressing the part.
Hers: Pick a stylish maxi dress and pair it with a cute cardigan and comfortable sandals. A maxi dress is flirty, fun and fashionable, and the floor-length fabric also helps keep your legs warm in-flight. The cardigan adds a bit of warmth and can also help your outfit pop; plus, it doubles as an in-flight pillow when rolled up. Sandals can add a statement to the outfit and they also make it easy to get through security.
His: If you’re going to impress, skip the jeans and instead opt for chino pants, a step up from basic jeans. They aren’t just fashionable, either: chinos are often wrinkle-resistant, so you’ll be looking sharp for your next romantic encounter even after a long flight. Pair them with a classic pair of boat shoes and a sweater or a button-down for a polished and impressive look.
Whether you’re going from hot to cold or cold to hot, a change in temperature between your departing and arriving destinations means you’ll need to be a little creative if you’re going to be comfortable both when you take off and arrive. Luckily, all it takes is some smart layering to stay comfy.
Hers: Layers are a girl’s best friend. Start with a tunic tank top and a trusty pair of black leggings. This will be your basic “warm weather” outfit, and for added coolness, you can even roll up your leggings to turn them into capris. Need to warm up? Add a comfortable cardigan sweater as your next layer and roll the leggings down – now you’re ready for cold weather! Top it off with a pair of travel-friendly ballet flats and scarf for the perfect layered outfit.
His: Start your layered outfit with a comfortable pair of jeans, and keep in mind that tight fits won’t do you any favors in the comfort department during a long-haul flight. A basic t-shirt is also a layering staple. Add a sharp blazer or a sweater to your layers to easily go from cool to warm.
“All Business, Baby”
In a perfect world, you’d have plenty of downtime between landing and your first business meeting of the day, but in reality, you might be rushing from the terminal to the boardroom. If you’re traveling for business, here’s how you can stay both comfortable and sharply dressed.
Hers: Just because you’re traveling for business doesn’t mean you need to be in uncomfortable work clothes during your long-haul flight. Opt for a dressy yet loose and flowing tank top, blouse or camisole. Pair it with comfy slacks – a wide-leg fit is a perfect choice for traveling. Top it off with a pair of flats or comfortable kitten heels, and pack a blazer to polish your outfit once you land.
His: While there isn’t much negotiating room in the world of men’s business attire, be sure to opt for comfort when it comes to choosing your items of clothing. A button-down with unrestrictive slacks will keep you comfortable in-flight, and dress shoes with a blazer or sport coat (to throw on after you land) will have you boardroom-ready in no time.
Extra tips for what to wear on a long-haul flight:
- Breathable fabrics are your friend. Remember that what you wear on a long-haul flight requires serious commitment – there are no wardrobe changes mid-flight! Do yourself a favor and trade your polyester and leather pieces for breathable cotton and other light fabrics. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not sweating through your 10-hour flight.
- Ditch the fancy footwear. While you may want to look fierce while you’re strutting your stuff down the terminal, fancy footwear won’t be doing you many favors. First of all, savvy travelers know comfort trumps appearance every time, especially when it comes to trekking across airports and sitting on a plane for a long-haul flight. Second, you’ll have to remove your shoes during the security screening, and fancy footwear could not only mean holding up the line at the security checkpoint, but also running late for your flight as you try to wrangle those fancy shoes on again. Play it safe and go for shoes that slip on and off comfortably, instead.
- Opt for compression socks. Circulation problems can arise when it comes to long-haul flights, but you can do your part to prevent them by wearing compression socks in-flight. Compression socks have also been shown to be helpful in reducing clot risks while flying.
- Layer up. Even if you’re not drastically changing climates between one destination and the next, layers can be helpful when it comes to staying comfortable during in-flight temperature changes. During takeoff and landing, the cabin may become hotter, while mid-flight, temperatures can veer toward the cooler range. Layering your outfit lets you adapt easily.
All images: James Dietz Jr.