How Our Travel Editor Dresses for the Airport
What to Wear
Should you dress up a bit for an airplane trip? Absolutely. Is wearing your pajamas (or something that looks like them) dressing up? Absolutely not. Now that I spend nearly half my time on and off airplanes (and in and out of airports) for Coastal Living, I’ve looked for a style formula that blends comfort, durability, and stowability with a look that says, “I’m going somewhere today.” Here are the six pieces that make every trip a whole lot better.
Not only does a lightweight, stylish piece of outwear create a sleeker silhouette when you’re hoofing down long corridors with straps over your shoulders, it’s invaluable on the plane for when things get cold (or you want to cover your legs entirely if you’re wearing a skirt or dress for the day). Just keep it below the hips, lightweight, and easy to stow if you’re walking out of the airport and into the tropics.
Lightweight, knee-length shift dress
I love dresses for everything in life: They’re flattering, they’re comfortable, and they’re much easier to work with in cramped bathrooms in public places, if you get my drift. For airline travel, though, length is key, as stuff rides up, if you get my drift again. So grab a knee-length shift that’s washable (the inevitable spill), and see how easy and stylish airport/airplane life can be.
There is nothing better than a scarf for travel. It wraps tight when you’re cold, suddenly, on the plane; it drapes over your lap if you need a little extra coverage; and it stows in a heartbeat in the smallest pocket on your carry-on. And a well-chosen pop of color can offset what travel is doing to your complexion (rosy cheeks and travel don’t go together, unless you’re dogsledding). Fabrics that don’t wrinkle and are easy to wash, like synthetic blends that feel like cotton or silk, are ideal. Look for a local piece on your next travels, and incorporate it into the rotation.
Cute bag that’s not too big
You’ve got your carry-on suitcase, which is a production to maneuver and hoist up to the overhead compartment, so make your personal piece something that’s not too heavy or large, that is able to be closed somehow when you place it under the seat in front of you (purse spillage on takeoff is not a pretty thing), and that can won’t show wear and tear too quickly. If you travel with a laptop like I do, consider totes that are built for just this, or a cute backpack.
Buy it: Laurex 1.56” Laptop Bag, $80
The right shoes
Ah, the TSA gauntlet. You may have paid up for Pre-Check, but even you are sometimes asked to take off your shoes and make the barefoot walk. Or, once on board your plane, you may want to slip them off and let your feet have a self-care moment of their own. Which is why I love a sandal for airport travel. They’re always stylish, they go with everything, they’re easy on and off, and they eliminate the need for socks (just keep your pedicure up to date). If you’re landing in a cold climate, a stylish sneaker is the next best thing, with a lightweight, no-show microfiber sock.