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What Do I Wear There? Airplane Outfits and Tips


One of my favorite things about writing this column for CF so far is hearing about all of the awesome things you guys are doing! This week, Bosa emailed us about an exciting adventure she has planned, asking:

“I’m flying to Australia for Christmas and I have 3 short and 1 long haul flights to sit through. What can I wear that’s very comfortable, but still stylish? I don’t want to arrive looking like a slob. Thanks!”

As much fun as vacations are, the long, long flights are definitely difficult! And deciding on what to wear is even tougher—you want to show up looking chic but you need to be comfortable for your flight and all of your transfers as well!

For this article, I created two comfy but cute outfits that will get your travel-outfit inspiration going. Even if you’re not flying, these are still great for lengthier car rides, bus rides, and other means of travel.

In addition, I included a list of some general travel “do’s and dont’s” that will make sure your trip is as fabulous as your outfits!

Look One

Outfit idea for what to wear on a plane

Product Information: Tee: Old Navy, Gray Skinny Jeans: TopShop, Cardigan: Uniqlo, Scarf:, Sunglasses: Target, Purple Flats:

This is my ultimate cool, casual and comfortable look for long trips! Simple cotton v-neck shirts are always flattering and classically stylish. Pair your v-neck with your favorite jeans. I’m personally a fan of skinny jeans like these great gray-wash ones, but I know not everyone is, so feel free to substitute your favorite style! Make sure to choose jeans that you have worn before and that you know are not going to dig and poke into you after hours of sitting – comfort is key!

For accessories, I highly suggest bringing along a cardigan sweater. Even if you are going to a warmer destination, planes are typically air-conditioned and therefore cooler, and you never know what airport temperatures will be like. A lightweight scarf is also a great item to bring for this reason!

Just like jeans, you need shoes that aren’t going to be uncomfortable after a few hours of wear (and that you could potentially run around in if anything happened to go wrong). I love these flats – the deep purple color is so gorgeous with the look’s otherwise monotone colors, and the elastic band ensures that they will be comfortable and not cause blisters.

I also suggest packing a pair of sunglasses in your carry on, for as cute as your outfit may be, it is inevitable that such a long flight is going to leave you looking a little less than fresh (look below for some of my tips on how to look your best!). Sunglasses are great to disguise tired or dry eyes.

Look Two

What to wear on a plane

Product Information: Silk-blend Tunic:, Leggings:, Oversized Cardigan, Braided Headband: Charlotte Russe, Leopard Flats:, Sunglasses:

This look is slightly trendier than the first but just as flight-friendly!

I love the tunic’s adorable oversized pocket and draped style. Also, its fabric is a silk blend, which means it will definitely be really comfortable. Wear basic black leggings underneath for ultimate comfort (jeans can be substituted if leggings aren’t your style, just make sure they’re dark wash).

Once again, I suggest bringing a cardigan in case you run into any cold temperatures. This one picks up on the draped style of the tunic, while the button-up detail keeps the look from becoming sloppy. Leopard print flats pick up on the brown color of the cardigan and add some personality to the look!

If you’re like me, your hair has the tendency to look not-so-perfect after hours on a plane, especially if that time includes sleeping! Therefore, try pulling your hair back in a simple, messy bun with a pretty headband. This will help hide any greasy roots and give your hair some volume, too.

Once again, don’t forget to throw on a pair of sunglasses–for this look, a brown, oversized style will match well. Everyone else in the airport will be wondering which celebrity just stepped off the plane!

Travel Fashion & Beauty Dont’s

  • Stay away from wearing a lot of jewelry or shoes that are difficult to get on and off–all of these things need to be removed during security, and you don’t want to hold up the line!
  • As stylish as they may be, avoid wearing pieces with lots of studs/metal detailing, as they could potentially set off the metal detector.
  • Refrain from using too many scented products before going on the plane. You don’t want the smell to bother those around you in an enclosed space.
  • Don’t wear too much makeup, as it will most likely either start to irritate you (especially eye makeup) or get runny after hours on a plane.

Travel Fashion & Beauty Do’s

Travel Essentials

Product Information: Pear Vanilla Hand Moisturizer/Anti-Bacterial Lotion: Bath & Body Works, Dry Shampoo Brush-On Hair Powder, Boar Brush: Sephora, Shimmer Makeup:

  • Try to bring some snacks with you–plane food is notoriously gross!
  • Bring a heap of fashion magazines along to keep you entertained and help inspire your vacation shopping choices.
  • Take some eyedrops with you in your purse. This is especially important if you wear contacts, as planes have very drying atmospheres.
  • Along the same lines, bring moisturizer with you for both your face and hands. The one I have listed above in “Travel Essentials” is great for hands because it is an anti-bacterial lotion as well! Important Note: Anything that is in opaque packaging (such as this hand lotion) must be put into a small, clear container or it will be taken by security. Check your flight company’s website for their exact guidelines.
  • Fix your just-sat-on-a-plane-forever hair with dry shampoo. This one a great choice because of its easy, turbulence-proof applicator. Also it’s Sephora-approved for being “green”! Don’t forget to bring along a brush to help work the dry shampoo into your hair. A boar bristle brush is great for this because it helps move natural oils around in hair, which will decrease grease and add shine.
  • Bring along a tiny tube of makeup that multitasks–this creamy pink highlighter looks great on eyes, cheeks, and lips!

What Do You Think?

Do you have any great advice for long flights or lengthy trips in general? Are there any items–clothing, beauty, or otherwise–that you highly suggest bringing along? Any other suggestions on making Bosa’s trip as enjoyable as possible? Let us know below!

And as always, let me know if you have any “What Do I Wear There” questions. Yours may be featured in next week’s article!

Posted on on October 16, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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59 Responses to “What Do I Wear There? Airplane Outfits and Tips”

  1. 1
    October 16th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    WOW, this post is awesome! When I fly, I wear my comfiest jeans with a t-shirt and cardigan, just like you said. I also take a pashmina- not only is it stylish, but it can keep you warm and disguise not-so-nice hair.

    I also agree with the multi-tasking makeup. I will bring along a cream blusher that can be used on eyes, lips, and cheeks. Perfect!

  2. 2
    October 16th, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Great post! Here are two more posts on travel tips:

    By Sarah Von (yes and yes)

  3. 3
    October 16th, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I LOVE this post! My dad is a pilot for a commercial airline so when my family flies we have to “represent the airline” by looking nice. It makes sense, but it sucks!!! I’m SO excited to have this to help me pick out clothes!!!!!!!!!

  4. 4
    October 16th, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Agreeing with everyone else here, this post is totally awesome and helpful! I’m flying to South Korea next year and really hope to look nice after the twelve-hour trip! :3

  5. 5
    October 16th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Great article! I wore a zip-up sweatshirt and a scarf (I guess it’s more like a pashmina) on my last trip to Norway, and I was so cozy! The scarf definitely made me feel a little cuter. If you normally wear liquid foundation, I’d suggest going for powder or skipping it entirely. I wore a little cover-up and mascara (because mascara always makes me feel better) so my pores weren’t super clogged up and icky when I got there.

    Also bring an extra hair tie!

  6. 6
    October 16th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I end up flying back and forth from Tokyo to my home, Seattle, a lot — nine hours on a plane can seriously drive you crazy sometimes! I try to sleep through it if I can, so that’s why I recommend these…
    If I’ve got room, I bring one of my own blankets — for me, the insides of airplanes are so airconditioned I can barely stand it, even with a cardigan or sweater on, so I bring one of my fleece blankets if I’ve got room. Airplane pillows also suck, so I have one of those neck pillows to help out.
    As for sleeping itself — I absolutely need a sleeping mask! I use this one:

  7. 7
    October 16th, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    big sunglasses are always great because you can look terrible and no one will ever know. the only time you need to take them off is when going through security.

  8. 8
    October 16th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    just so you all know airplanes arent air conditioned..your just at such a high altitude that its so cold..

  9. 9
    October 16th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I don’t remember what book it was in, but I once read a great tip regarding some celebrity – The celebrity suggested to always bring a pair of sweats/comfy pants in your carry-on, get changed once you get on a longer flight, and get changed back into your fabulous clothes right before arrival! I’ve also heard a few people suggest you do your hair on the plane, but I wouldn’t be able to do that. However, I love the comfy plane-clothing idea!

  10. 10
    October 16th, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Outift 1 is pretty much what I always wear to the airport lol. I love travel clothes. They’re so comfortable but still give off an effortless cute look.

  11. 11
    October 17th, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Nice post! I’ll definitely be appreciating it when I take my flight home for Thanksgiving.

    I’ve got another ‘What do I wear there’ for you. No hurry or anything, but…I’m interested in finding ways to look cute at the barn. It has to be functional, and I have to wear riding pants and my half chaps, so I don’t have too much choice in what I wear. Any ideas would be appreciated!

  12. 12
    October 17th, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Thank you so much for this post! It really is not difficult to dress decently but still comfortably! It’s my biggest fashion pet peeve to see people in sweatsuits (I don’t care that it’s Juicy Couture and you paid a lot for it. It’s still hideous) just because it’s “comfortable.”
    Another “do”: bring either travel sized make up removal towelettes or Q tips to clean up messy make up residue.

  13. 13
    October 17th, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Comfortable but cute (as well as really low-maintenance make-up) turned out to be a lifesaver when I flew from Philadelphia to Dublin this past spring. I had a layover in Atlanta but we also had an unplanned emergency landing in Maine because a passenger needed to be rushed to the hospital. That put us behind by 2 hours so when I got to Dublin I was already late and we had to forgo stopping at my friend’s apartment before going into the city for something (with all of my luggage… fun).

  14. 14
    October 17th, 2009 at 5:46 am

    i m flying to japan the morning after halloween.. for only 4 days n’ dun wanna bring a lot with me
    i was just thking what to wear on plane
    this helps a lot.. thanks

  15. 15
    October 17th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I haven’t been on a plane since I was six years old but I hope to get on one sometime soon, so this post was helpful. I like the second outfit because leggings are so comfortable. I don’t think I’d be able to stand wearing skinny jeans – or any jeans – on a long plain ride. But the second look is perfect and wearable for me.

    I always look forward to this feature because I’m curious to see what the topic will be this time. Can’t wait til the next one!

  16. 16
    October 17th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Outfit 2 is pretty much what I plan on wearing for my trip to Italy this Christmas.
    It sucks that I have to bring my winter jacket on the plane with me, but it will take up too much room in my suitcase if I put it in there. Same goes for my boots, but at least they’re easy to put on/take off.

    Thanks for the dry shampoo recommendation! I’ve been trying to find a good one! I’ll check this one out for sure!

    If you’re traveling alone (like I am) may I suggest taking a purse that can easily sit on your shoulder. I made this mistake in the summer, I brought my stylish Chanel, but it was so not practical because it wouldn’t stay on my shoulder, and that caused me to have to stop every 2 minutes to readjust … not fun when you have 2 suitcases and a carry on!

  17. 17
    October 17th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I absolutely love the second outfit. Leggings and a long tunic or similarly syled minidress with a cardigan is my go-to outfit on days when I need to be super comfy. Much better than jeans in my opinion. No excuse to ever wear jogging pants in public! :)

  18. 18
    October 17th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks Colleen! The second outfit is brilliant, I love it. Much better than the typical jogging-pants-and-hoodie travel outfit. And the dry shampoo is a good idea. I always find the worst part about my appearance when I land after a long haul flight is my greasy hair, so this is a great fix!

  19. 19
    October 17th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Great article! and good suggestions! There are always a few things I don’t fly with out which I think are handy in any situation… Hand sanitizer, baby wipes (they can also double as face wipes for runny makeup) and a light moisturizer. Also once I’m through security… I buy a huge bottle of water. Staying hydrated helps my skin a lot! Don’t forget a big stylish handbag to put everything in! ;)

  20. 20
    October 17th, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Love this! I always wear a combo of the two…leggings with a t-shirt and cardigan. the problem i have is i usually fly from really cold indiana to really hot arizona and i hate having to carry my coat/boots! oh and i never forget an oversized bag that doubles as a carry on!

  21. 21
    October 17th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    This is to amazing!
    Absolutly helpful!!
    I’m always flying for long distances and then I wear like a lot of stuffs and look so.. ugh. But this absolutly helps, to also look cool.
    Thank you so very much!

  22. 22
    October 17th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Actually Nadi, ever single plane I’ve been on has had air conditioning….and I know that for a fact…

    Anyway, I sure wish I would have had this when I did all my travelling. Last time I travelled I wore a short sleeve shirt and I was FREEZING! Even after I turned off my air vents. Now I know to always bring a hoodie or cardigan a long with me, no matter how hot the weather is.

  23. 23
    October 17th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    WOW,,,perfect article, i travel all the time and these tips are really helpful!

  24. 24
    October 17th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    I wouldn’t wear skinny jeans on an airplane, wearing skinny jeans for a long amount of time can do harm on your legs. It can cause tingling leg syndrome D:

  25. 25
    October 18th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    GREAT POST! This is VERY helpful! Can’t wait to try the outfit ideas next year when I fly back to my hometown… lol. a couple of suggestions: don’t forget to bring that spray-on-your-face cosmetic product (i don’t know what it’s called, i myself use one from shu uemura), you just spray the product on your face to freshen up your otherwise messy look after a long flight. and a good book always helps… and gum/sweets, if your ears get painful during take off, and small toothpaste-toothbrush kit if you’re in a really long flight, and small-bottled body mist always help! :)

  26. 26
    October 18th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Ooh your outfits are very cute. I would definitely wear them. Easy to throw on yet chic. I love the one button cardigan in the first post!

  27. 27
    October 18th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Good post. Keep in mind that TSA limits the amount of liquids you can bring with you (this includes things that aren’t quite liquid as well – body creams/lotions, toothpaste, etc.). Buy some of those travel size containers you can find at drugstores or the dollarstore, then you can pack the large bottles in your checked luggage while you have what you need for long flights in your carryon.

    Also, I’ve done the change-into-comfy-clothes-change-back-after-landing routine that Rose suggested. It works! (I esp. recommend it if you’ve been on a plane for 12+ hours because then you just feel really gross…also recommended if you have someone to impress once you land!).

  28. 28
    October 18th, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Great post! Outfit is sooo cute.

    I’m going on a cruise to Mexico this summer and I’m not quite sure what to wear. I’ve never been to Mexico, nor have I ever been on a cruise. I was wondering if you have any pointers? Thanks!

  29. 29
    October 19th, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Thanx a lot for the suggestions.. i really love feeling good and comfortable at the same time. this would be very helpful…..i will be travelling from Botswana to London…and this is my first time on the plane. i really don’t know what to expect.

  30. 30
    November 29th, 2009 at 2:29 am

    I’m pretty sure you think of everything! This was extremely well put together.

  31. 31
    July 14th, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Thanks a lot! This is really helpfull. I think I’m gonna wear the second outfit you created.


  32. 32
    September 25th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I’ve posted this before and I would really appreciate it if you emailed me back. I created the first outfit on polyvore. If you’re going to use it then please put that you didn’t create it, and that you found it. I have no problem with you using my picture but please don’t take the credit for my work.

  33. 33
    September 25th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Hannah – This post was published nearly two years ago and to the best of my knowledge, Colleen created the outfits 100% by herself. You haven’t sent me any link to your Polyvore set to compare, and to be honest, the outfit is so basic – a pair of jeans, cardigan, tee shirt, flats, sunglasses, and scarf – that I wouldn’t be surprised if there were hundreds of quite similar outfits on Polyvore. Just because our set may be similar to something you created does not mean it was stolen from you. If we had taken this outfit directly from you, you would absolutely have been credited. Please send me an email so we can discuss this further.

  34. 34
    October 8th, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Okay, I’m actually so sorry. It looks so familiar. I finally looked at the dates of everything and I don’t know what happened. I swear I made this, but it’s not on my polyvore. Then when I looked up plane outfits I saw this picture and I was like “why is my outfit on google?” So I really don’t know what happened. I’m also really sorry for always posting this on your website. And you are right there are a lot of similar outfits. Sorry about this.

  35. 35
    December 7th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    This is really helpful! I am going on a 17 hour plane ride to South Africa to see my cousins and I didnt want to look like a slob! This totally helps!!

  36. 36
    December 11th, 2011 at 7:30 am

    THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!!! I had such a headache deciding on what to wear! Thank you soo much!!!!

  37. 37
    December 12th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    all looks good
    im flyin to lanzarote next week and i have something planned:
    losse black jeans
    dark black/navy high tops (usualy change into flip flops)
    large dark sunglasses
    black and white scarf
    black leather gloves
    black shirt and grey jumper
    black double breasted long coat
    with black and gold watch with blue de channel fragrance and brown dyed hair tips !
    i was very uncomfortable recently travelling to america and now have adapted so what do people think ? !!

  38. 38
    January 30th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you so much for making these! I am planning on going abroad for my masters degree in the UK for a full year and can only take 2 suitcases! I had no idea what to keep in my wardrobe and what to sell to get some cash for purchases I know I will make over there.

    I came across a website I think every girl should know about called its this awesome site that sells slips for your high heels, It is the perfect way to make it look like you brought alot of shoes with you without taking up much space. You can create so many different looks with out having to buy new shoes or worry about going over your luggage weight for the flight.

    Hope this helps some of yall!

  39. 39
    March 18th, 2012 at 3:57 am

    As a frequent long haul flyer I have found the most comfortable way to travel. I would never wear anything tight, so I always choose a lightweight dress with a slightly elasticated waist.
    Underwear is always uncomfortable on a flight, so take my tip and don’t wear any. If your dress is a modest length, nobody will know. I have seen too many girls struggling with tight underwear while I am free and easy.

  40. 40
    March 18th, 2012 at 4:14 am

    A definite no-no for long haul flights are tights (pantyhose). Firstly they bunch up and secondly being nylon they become damp and sticky. Wearing no knickers is the best way to travel. I do it all the time. If you would rather wear underwear, then pure cotton is best. Do not wear thongs or strings, but something loose. Try french knickers.

  41. 41
    March 31st, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    thank you soooooo much I loved your pest and anyway im going to Michigan with a bus and it’spretty cold not typically tropical so I need help!!!

  42. 42
    March 31st, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Hi im going on a four hour and thirty min plane ride to california from wisconsin. I need some tips on what i should wear on the ride there that is comfortable and chic. Also and what i should pack as well. I am twelve yrs, and yes i know this website says college fashion.

  43. 43
    March 31st, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Oh and my skin tone is bisque c. My hair is medium length , below shoulder, and rlly dark brown. I also wear glasses n braces, but not i am not a nerd.

  44. 44
    July 5th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I usually have a small cute toiletry bag with me on the plane that I have constant access to!
    I bring all the stuff mentioned before… and lipbalm, hairbands, wet wipes, a little mirror and one of the most important things, chewing gum! For landing and take-off :) (you can also offer some to the cute guy next to you if you get lucky!)
    Other than this I usually wear my fur-lined hoodie so I can use it as an extra pillow when I’m not wearing it because it’s really thick and fluffy :)
    I also usually wear converse (I doubt they’d ever be able to come off your feet during an emergency landing with those laces!) because I’d hate to be stranded on a deserted island without any shoes on.. It just reminds me of that ghastly scene in Cast Away when Tom Hanks’ feet are 100% covered in cuts and blood.

  45. 45
    July 14th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you! This website is very helpful! i am going to australia in a couple of weeks and i dont want to look a mess but want to be comftable! thank youu :)

  46. 46
    July 17th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Right before I begin a long journey, I always shower and braid my wet hair. Normally I have two french braids (a bit juvenile but dress it up with a headband or something). It’s really comfy compared to a pony where I can’t put my head back and my hair doesn’t get staticky or messy. When I arrive at my destination, I undo the braids… wavy, clean hair on arrival!

  47. 47
    December 17th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    The one this I would comment on is the scented lotion. Some of these scents can be very irritating (to downright offensive), especially in a confined space and to those who have allergies/sensitivities.

  48. 48
    July 27th, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I second what Jolee said! When you’re on a plane, please don’t use scented products or spray perfume! Some people are really sensitive to scents, and in others it can trigger an allergic reaction. I was recently on a flight from Australia to the US and some woman sprayed her perfume. The smell lingered for an hour and I got a massive headache from it. And since you’re on a plane, it’s not like you can just walk away from the smell :/

    I’m all for smelling fresh, but I recommend you wait to use your scented products AFTER the flight. When I’m on a long haul flight, I pack some baby wipes, deodorant, and body spray in my carry on. As soon as I land, I go to the airport bathroom and wipe my body with the baby wipes (mini shower), and apply deodorant and spray. It’ll keep you fresh until you can take a shower.

  49. 49
    September 28th, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Hey! When traveling, I usually wear a tank top and a maxi dress over that, usually with a denim jacket. I love my jacket because it’s breathable but not paper-thin. Then I wear thick socks and Vans or some other fabric shoe. The shoes are because my feet get so swollen, if I push my thumb into my shin after a plane trip, I can see my thumbprint. So I wear the shoes like slippers and slide around the airport until I can get to the hotel and spray cold water on my feet :)

  50. 50
    March 15th, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I REALLY like the purple suede flats from look one!!! Any idea where I can get them? I looked on but it looks like they have stopped selling them. D:
    Emi x

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