Long Airplane Trips – What to Wear

Flying is no longer the exotic travel of yesteryear. No one boards wearing wide brimmed hats and white gloves and no one’s got an entire matching set of Louis Vuitton travel suitcases. We don’t carry hat boxes anymore and very rarely do we find handsome men at the airport bar, headed to the same destination as us and waiting to take our breath away. All of this has been replaced by long security lines where we have to take our shoes off, cramped economy seating, bad airplane food and arriving tired, jet lagged, and disheveled.

While there’s nothing I can do about uncomfortable airplane seats or the terrible food, I can offer some tips for arriving looking a little less tired and disheveled on long airplane trips. If you dress right, you too can also look like you traveled first class after a 15 hour flight across the ocean.

For long airplane trips, put this on…

1. Layers

This is important. It’s hard to tell whether you’re going to freeze in the cabin or feel uncomfortably hot so it’s best to dress in a way to accommodate for any climate. Start with a tank top. If you tend to feel hot a lot, wear a cotton tank top that will help wick away sweat and keep you cool. If you’re always trending toward feeling cold, wear a silk tank top that will help keep you warm.

Over the tank top goes a loose-fitting blouse or shirt. This should be short-sleeved. Over this, goes a light sweater. Think a spring cotton sweater or a light cashmere cardigan. Something that won’t make you hot, but will keep you warm.

Finally, if you know you’re prone to feeling cold or you’re going someplace where you need to take a jacket anyway, you wear your jacket or coat. You should have enough on to be able to adjust to whatever the cabin temperature.

2. A light scarf

A large, but light scarf has saved me on more than one occasion. Bring something that you can wear as a scarf or as a light shawl. Many times, I’ve found myself using mine as a second blanket around my shoulders or balling it up and using it as a pillow.

3. Compression socks

I know. It’s what your grandmother wears for varicose veins. Don’t let that deter you. Wearing compression stockings not only helps with circulation, staving off deep vein thrombosis and keeping your ankles warm, they make a huge difference with how tired your legs feel after 15 hours of sitting in one place. I got a pair professionally fitted for me by  pharmacist and wear them every time I fly. When I land, my legs don’t feel heavy nor are they swollen. Get yourself a pair.

4. Leggings or a maxi skirt

Sure you can travel in your sweat pants that have your sorority letters across the back but you’ll look sloppy. Same goes with yoga pants. The same stretchy modal fabric that makes them so dark comfortable also ends up stretching out and sagging on your butt by the time you land. My suggestion is to wear some dark colored leggings or a maxi skirt. Here are my arguments for both:

With leggings, you’re comfortable, you know your legs are covered and you don’t have to worry about bloating, creasing your waist line the way jeans do or having restricted movement. They’re versatile, flattering, and look great from the time you board the plane to the time you land.

With a maxi skirt, you’re comfortable, you know your legs are covered and you don’t have to worry about bloating, creasing your waist line the way jeans do or having restricted movement. They’re versatile, flattering, and look great from the time you board the plane to the time you land.

You read right. In my view, leggings and a maxi skirt are both equally great travel outfits. Up to you and your own personal style with this one.

5. Comfortable shoes

Anything but running shoes or UGGS. Unless you didn’t follow my advice and you’re already wearing your sorority sweats in which case, go with the running shoes. Otherwise, here are your choices: loafers, ballet flats, pointed toe flats, flat sandals, white sneakers, wedge sneakers, ankle boots, high-tops, flip-flops, wedge sandals or if you’re daring, know you’re going to be picked up at the airport by a driver and driven straight to your five-star hotel, then high-heeled pumps as high as you dare. Because the only thing better than being comfortable, is having everyone you pass think you’re comfortable in sexy heels.

Note: If you wore your compression stocking during the flight, your feet and ankles should slip into your stilettos perfectly. If you skipped that suggestion, good luck getting your kankles into your heels.

long airplane trips

For long airplane trips, carry this in your bag…

And here are a few essentials you should have with you in your carry-on bag.

5. Sunglasses

A good pair looks great with every outfit, are dark enough to hide eye circles and comfortable enough to use to hold your hair back. Always have a pair.

6. Face Moisturizer

Airplanes have a way of completely sucking all of the moisture from your skin. The best way to look refreshed is to slather on moisturizer as soon as you sit down at your seat and again as the plane is landing.

7. Eye Drops

If you don’t already carry some, eye drops can make a big difference. A few drops in each eye fight dryness and if you want, they can fight redness as well. My favorite has a little bit of menthol which refreshes my eyes and really makes me feel bright eyes. It’s like mouthwash for your eye. Which leads us to the next thing.

8. Dental Hygiene Kit

At the most basic, bring some breath mints. If you want to go one step further, bring mouthwash. And if you really care, bring a toothbrush and toothpaste. Brush your teeth as often as you would at home. Chances are, you’ll need to brush your teeth a few hours into your flight, and then again after the last meal is served before you land. If you’re ruthless about dental hygiene, bring floss. You have 15 hours to kill anyway. If you don’t already floss regularly, this is a good time to start.

9. Body Spray

You’ll be amazed at what difference one spritz of body spray can make. After sitting in an airplane full of strangers for 15 hours, there’s no doubt you need a shower but since that’s probably still a few hours away at best, a light spray as soon as you get off the airplane can refresh you int he meantime.

Now picture this:

A girl walking through the airport on her way to the baggage claim. She’s got sunglasses atop her head and her eyes are bright and her face looks fresh. She walks confidently in heels through the airport (seriously? who does that?) and she’s stylish but casually cool from head to toe. As she walks by, she even smells nice. Surely she must have been sitting first class and slept on one of those flat beds, you think with envy. Can you see her in your mind? Don’t be jealous, that girl could be you.

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