What to Wear (and NOT to wear) on an Airplane

This summer you might travel by plane to reach a vacation destination. My daughter and I recently returned from a two week trip to Italy. On the long flight to and from Rome, I noticed several What Not to Wear outfits and it got me thinking on what is appropriate clothing for traveling by plane.What to Wear on an Airplane

What NOT to Wear on an Airplane

Below is a short list of what NOT to wear. If you find yourself considering these items, then let me urge you to reconsider. I’ll tell you why. Then afterwards, I’ll give you ideas on what you CAN wear and still be comfortable and stylish.

High heels

It amazes me when I see women tottering on high heels in airports and on airplanes. Even wedges, although comfy enough, are not a good choice. On our first flight, due to a flight delay, we had to RUN to catch our connecting flight. We would have surely missed our flight had we been wearing a shoe with any kind of heel. Plus, it is simply not worth twisting an ankle for the sake of fashion. Save those cute shoes for your destination.

Short dresses

My new love is a swing dress. Sooooo comfy! It’s like wearing a giant tshirt! No binding waistline! However, all but one of my dresses end above the knee (because on a short person that’s the best length!) If I stretch my arms over my head (like when I need to put something in the overhead compartment), my dress rides much higher than I’m comfortable! Plus, then my legs are cold when the air is particularly conditioned. Only one time did I wear my longer swing dress on a plane and I paired it with a cardigan and leggings. Thankfully, my bag was checked at the gate so I didn’t even have to mess with the overhead bin. (However, swing dresses are a PERFECT travel companion! They are knit so the wrinkles shake out. You can pack a dozen in a carry-on size bag and still have room to spare. And they are forgiving in the waistline if you tend to bloat on trips. You know. Because your body knows the difference between a toilet in a hotel and toilet at home. Or if you eat a gelato every day.)

Workout clothes

I get that yoga pants are comfy. Really I do. And comfort is key on an airplane. However, it is NOT a stylish look and I think that yoga pants are to be left to the teens. We ladies can do better than that. Pack your workout gear in your bag!

Shorts/tank top

If you are headed to a Caribbean island then it’s fine to wear resort wear, but it can get pretty chilly on an airplane. In order to keep all guests comfortable, they set the thermostat at the temperature that a person experiencing a hot flash would find comfortable. That is too chilly for the average person. So save the short shorts and tank tops/camisoles for the beach.

What TO Wear on an Airplane

Having flown quite a bit I have gained a few insights due to personal experience. Consequently, I have a sort of uniform that I wear to be comfortable yet stylish. Here’s my formula.

Skinny jeans

Since I said no to shorts and dresses, my solution is skinny jeans. Pick a pair that has quite a bit of stretch so that they are nearly as comfortable as yoga pants but offer a more polished look. Also, as much as I love my white jeans, a dark wash is more forgiving, hiding dirt or inadvertent spills.

A comfy, loose top

I like something that will keep me covered, that is not binding and that I can layer. This is typically a loose t-shirt but it can also be a long sleeved button down such as an oxford or chambray top. Again, I like to make sure that whatever top I choose will keep my belly covered when reaching my arms up over my head.

Military vest

I have found that I love throwing on this extra layer. It not only adds interest to an otherwise simple outfit (jeans and tee) but the many pockets are great for stashing phone, glasses, boarding passes, chewing gum, ear buds and lip balm.

Flat sandals or sneakers

If the weather is really hot and the trip is relatively short, I’ll wear sandals but keep a pair of socks in my purse for wearing through security and on the plane if it’s cold. If the trip is longer and the probability of freezing is high, OR if I need to save space in my suitcase, I’ll wear my running shoes. Then I already have my socks on for going through security and onboard.

Light cardigan/jeans jacket

I always bring a light cardigan that layers well over my top to protect me from chilly airport terminals and airplanes. If I’m bringing a heavier outer layer then I might carry that on the plane, saving space in my suitcase and giving me an additional outer layer that can double as a blanket.


As I was looking through my photos, these are the only two I snapped of the airplane ride. You can’t see my outfit but trust me, I followed my own advice!


If you are interested in my trip to Italy, stay tuned for 6 Reasons to Visit Sicily coming soon to the blog! And if you can’t wait and want to travel vicariously with me, then follow me on Instagram! Or you can connect with me on SnapChat (where these pix are from.) My username is sdelcharco.

What tips would you add to my list about what to wear and not wear on an airplane? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear!

About Sheila @ Making the Most of Every Day

I’m a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher. I’m always behind on housework and paper pile sorting. I’m fond of this crazy life but not of melted cheese. I want to follow hard after God, making each day really count. I like to run, read, cook (and eat!). Thanks for joining along on my journey!

16 thoughts on “What to Wear (and NOT to wear) on an Airplane

  1. How fun! I love this post. I almost always wear skinny jeans too, and I try to do an oversized scarf as well to double up as a blanket for when I will inevitable get cold. Great tips! And yes to the yoga pants, just stop it! Those are called yoga pants for a reason. 🙂

  2. I’m TOTALLY with you on the high heels and workout clothes! I do, however, LOVE to wear dresses on planes, but I always pair them with leggings. That gives me warmth, coverage no matter how I’m moving around/reaching, and comfort. My skinny jeans just would NOT work for me on a plane! (If they fit better, maybe, but I really dislike stiff waistbands and belts when I travel!) I really like your idea to add a cargo vest. SMART! As for shoes, I like zip-up boots or anything that slides on and off easily. Like you said though, I *have* worn my hiking boots on a trip just to free up room in my suitcase! I, too, carry socks to wear through security. Really helpful post, Sheila! Well done!

  3. I’d like to add that there is a one LARGE reason NOT to wear anything short (dress or skirt or shorts) on a plane. INFECTION. My friend flew to New Orleans wearing a pair of shorts. She picked up a staph infection on the back of her thigh that required antibiotics – the doctor in New Orleans said she must have nicked herself shaving and that provided entry for the bacteria from the plane seat.

  4. I’m totally perplexed when I see women at the airport in high heels! My favorite go to on the plane is my blardigan – so comfy and warm!

  5. I have been sooooo tempted to wear workout clothes on the plane and might have succumbed a time or two. I know! Terrible. But the trip between Houston and El Paso that I was making so often is 80 minutes and I often leave before the sun is up. I truly like the idea of dressing up for trips but just isn’t practical and your suggestions are perfect for comfort and class.

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