Outfit inspo for long & short flights (updated w/Fall 2019 trends)

You can look cute on a plane. I’ve organized my airport travel style into three buckets. Short, medium and long-haul flights.

I’ll keep updating my list with the newest outfits and trends as I wear them, so check back for more ideas.

Short: What to Wear on Short Flights (3 hours or less)

When I’m flying three hours or less, I like to be able to hit the ground running when I land. An outfit change feels like a waste of time.

But, bloating and getting puffy is also a very real thing that happens at 30,000 feet, so it’s important to wear the right clothes.


Joe’s Jeans: These jeans feel like leggings because they are so stretchy. They typically cost $150 but are almost always available at Nordstrom Rack for $79 (where I bought these). The jeans in the pic are 65.5% cotton, 31% polyester and 3.5% lycra.

Mine aren’t sold anymore, but *these* and *these* have 3% LYCRA elastane.

Cotton shirt: Short sleeve is best. Plane temperatures can fluctuate, and it can get stuffy if you’re stuck on the tarmac because of a delay. Cotton is breathable and won’t cause armpit stains or sweating. The shirt in the pic is from Nordstrom Rack. It’s 90% cotton, 10% polyester (and the softest shirt I own). The brand is *here* with lots of options.

Slip-on shoes: Even if you have TSA Pre-Check, you’ll likely want to slip your shoes off when you get in the air. If you don’t have TSA Pre-Check, slip-on shoes are a must if you don’t want to struggle at security.

Backless shoes provide less opportunity for blisters and more air circulation to prevent weird smells. You don’t want to take your shoes off with stinky feet. For comfort, and to be polite to seat neighbors, I bring a pair of socks to wear when we’re in the air.

My shoes in this pic are a Target find. Only left in black now *here* but a new cute white style *here*

Jacket: Complete your outfit with a season-appropriate jacket. I’m wearing a jean jacket in the pic. In the winter, I wear my leather jacket. Mine is sold out but there’s a J. Crew version for sale *here* that could be worn with anything.

How to update for Fall 2019 trends: an oversized animal print cotton tee would easily update this outfit. Or a comfy tee in mustard yellow or burnt orange.

Tip: If you need a heavy coat at your destination, pack it at the top of your suitcase, near the handle. Make sure to close your zipper at the top, too. When you deplane, you can unzip the top with your suitcase still standing upright, yank out your coat, and get on your way. 

Medium: What to Wear on Medium-Haul & Overnight Flights (3-8 hours)

Just because you’re spending the day or night on a plane, that doesn’t mean you have to resort to leggings and a t-shirt. Not yet. I was upgraded to Delta One to Brussels and didn’t want to look frumpy, so I came up with this ultra-comfy outfit.

Flowy dress: I used to swear by maxi dresses on long-haul flights, but after this trip, I’ve found mid-length works, too. Blankets are provided to everyone on long-haul flights, so you can cover up if you’re worried about your dress coming up when you stretch out.

The dress in the pic is Madewell. I got it from Nordstrom Rack for $38 and it’s still in stock *here* in all sizes and two colors (blue and rose).

Tip: If your maxi is sleeveless, wear a regular bra anyways and throw on a sweater or t-shirt on top to make it look like a skirt.

Scarf: A scarf is great for traveling because it can double as a shall or an extra blanket. Even though I’ve had this leopard scarf for years, it’s on-trend for Fall 2019.

Slip-on shoes: Shoes that are easy to get on and off are important. The longer you’re in the air, the more your feet will swell and the cozier you’ll want to feel to survive the journey. I’m wearing my mules from Target again in this picture.

How to update for Fall 2019 trends: The leopard scarf is spot on, but you could remove the scarf and instead swap out the white mules for an animal print mule–think snakeskin or leopard.

Long-Haul: What to Wear on Long-Haul & Overnight Flights (8+ hours)

I’ve done 15 hours of flying time on a plane, and my go-to outfit is black-on-black leggings, a t-shirt, and an Adidas crop sweatshirt with Stan Smith sneakers.

Black-on-black because it slims, but also because it doesn’t show stains as easily and makes you look a bit more put together. Imagine the dirt you’ll collect with 15 hours of flying time (plus layovers).

Leggings: There are other options, but why would you even consider them? I flew 15 hours from New York to Shanghai (and back) and these leggings from Nordstrom were incredible. They are the best travel leggings ever. More *here* with a link.

Short-sleeve shirt: Layers are always important, no matter how far you’re flying. But especially when you’re going to be on a plane for a long time. Temperatures fluctuate and you don’t want to endure 15 hours of being too cold or too hot.

Sneakers: When you’re flying over eight hours, you don’t have to worry about slipping your shoes on and off easily. Take them off once, and you’re good for the next 8-15 hours. Stan Smith’s that I’m wearing are *here* in all sizes.

Most international airports require more walking because of immigration and customs. And you’ll be arriving in a foreign city where you’ll likely be doing even more walking (with luggage in tow) upon arrival. Good shoes are a must.

Tip: I got my shoes at the outlet, kids size, for $25 (the kid’s size chart for the UK shows adult sizes, so convert your US size to UK size). Mine are 5.5UK kids, which is a 7.5 US adult.

Sweatshirt: When you’re flying up to 15 hours, you want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. A sweatshirt is cozy to sleep in and you can put up your hood to block out a little extra light (or when you don’t want to be woken up for the meal). Similar to what I’m wearing *here* from Urban Outfitters.

How to update for Fall 2019 trends: swap out the black sweatshirt for a neon sweatshirt. I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect neon lime green cropped hoodie. Wish me luck.

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