I’ll never forget the first time I took a plane. I shivered the whole way through. No, it wasn’t fear (although I was a bit nervous). It was the cold.
It was the end of August, and I was heading to London with my ex to celebrate my birthday. I knew it would be colder there than in Senigallia, an Italian coastal town when temperatures can sometimes reach 40°C in summer.
But I still dressed lightly, never thinking I may need a summer cardigan or jacket. And regretted it until we landed. Brrr! Who knew temperatures could fall so low up there in the air?
But I’ve learned my lesson. The next time I went to London was in early January. I knew it wouldn’t just be cold. It’d be freezing cold. I put on layers of clothing and a big coat. That kept me warm throughout the flight, but also made me look a lot larger than I really was. Not exactly a good look…
Mmmm… Dressing for a plane trip is quite complicated, isn’t it? You’ll never know how cold (or hot) is going to get, or how long it’ll take you to get through security. Wear the wrong thing and you’ll be held up there for a while.
You definitely need something practical and comfortable, but without compromising on style. I learned how to do that the hard way. Now, I’ll share my tips with you, so you won’t have to:
1. Comfort First, Style Second
You shouldn’t compromise style for comfort, but doing the opposite won’t do you no good either. A tracksuit would just make you look sloppy. A tight dress or tailored skirt, instead, may make you look fabulous when you board the plane, but on the flight, they’ll ride up, causing discomfort, and get creased, and ruin the polished look of your outfit.
Trousers are a much better option. I usually avoid jeans, especially those tight or heavy ones. I find them uncomfortable when I’m able to move freely. When I’ confined to my tiny seat for hours, they become unbearable. Flexible jeans that fit to a T (if you’re lucky enough to find them!) work much better.
But I prefer leggings. They can be dressed up or down, and go with almost every type of shoe. I usually stick to black, but navy or grey would work too. Unless you’re bringing your entire wardrobe with you, you want a colour that goes with everything. Ditto for everything else you’re going to wear.
2. Layer Up
You never know what the temperature on a plane will be. One time it’ll freezing cold, the next boiling hot, and the time after that something in between. Don’t be caught unprepared like I was on my first flight. Be smart, and wear layers. That makes it easy to adapt to the temperature of the plane, so you won’t be left shivering in the cold or sweating buckets.
I like to wear a tank top or a camisole underneath a t-shirt or, in winter, long-sleeved top. Then, I’ll add a jacket or cardigan. If it’s winter, I’ll opt for a wrap cardi (a scarf that doubles up as a blanket works too). It’s comfortable, looks stylish paired with flexible jeans or leggings, and keeps you warm when the temperature starts to fall down.
1. MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Corby Stripe’ Tie Hem Slub Cotton Top / 2. Maurices Cami With Built-In Bra / 3. Maurices Ankle Leggings In Black / 4. All Saints Itat Shrug / 5. Kate Spade Willa Skimmer Flats / 6. Dolce & Gabbana Sicilian Baroque Sunglasses
3. Choose Breathable Fabrics
When choosing what to wear, we rarely take fabrics into consideration. But if you don’t, you’ll regret it. Especially on planes. That’s when you need fabrics that allows moisture to pass through. Cotton, linen, and silk all do this well, keeping you comfortable and fresh.
Synthetic fabrics that don’t allow air to circulate, instead, may make you sweat. If you feel so dirty you can’t wait to take a shower and put your clothes in the washing machine as soon as you land, even if the flight was quite short, chances are you chose the wrong fabrics. Next time, make sure they’re breathable. You’ll notice the difference!
4. Wear Flat, Slip-On Shoes
I have only been asked to take off boots, but in some countries, like the United States, all shoes must be removed when passing through security. Lines can be pretty long, so don’t wear anything too difficult to take off. Put your shoes with buckles, strings, and straps in your suitcase and opt for a pair of flats you can slip in and out of easily.
If you really must wear heels or wedges, then put a pair of flip-flops or fold-up flats in your carry-on bag too. That way, you’ll be able to easily switch shoes before and after going through security, and you’ll have something more comfortable to wear should your feet start to hurt.
Whatever shoes you decide to wear, make sure they’re comfortable. Your feet may swell during the flight, making walking difficult and painful if your shoes are too tight. Popping a pair of socks in your carry-on bag, in case it gets too cold on the plane, is also a great idea.
5. Don’t Over Accessorize
Accessories are a great way to add a touch of colour and fun to your outfit or to make a statement. But, when travelling by plane, it’s best to keep them to a minimum. Stuff like belts, necklaces, and buckles all need to be removed at security. The less stuff you need to take off, the quicker you’ll pass through.
It’s much better to keep it simple, and only wear a piece of jewellery you can easily slip on and off. And don’t forget a big pair of sunglasses. There is a reason why so many celebs wear them on planes. They hide your tired eyes and make you look fresher than you really feel.
6. Keep Your Makeup And Hairstyle Simple Too
Don’t bother spending hours doing your hair and makeup before getting on a plane. Unless it’s a really short flight, they won’t survive intact. Your perfectly crafted hairdo will be difficult to maintain if you fall asleep during a long flight.
Your skin may get dehydrated, and look dull and tired. A full face of makeup applied hours before will only make you look worse, not better. So, keep it simple. I like to use both tinted moisturizers and tinted lip balms that cover small imperfections and give my lips some colour while keeping them well-hydrated.
Then, I’ll swipe a thin layer of cream eyeshadow on the lids and a dusting of blush on the cheeks. I’ll finish off the look with a couple of coats of mascara. It’s a fresh look that’s easy to retouch. As for my hair, I just let it hang down. If I feel like it, I may wear a headband. But never one made of metal, so I won’t need to remove it at security.
What do you wear on a plane?