Snakes on a plane! What to wear when you fly

9 years ago

I love to fly; one of my favorite things ever is to get on an airplane with my iPod and a magazine and just fritter away the time it takes to get where I'm going. But I also believe in being prepared for the worst, or at least for the most likely hassles, and in choosing clothing that will outlast my day of travel. I also believe that I should be the one sitting in the emergency exit row, because I will be able to open the door and toss it out faster than the rest of you.

I have issues. Let's just move on.

What are the most likely travel hassles? Flight delays, for one, which can lead to connections so tight that you only make your second flight by sprinting through the airport; lost luggage, for another, which can leave you wearing the clothes you traveled in for days. Choose the right outfit, though, and you can easily survive both of these worst case scenarios.

Before you actually get in your closet and choose an outfit, think about what you will be doing during your day of travel: lifting bags, walking fast, sitting in all sorts of random places. You want to put together an outfit that makes it possible to do all of those things and still look good.

You also want an outfit that you could wear for more than one day, if need be; if you arrive at your destination but your luggage goes elsewhere, you don't want to have to spend the next day or two in that vintage Aerosmith tee and low rise jeans. Although you really don't want to be wearing that in the first place. Seriously.

Avoid white or light colored pants (they'll be dirty before you even get on the plane), long flowy skirts (you'll only get tangled in all that fabric), and anything strappy and revealing (your laptop bag slips off your shoulder and suddenly you're showing your cleavage to an entire Southwest flight). Skip short skirts and short shorts; they're not appropriate for flying. And for the love of all that is holy, NO FLIP FLOPS. Or stiletto heels, either. If you have to run to make your connection, you'll want some real shoes.

And don't even get me started about what kind of predicament you will be in if your plane goes down. Just don't.

So what SHOULD you wear? Think about your destination: what will the weather be like? what will you be doing when you arrive? who will you see when you land? Be prepared for weather that is hotter or colder than where you started your travel day; there's nothing more miserable then arriving and realizing that you are going to freeze/swelter for the duration of your trip to the hotel.  By the same token, don't ever assume that you can fly in your pajamas and get cleaned up before you have to talk to anyone important; you never know who will be in the airport or the hotel lobby. Assume that you're going to run into the most important person you will see during your entire trip in baggage claim and dress appropriately.

Dressing appropriately doesn't mean wearing your little black dress on the plane, but it does mean making an effort to look professional and stylish and pulled together. Layers are ideal for airline travel; flights can be hot or cold, and having the option to add or subtract a jacket or sweater is an easy way to build an outfit. Start with comfortable pants, in a dark color; add a blouse or tee, and a sweater or jacket. Choose flat shoes that are easy to slip on and off for security checks and comfortable to walk (or run!) in.

If you will need a jacket at your destination, wear it on the plane; that way, you're covered if your luggage goes missing AND if you run into someone really important in the airport. Speaking of your luggage going missing, toss the following into your carry on, just in case: clean underwear, deoderant, and whatever makeup you can't live without. You'll be glad you did.

Traveing make you tired? 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic has the lowdown on the perfect concealer. Pregnant and looking for inspiration? Allie at My Wardrobe Today is blogging her maternity wear. And finally in an ACTUAL travel related post, Amy Hatch writes about shopping on vacation. She has some good tips, if I do say so myself.

Susan Wagner writesa about style at Fashion Find and The Working Closet, and about everything else at Friday Playdate. God only knows what she will be wearing on the flight to San Francisco, but it will NOT include flip flops.

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