What to wear on a plane does depend on the destination and season, but the one overarching style to aim for is smart comfort. In summer that means relaxed light layers, while in winter it’s all about soft and cosy comforts. A longer flight involves even more careful consideration – both in an effort to feel as comfortable as possible and to feel put together and pampered. The latter may seem unnecessary but when in such an uncomfortable, and, let’s be honest, unclean environment, these things help to make the journey that little bit more relaxing and enjoyable.
Thankfully, there are now plenty of smart and comfortable options thanks to the new generation of loungewear brands, with ultra-soft fabrics and clever cuts so you can go from the lounge to the plane without the need for a complete outfit change. Add some soft multifunctional layers, a slip-on shoe and you’re ready to take on that journey. For more ideas, see the items that our editors won’t fly without.
A matching set
Getting the age-old balance of feeling comfortable while still looking put together on a flight is, in my opinion, simply solved by choosing a matching set. As ridiculous as it may sound, there is something about the coordination that feels considered and therefore polished. While in summer a relaxed linen set is ideal, in winter opt of cosy loungewear sets in soft fabrics like jersey or cashmere.
A structured jacket with leggings
Leggings are of course a failsafe option to wear on a long flight. The tricky part is styling them so you avoid looking like you’re about to pull a yoga pose. I find my most faithful, softest and most supportive leggings (these are the team’s favourite leggings to wear on on a flight) will suddenly look less slobish once you reach your destination with a structured jacket thrown over them. Keep to styles like a utility or lightweight trench coat. This trick is a particularly great option if you’re flying between climates too.
Trainers are the obvious choice at first – they take up the most room in your suitcase and are a handy addition to your packing. However nothing is more annoying than having to spend five minutes re-lacing your trainers when you’re inevitably asked to take them off at airport security. The answer: easy to slip on shoes. To keep things smart and comfortable stick to sturdy leather slides, clogs or mules. These styles are also ideal if you’re on a long flight and want to pop on some socks to feel warm as well.
For a small touch of luxury, upgrade your usual in-flight socks for a pair of ultra-soft cashmere ones.
Even on shorter flights the air-conditioning on planes and in airports can feel extreme. In those instances a lightweight scarf can give you a bit of warmth and hardly takes up any room in your carry on. For overnight flights, opt for a giant shawl or cashmere scarf that can double as a blanket.
The air on planes is notoriously dry and at times, very cold, so wearing a cap is an easy hack for covering up greasy hair and keeping warm. Caps can also help to shield you from any overhead lighting, so you can watch a film and hopefully drift off to sleep without having to stop and pop on an eye mask. Just note though that you’ll likely be told to remove it when going through security or passport control.
An easy one to forget, but I think any flight can be ruined by a too-tight bra or scratchy underwear. The Skims ‘Fits everybody’ collection is super soft and stretchy or try Stripe and Stare briefs which I find super comfortable and are also sustainably made.