Dressing for the Long Haul: A Good Blend of Form and Function

The glory days of international travel are sadly long gone, as are the times when travelers “dressed up” for a flight. It’s really no wonder though, given over-stuffed Economy sections with a seat-pitch nearing knees against chest. Even forking out a bit more on “Premium Economy” will only change the situation slightly…you are still talking about twelve or more hours in a confined, crowded space.

So, how to stay comfy and still remain stylish? Well, firstly, it’s not ok to revert back to being a baby and wear pajamas or a onesie. You’re an adult now, so you ought to look like one. Being comfortable while flying should not compromise style, nor good taste for that matter. Thankfully, it’s never been easier, or more affordable, to combine comfort and style. Here are a few suggestions to consider for next your long-haul flight….

Stay in neutral.

Opting for items in either grey, navy, or black will not only hide any wrinkles you’re sure to get in your cramped seat, but these colours also conceal any unforseen spills mid-flight. Neutrals are also great for blending in with your whole travel wardrobe as well.

Layer, layer, layer.

It’s very hard to know what the cabin temperature will be during a flight. You might start out warm, then as the hours tick away, get really chilly. So opt for dressing in layers…t-shirt or lightweight top, jacket, scarf, etc.

“Athleisure” is your favourite new word.

Seriously, with the great selection of cute, comfortable, and smart yoga wear available these days, why wouldn’t you choose something from the sportswear department? Jackets with asymmetrical zips or buttons add to your flight style.

Or, a comfy cardigan.

Depending on the time of year, or my destination, I sometime choose a nice cardi. In a well-made fabric or knit, and neutral in colour, a cute little cardigan will see you through your trip, when just a light extra layer is needed. Easy to pop into your tote bag as well. I got mine at MUJI TO GO.

Solids not patterns.

Again, opt for jackets or tops in a great neutral colour that you’ll be able to reuse at your destination. A smart black jacket, (even if you purchased in the Athleisure department), can be made to look awesome over slacks or a skirt. Patterns are much more difficult to coordinate, and the idea is to minimize how many items you need to bring.

Plain white T.

My flight day look begins with a simple, 100% cotton white T-shirt. It goes with everything, and is just a great basic to build upon in your overall travel wardrobe. The best quality for price can be found in the Men’s section of Uniqlo, in packages of three shirts. Remember to avoid red wine during the flight, however.

Yoga pants and leggings.

For the sake of argument, let’s all just agree that leggings are pants. At least for the duration of a long-haul flight, anyway. If you’re not comfortable with that, opt for the somewhat more stylish flared-leg yoga pants. If you’re still wanting to wear actual pants, (remember, things are gonna get tight in that confined seat of yours!), then at least go with an elastic waist. Your tummy will thank you. As well, you’ll avoid having to remove belts in the TSA line. Keep colours neutral, (or, if you actually plan to do yoga at your destination), get a pair that coordinates with your neutral jacket.

Slip-on shoes.

U.S. travelers, you know all about removing your shoes for TSA checks. Slip-ons are also great during your flight, and easy to take on and off. (Always wear on a lavatory break, though!) Make sure the shoes you wear on your flight are a pair you’ll wear often during your trip. Thankfully, athletic shoes are quite light these days, so easy to pack when not wearing.

Warm socks.

If you do take off your shoes, you’ll want to keep your toes nice and toasty. Pack some comfy socks.

A large, lightweight scarf.

Here’s a travel necessity, and the place to add a dash of colour or pattern. Firstly, you may have noticed what the most stylish of travelers already know: A scarf looks exceptionally chic when draped casually over your shoulders on your way to the departure gate. It goes much further than looks, though. A large scarf is great to have along on a flight, as the cabin temps really drop your neck will stay nice and warm.

Scarves are just so versatile during travel: Use as a shawl, or as a sarong. Drape over a chair or bench, to keep your white pants clean. Wear over your shorts when you’re visiting a temple, or over your shoulders or head when visiting a cathedral or mosque. Fold into a tube shape, and your scarf becomes a belt or sash. Gathering the corners together, a scarf can be made into a tote. Spread a scarf on the beach or grass for picnic seating….the possibilities are really endless. A scarf can even be used as a scarf!

Choose natural fabrics, lightweight and in colours or patterns that will really work well to highlight your travel wardrobe. A square shape will be the most usable for all of the above suggestions.

Follow these top long-haul travel wear tips, and your certain to have your most comfortable and stylish trip ever.

Happy travels!

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