All My Travel Outfits Follow These 5 Rules

One perk of my job is that I travel a lot. This means I've had a lot of time to master the art of packing a carry-on, figure out the fastest way to get to the airport (which actually isn't all that fast in New York), and most importantly learned exactly what—and what not—to wear. All it takes is one red-eye pretzeled in an exit-aisle seat to know your outfit choice can make a pretty big difference.

My first key bit of advice: slip-on sneakers. This TSA-approved footwear choice not only makes navigating security a breeze, but it's also ideal for subtly sliding under your seat without the fear of having to fumble with shoelaces or fitting swollen post-flight feet into anything remotely high-top. Second, the clothes I choose my outfit using the stretch test. Doing a few quick lunges and an arm reach, I always calibrate: Does my bra ride up? Do my pants squeeze? Does my jacket constrict? If the answer to any of the above is a yes, I immediately abandon my choices for something comfier.

If I can get away with it, the stretch test means that the majority of my travel outfits are basically a lesson in head-to-toe athleisure. Sweats, a sports bra, and a cozy sweatshirt are all designed with comfort in mind, which can make a world of difference seven hours into a transatlantic flight. If I need to look a little more polished post-flight, I'll make sure to have a cool jacket handy and to wear jeans that I know are stretch enough to keep me happy. Below, I've highlighted the five key rules I always follow when flying along with some shopping (and outfit ideas) for your next trip.

The Stretch Rule

Before you leave the house and head for the airport, take a minute to do a few lunges, arm swings, and other stretches to ensure your travel ensemble won't cause any problems.

Photo:

@waityouneedthis

Photo:

@simplytandya

Photo:

@adenorah

If you're forced to run through the airport, you'll be just fine in these.

Available in sizes 1X to 3X. 

Your favorite yoga gear is just as great for trying to fold your way into your airplane seat.

Available in sizes 1X to 4X.

We love a good sports bra.

Available in sizes XS to XL. 

The Carry-On Rule

I try to always carry-on my luggage when I travel, and besides my suitcase I make sure to have a bag that can hold whatever I might need in flight. A sizeable tote or backpack is always key.

Photo:

@beigerenegade

The 2-Second Shoe Rule

Navigating TSA is tricky, but I always make sure to have easy to remove shoes just in case. A slip-on sneaker or comfy pair of flats are great choices.

Photo:

@moderosaofficial

Photo:

@itsmekellieb

Photo:

@alyssainthecity

No awkward shoe-lacing issues here.

Available in sizes 8 to 12. 

Slip-on sneakers with a fashion-forward bent.

Available in sizes 5 to 11. 

The 20-Degree Rule

Temperatures tend to fluctuate in flight and while it might be toasty when taking off, it's freezing halfway through the flight. I always make sure to dress in layers, and be ready for the temperature to rise or fall as much as 20 degrees.

Photo:

@courtneeruthie

Photo:

@bettinalooney

Photo:

@courtneeruthie

A tee that can handle even the longest day of flying.

Available in sizes XS to L. 

Now you're all set to travel in style.

Should you need a more polished piece, this coat does the trick.

Available in sizes X to 4X.

Sporty and oh so cool.

Available in size XS. 

The Smart Accessories Rule

There aren't many times I condone wearing sunglasses indoors, but when flying I try to pack accessories that can help make the experience easier. Sunglasses or a hat can help with napping. A scarf or jacket can act as a pillow. It's all about making things multi-purpose.

Photo:

@littleblackboots

A long-sleeve tee is ideal for when it gets chilly mid-flight. 

Available in sizes XL to 4XL. 

Head-to-toe black looks sleek while being awfully comfy.

Available in sizes X to 4X. 

Who says a sweatshirt has to be boring?

Available in sizes M to XL. 

A sweatshirt is a key layering piece.

Available in sizes XXS to L. 

Two words: cashmere pants.

Available in sizes XS to XL. 

Hot tip: Try velour.

Available in sizes XS to L. 

Sweats that are actually chic.

Available in sizes XS to L. 

 

Now you're all set to fly in style.