Even though air travel is no longer the elegant, rarified mode of transportation it once was, we still have our mom’s advice ringing in our ears every time we lay our clothes out for the airport: “It’s nice to look nice—and you never know who you might meet.”
Even if you don’t approach every cross-country flight like you might meet the love of your life crammed next to you in row 23 (hello, married readers!), it’s still nice to look nice. You might get upgraded! You might sit next to a celebrity! You might want to look decent for the folks picking you up on the other side of this journey!
It’s not hard to do—in fact, hitting that sweet spot of comfortable-meets-presentable is actually quite simple. Our answer to, WTF do I wear on a cross-country flight? is all about soft fabrics, modern fits, and just the right amount of elastic.
Let’s just get this out of the way first: Do not, under any circumstances travel in shorts. Please. It’s not a good look and, like, think of all the butts and thighs that have come before you to splay themselves on that pleather seat. You still want to be comfortable, though, we get it. The solution? Joggers, the trend we thought was going to fade after two seasons but seems here to stay (and honestly, we’re fine with it!). This Lululemon pair looks slim and sophisticated enough not just for air travel, but to wear out to a meal upon arrival at your destination.
We’re always looking for an opportunity to push this ongoing collaboration between menswear designer Todd Snyder and athletic-wear icon, Champion. But in this case particularly, we’d like to note that this washed lavender color makes the most classic piece of loungewear look so upgraded and fresh, everyone will think you belong in Business Class. Plus—you can pop your ID in the pocket while you wait in the security line.
A lightweight down jacket that you can wear, stuff into a tiny bag out of the way, or smush against the window to use as a pillow? That hits all the right travel notes. We particularly like this silvery-grey Uniqlo puffer because it looks awesome with just about anything, from those black joggers and lavender sweatshirt, to your everyday jeans and button-down look.
You can @ us if you disagree, but we say air travel is the perfect excuse to wear those fancy sneakers you’d never actually work out in. They look cool with joggers, they slip off easily at security, and they’ll pique the interest of that cute girl sitting near you at the airport bar. (We swear by experience that this is true!)
We hope this isn’t coming as news to you, but you should always (alway!) travel in socks. Even with TSA pre-check, it’s just the right thing to do. They’ll keep your foot temperature regulated and if you happen to slip off your slip-ons in flight, you won’t offend your seatmates.
What even was life before Bluetooth? To make sure that your playlists and podcasts can play uninterrupted while you’re roaming Hudson News and tossing bags here and there getting settled in your seat, a pair of wireless bluetooth headphones are essential. For travel especially, we like ones that have an AUX cord option, so you can plug into your personal screen and watch movies or TV in-flight.