Long lines, packed restaurants, cringe-inducing bathrooms—airports aren’t exactly glamorous. Treating yourself to a stylish and comfortable airport outfit can upgrade your experience, from the security line to the plane cabin.
Airport Outfit Essentials
Here’s how to channel your inner celebrity to find some airport zen in looking and feeling your best.
Athleisure clothing worthy of business class is your best friend for building a comfy and cool airport outfit. To dress to impress while still feeling like you’re wearing sweatpants, try Everlane’s GoWeave zip track pant for women or lululemon’s Commission Pant for men. For something more casual, classic adidas track pants come in various styles for all types of airport outfits.
If you’re not an athleisure person, don’t underestimate the power of your favorite jeans. Worn-in or stretch denim can be as comfortable as a pair of sweatpants, while also looking more stylish. Opt for broken-in, roomier jeans rather than a new pair; the time to test out a new pair of jeans is not when you’re battling airplane bloat or wedged into an economy-class seat. Don’t be afraid to build a plane outfit with your favorite pair, or consider testing one of these 12 stylish jeans you can sleep in before your next flight.
The ugly sneaker trend means celebrities are reclaiming the white-sneaker faux pas of the past—those clunky dad shoes of the 90s are in again.
Take advantage of the affordable trend by picking your own go-to sneaker for casual airport outfits. I personally love Vans Sk8-Hi Slims in white, although they come in a variety of colors. Celebrities are newfound fans of brands like Fila and Reebok, which are affordable and usually offer lots of support.
Not into ironically ugly footwear? Slip-on shoes are a more minimalist option for zipping through security, and also make it easy to change into cozy socks on the plane. To forget socks all together (thank you, TSA Precheck) go for lace-less Allbirds Loungers, available for both women and men in Merino wool for the colder months and in a super-breathable version for warmer weather.
A Small Cross-Body Bag
Your personal item should include something wearable to organize all your necessities—passport, boarding pass, wallet, etc. Cross-body satchels or a belt bag (the newly acceptable version of a fanny pack) will let you wear all your most-important items, and it can be stashed in your personal item once it’s time to fly.
Arden Cove’s anti-theft cross-body bag are waterproof and can double as a wallet thanks to all its card slots and zippered pouches—I toss it into my personal item when it’s not attached to me at the airport or while I’m exploring my destination. And if you’re adventurous enough to try a fanny pack, there are some surprisingly sleek belt bag options out there.
A Structured Jacket
Whether it’s a lighter cardigan or a hefty pea coat, jackets with structure can make you feel like a celebrity navigating the airport, and can double as a warm blanket on the plane.
A sweater coat like Sheln’s open-front loose cardigan can keep you warm without being too bulky. For men, a sweater jacket like Banana Republic’s Sweater Bomber Jacket will hold up without wrinkling—and has moisture-wicking COOLMAX fabric.
An Oversized Scarf
A useful accessory that can add a pop of color to any airport outfit, an oversized scarf can also double as a blanket or add some padding to an uncomfortable airplane seat. A woven colorful scarf like ASOS’s Supersoft Long Woven Scarf in Color Block will be equal parts comfort and style. For men, Zara has a wide array of understated options with both lightweight and heavier fabrics.
A Hard-Side Spinner
Glide your gear through the airport with ease by opting for a hard-side spinner rather than a backpack or duffel. GeniusPack’s Aerial Hardside Spinner is my go-to for smoothly navigating the airport: It practically wheels itself beside me, gliding easily on four wheels, even with my personal item plopped conveniently on top. The sleek minimal exterior hides plenty of packing power in the form of zippered organizing pockets, and this roomy spinner meets the carry-on limits for most airlines.
The airport outfit uniform for all traveling celebrities, sunglasses are a travel necessity you’ll want for the busy terminal as well. Investing in a polarized pair will reduce glare and can shield tired eyes from the bright sun when you’re getting off a red eye. Pick a pair that matches your style, from minimal Ray Bans to edgier Warby Parker frames with your own prescription.
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SmarterTravel Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Instagram at @shanmcmahon.