The art of crafting an outfit for a long flight is exactly that—an art. Obviously, comfort is priority number one since you could be sitting for 10, maybe even 20 hours, depending on where you're headed. There's also utility to keep in mind. We love to travel with a crossbody bag or fanny pack for this exact reason—not to mention packing space and style. Sure, you could wear pajamas (preferably the fancy, feathered kind) to the airport, but with so many designers transitioning to a more comfort-driven aesthetic during the pandemic, there are plenty of fashion-approved alternatives that look elevated and are soft and flexible like your go-to sleepwear.
To ensure that your in-flight experience is on par with your destination, we found 12 outfits sure to have you looking and feeling fresh, despite the 10-plus-hour flight time, and we called on two frequent flyers for their tried-and-true tips.
You'll Need: Ribbed Top + Matching Ribbed Pants + Fanny Pack
According to Nana Agyemang, the CEO of EveryStylishGirl and a social media editor who travels long-distance once a month, a comfortable set is a must for in-flight comfort. "Comfort is my top priority [when I fly], so I try to pick clothes that don't restrict me and give me freedom and space to move," Agyemang says.
Even more crucial, though, is a fanny pack, which Agyemang considers to be the ultimate travel companion: "They fit so much in them, and since mine is literally attached to my hip, it's easily accessible."
You'll Need: Oversize Sweatshirt + Baggy Sweatpants + Sport Sandals
"I try to wear anything without what I call 'pokies,' which are things that can poke you when you're sitting for long periods of time: buttons, snaps, too-tight waistbands, hooks, itchy tags, etc.," says Alyssa Coscarelli, an editor and stylist who traveled multiple times per month pre-pandemic.
You'll Need: Wool Coat + Sweatshirt + Wide-Leg Sweatpants
Let your top layer act as both your style enhancer and an extra carry-on, Coscarelli suggests. According to her, a pocket-rich coat lets you sneak in stuff that doesn't fit in your bag, and it doubles as an extra pillow. Win-win.
You'll Need: Plissé Top + Plissé Pants + Retro Sneakers
Agyemang is adamant about not wearing jeans or heels on long flights. "They're so restrictive and painful, in my opinion," she says. Try something like this plissé set on Amaka Hamelijnck paired with retro New Balance sneakers—Agyemang's go-to brand—instead.
You'll Need: Crew-Neck Sweatshirt + Matching Joggers + Oversize Blazer
"Since I prioritize comfort over style with the outfit, I like to accessorize with a cute, trendier bag if I can," Coscarelli says. This red Coperni bag Megan Adelaide's wearing is a perfect example of this travel style hack playing out IRL.
You'll Need: Quilted Jacket + Leggings + Rain Boots
One big tip: avoid clothing that bares too much skin. "I always feel better being covered up on planes," Coscarelli says. An easy outfit recipe for doing so is a quilted jacket that can double as a pillow, cozy leggings that aren't too constricting, and chunky rain boots that would otherwise take up a lot of space in your luggage.
You'll Need: Hooded Sweatshirt + Yoga Pants + Big Bag + Sporty Sunglasses
Crew-necks sweatshirts are great and all, but according to Coscarelli, the real in-flight must-have is a sweatshirt with a hood: "I always need a hood—it doubles as an eye mask when you need to sleep on a long flight. Plus, it's just extra cozy."
You'll Need: Long-Sleeved Maxi Dress + Trench Coat + Sneakers
Don't be afraid to wear a dress on the plane. In fact, if that's more aligned with your style and comfort zone, you should wear one. If you do, though, pick something that's soft, stretchy, and void of any "pokies."
You'll Need: Wool Coat + Crew-Neck Sweater + Short-Sleeve T-Shirt + Baggy Jeans
Jeans aren't your travel-day enemy—tight, constricting jeans are. By opting for a baggier, more worn-in pair, all the aforementioned issues with denim go out the window.
You'll Need: Trench Coat + Claw Clip + Big Tote Bag
"The big claw clip is another travel staple for me," says Agyemang. "I hate having my hair in my face when I travel, and the clip just keeps everything intact. I feel like it actually maintains the volume in my hair when I travel. Therefore, by the time I arrive at my destination and take my hair down, it's still full with body and bounce." Added tip: bring extras in your XL tote bag in case the little prongs break off.
You'll Need: Fitted Turtleneck + Quilted Jacket + Track Pants
Since you never know what the in-flight temperature might be on your plane, layering can make or break your travel experience. Freezing for 13 hours sucks, but so does sweating the entire time. "I like to wear layers so that I'm bundled up when I need to be but can peel off the layers if it gets warm," Coscarelli says.
You'll Need: Oversize T-Shirt + Lightweight Khakis + Compression Socks + Sporty Sneakers
"I'm addicted to compression socks," says Coscarelli, who notes that they've helped her deal with discomfort, swelling, and bad circulation during long flights. *Buys compression socks.*
This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.