A Flight Attendant on What Not to Wear Through Airport Security


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No one ever wants to be that person—the one in the airport security line who just can't get it together and then holds everyone up. Maybe your missing hustle is due to a lack of airport experience, nervous energy, or the fact that you simply have too many things on your mind to focus. Whatever the reason, there's no need to be the one person fellow travelers huff and puff over. We tapped flight attendant Tara Stilley (she's traveled more times than we can count, so she clearly knows what she's talking about) to spill on the items that slow you down most at the airport. Keep scrolling to check what not to wear through the security line. Plus, go a bit further to shop perfect pieces for travel.

Bulky Jackets

"Bulky jackets or oversize, loose clothing requires extra screening by TSA when worn through security. Also, fumbling with jackets being carried while trying to place shoes though the scanners and pulling liquids and laptops out definitely holds up the line." — Tara Stilley

It's always smart to keep a jacket on hand in case it gets chilly—and we love how forward-feeling this denim iteration looks.

Lace-Up Shoes

"Shoes should be easy to take on and off. Boots with tons of laces or straps that require extra attention to take on or off slow things down on both sides of the security line. I usually wear sandals, anything you can slip on or off without requiring the use of both hands. Sometimes passengers qualify for pre-check, which allows them to leave their shoes on while going through security. Be careful with these—many high heels have nails in them that can set off the body scanners and will have to be taken off and put through the X-ray scanner, thus slowing down the line." — Tara Stilley

Slip-on sneakers like these are the best shoe style to breeze through airport security.

Metal Bracelets

"Jewelry is kind of a no-brainer. Every passenger goes through a body scanner that is detecting certain metals, but it's hard to say what exactly it is they are looking for. Typically, I've seen metal bangles (bracelets) pose a problem. Gold, silver, or other precious metals don't seem to be much of a problem." — Tara Stilley

Shop a necklace you won't need to take off

And it's cute to boot.

Hair Accessories

"As for hair accessories, I've been told by a couple of co-workers that sometimes bobby pins have set off the scanners. Wouldn't hurt to just avoid metal hair accessories altogether." — Tara Stilley

Shop a headband to replace metal hair accessories

This floral headband can add instant style to the most basic ensemble.

Excess Luggage

"Luggage is always problematic. Passengers bringing too many bags through security make the lines longer. There is more opportunity to forget about liquids or other things that are supposed to be removed. Also, it helps to stay organized and keep laptops and liquids near the surface and easily accessible. Avoid bringing plastic or paper bags through too. I've seen passengers trying to put bags through the X-ray scanners that don't zip or securely close and having to mess with it to make sure it stays upright and doesn't fall over and spill out while going through. It also makes it easier to overfill the bags, making it more likely to get knocked over at some point during the security checkpoint process. My advice is to be able to zip it and forget it." — Tara Stilley

Ditch the standard bag you've used for years, and go for something sleeker like this Madewell tote. Bonus? It's great for a daily work bag too.

Shop more items perfect for traveling

We suggest purchasing this blouse one size up for that cozy yet cool oversize look.

Why deal with laces at all when you can just slide these on and off? These are particularly ideal if you're going on a business trip and need to look more professional.

The hooded sweatshirt couldn't be more current—it's perfect for your style and for staying cozy on the plane.

Your answer to the college sweatpants you may have worn in the past.


If you're going to go for jeans on the plane, select a pair that's a little loose with stretch for extreme comfort.

These sandals make navigating airport security a breeze.

A pretty necklace that you shouldn't have to take off through security.

The perfect carry-on in the coolest hue.

A lightweight trench is great for the plane—and for your destination to combat everything Mother Nature has in store.

Keep your travel look comfy and elevated.

This perfect moto is very lightweight—ideal for travel.

This soft scarf can double as a blanket if just that jacket won't suffice for the airplane's chilly AC.

Next, check out the basics models wear at the airport.

This post was updated by Anna LaPlaca.