9 Things We Regret Wearing to the Airport


(Image credit: @songofstyle)

Collectively, as a team of editors, we've traveled a ton since the start of 2022. Some of us even hop on more than 30 flights in the span of a year, and others have traveled to over 30 countries. All these in-flight hours have amounted to our team perfecting the art of packing (hello, ever heard of the 54321 trick for packing light?) and the art of the airport outfit—trust us, airport style is a thing. But we couldn't have gained all our expertise without first practicing some good old trial and error. Speaking of error, don't forget to check out the three items that travelers pack but never wear. Take it from us. There is a definitive list of items we've deemed as the worst airport clothing.

As much as we would love to file those cringe-worthy memories somewhere far, far away, we're instead sharing our biggest airport outfit offenses. Seriously, learn from our mistakes. Ranking high up on the list—and something all of us have regretfully done at some point—is wearing 100% cotton "rigid" jeans when flying. If you've ever sat squished into a middle seat on a long flight, you can imagine the level of discomfort that an unforgiving pair of jeans provides.

Ahead read up on our major airport outfit offenses so you don't make the same mistakes we once did.


(Image credit: @allypayer)

"Without a doubt, wearing high-rise 100% cotton jeans is my biggest airport mistake, and I'm sad to admit that I've made it more than once. But I've finally learned my lesson and now refuse to wear anything but stretchy jeans when I fly." — Allyson Payer, senior editor


(Image credit: @nicoleakhtarzad)

"Leggings with a lot of seams: This might sound oddly specific, but those trendy leggings with seams and panels all over them can really start to dig into you after a couple hours in the air, and it is not comfortable. Instead, wear simple leggings or track pants." — Nicole Eshaghpour, senior market editor


(Image credit: @katcollings)

"Walking through airport security with bare feet is a hard no. Even if I'm wearing ballet flats or some other sockless pair of shoes, I'll stash a pair of socks in my tote to put on through security. Bombas have a lovely little mini cushion at the heel so they never slip down and help prevent blisters. Plus they're a tad cozier than your average pair." — Kat Collings, editor in chief


(Image credit: @anna__laplaca)

"I thought that my pair of high-top Vans would make for a perfect pair of airport shoes—man, was I wrong. The thin laces and the high-top style make them one of the more difficult sneakers I own to take on and off. Not only did I hold up the line going through the TSA checkpoint, but I was also running late to my flight tying them up afterward. I've learned my lesson and will always fly in slip-on shoes wherever possible." — Anna LaPlaca, editor


(Image credit: @laurenegg)

"One time I wore my tightest vintage jeans on a flight from NYC to L.A. and I was struggling the entire time. The high waistband was digging into my stomach, I felt like I couldn't breathe, and I was basically miserable the entire flight. Sometimes I feel weird wearing leggings—less pulled together, I don't know—so I now opt for a more casual 'fit that has some give." — Lauren Eggertsen, editorial director


(Image credit: @fitzpatrickerin)

"I mistakingly wore a T-shirt and shorts on the plane coming back from Florida once—it was so tempting to stay in them because of the humidity. However, I hate having no barrier between me and the dirty airplane seat! I always remember to bring a hoodie so I can raise the hood and protect my hair from the seat—classic germaphobe move." — Erin Fitzpatrick, senior news editor


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

"As much as I love wearing white, it's not my friend, especially when I'm lugging a suitcase, a tote, snacks, and way too many beverages around the airport. I flew from Berlin to the States in July and wore a pair of wide-leg, white linen pants because of how comfy and breathable they are only for me to spill a latte and chocolate on them. I couldn't exactly wash them mid-flight so I'm still living in regret because the stain never fully came out." — Eliza Huber, editor


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

"For the airport, I make sure to avoid wearing anything with metal, whether it’s cap-toe shoes, silver hardware belts, or leather jackets with zippers and snaps. That way, I can avoid any delays in the security line." — Kristen Nichols, senior editor


(Image credit: @_sierramayhew)

"I'm a frequent flyer, so I've got dressing for the airport down to a science by now. My only regret is once wearing a lightweight cardigan when flying back from Florida during a New York City winter. Obviously, I didn't want to lug around a heavy coat during my travels, but at least a jacket would've been nice. I always wear one to the airport now no matter how hot it is where I'm traveling." — Sierra Mayhew, associate editor

Next: I have traveled to over 30 countries, and this is what I always pack.

This post was published on an earlier date and has since been refreshed.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.