Plane rides were one of my favorite things when I was growing up. For days leading up to the flight I’d hope and wish that I’d get to meet the pilot. Something about a person who could drive a plane through the sky was so magical to me. As I’ve gotten older, my preflight daily prayer has turned into
Please God, don’t let me sit next to a smelly person.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful to be able to zip from country to country in a matter of hours (not that I’ve ever actually done that lol). It’s just that I find almost everything about flying to be uncomfortable. The seats, the air pressure, the awkward small talk, the lack of decent food, motion sickness, the real possibility that I could spend the next 3+ hours next to a screaming baby (<– no disrespect, I think moms are superheroes and I totally get that it’s nearly impossible to control a baby on a plane) or someone with less than pleasant body odors, and the list can go on for days.
As with many other aspects of life, I’ve learned to counteract uncomfortable situations through the way I dress. It’s important to remember that looking cute isn’t the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is comfort because comfort is the key to confidence. When I say comfort, I don’t mean your favorite bumming around, Dorito finger stained sweatpants.
I mean pieces that genuinely make you feel comfortable. I really hate clothes that I constantly have to adjust or tug at because I’m always worried that some part of my body that’s not supposed to be showing, is totally showing.
When I get ready for the airport, I think about all of the things that make me uncomfortable and do my best to avoid them. I’m kind of a germ freak so some of the things on this list may not be as important to you. Just take what works for you and leave the rest!
What You Should Not Wear When Traveling on a Plane
There’s nothing comfortable about heels and any girl who says she thinks they are more comfortable than sneakers is a liar! Why on earth people truck through the airport in heels, I’ll never understand but I advise you not to do it. What if your gate is the last one in your terminal? Are you prepared to walk, nay, run in your heels? Because if the security line was a lot longer than you expected you’re probably gonna be making a mad dash to your gate.
Even if you are flying from and to the worlds smallest airports, I still wouldn’t wear heels on a plane. When you sit for too long, blood pools up in your hands and feet which causes them to swell. Not exactly what you want to happen when you’re wearing heels.
Something about direct skin to airplane seat action gives me the heebee geebee’s. Maybe it’s got to to with the itchy cloth but more than likely it’s from that one time I went to take my seat, only to land myself in a soggy cushion full of urine. And I checked my bag that trip so I couldn’t even change. Or the other time I sat in snot. Either way, both experiences would have still been super gross had I worn pants but the little buffer of fabric would have made things much better. I don’t know how to put this lightly but I’ll do it as delicately as I can. There were so many butts sitting on my seat for an extended period of time before me that I’d just not rather have direct skin to seat contact. #SorrryNotSorry
I’m all for bringing a cardigan or a sweatshirt onto the plane. However, straight up wearing a sweater is a bad idea unless you have something underneath. Even if you have something underneath the sweater you need to be sure you’re confident walking around in whatever said thing is just in case the airport or airplane gets too hot. Layering is the way to go when travel on a plane. You just need to be 100% certain that you are comfortable in your base layer.
A quick trip through the security line is #TravelGoals. No one wants to be THAT person taking forever to get all of their liquids and whatnot out of their bag and shoes off while consequently holding up the line. However, I don’t think wearing sandals is the way to avoid this.
While sandals may be convenient for the security line, you need to think about the long game. You’ve got hours of waiting in an airport and dozens of bathrooms you’ll end up in. I feel like airport/airplane floors are extra dirty and I don’t want my exposed feet near them. Other than that, in an airport everyone and their mom is wheeling around a carryon bag. Most of them are not paying attention. If someone is going to roll over my feet with a wheelie bag, I want to be wearing closed toe shoes. While sneakers are an okay option, the laces can really hold you up at security. I try to go for slip on sneakers, closed toe slides, or boots with a zipper.
While I am obsessed with maxis, I do not wear them to the airport. All of my maxis slightly graze the floor and I’d just prefer to not have to be cautious of my dress while hauling through the airport. They also increase your likelihood of a TSA pat down. #JustSayin
Related: 10 Reasons to Wear a Maxi Dress
Super Tight Clothes
Skip the super tight clothes, especially if you’re about to get on a long flight – I’m looking at you single ladies. Before I started dating Mike, flirting with men at an airport bar was my favorite way to make the pre-boarding wait go a little bit faster. However, tight clothes are neither practical nor worth it for this flirting occasion. Being in the air is going to cause you to bloat. If you are wearing super tight clothes, you are going to get really uncomfortable, really fast. I opt of leggings, jeggings, loose fitting jeans, or stretchy jeans. Anything with a little extra room.
I have to admit, I have a bit of a perfume obsession. I’m afraid of smelling bad. Perfume and deodorant are in my purse at all times. With that being said, I do refrain from wearing perfume when I’m getting ready to get on a plane (or I use one tiny spritz of a very neutral scent). When you are on a plane, there are so many people in such a small space. You don’t know who is allergic or sensitive to what, so it’s best to be considerate and not take any risks. I do recommend showering before the flight, wearing deodorant, and freshly laundered clothes.
White or Light Colors
I can’t tell you how many times I spill something on myself while traveling. Okay, fine IRL too, but it’s worse while traveling. You better bet the first thing I do when I get through security is find a coffee shop. From there, I try to find some food if I didn’t have a chance to pack my own. Once I’m on a plane, I need coke in a cup of ice to help the nausea I get from flying. Somewhere between the coffee, the snacks, and the coke, a spill is bound to happen. I try to wear darker colors that are easier to clean and harder to see in case of a spill.
Also, I feel like I have to be 10x more careful when I’m wearing white or light colors. Let’s be real, ain’t nobody got time for that when traveling on a plane.
An Actual Bra
I’m not much of a bra wearer to begin with but I definitely skip it when I’m traveling. Instead I go for a bandeau, bralette, or sports bra. If you really feel like you need a bra, try picking up a bra without underwire and slip into it just before you get on the flight.
Related: Tips for Pulling Off the Bra Top
I’ve found that avoiding these 11 things can help make flying a little more bearable. My ideal travel outfit is stretchy jeans, a plain tee shirt or flannel, boots or sneaks, and a cardigan. If I do accessorize, I make sure to take everything off before going through security to avoid a pat down.
Don’t forget to grab my packing checklist before your next trip so you can be 100% confident that you packed everything you need!
What would you never wear when traveling on a plane? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m Michelle, the founder of life & style blog, She’s Not So Basic. On the blog I write about all things related to style advice, self-love, finding happiness, and so much more while wearing both my heart and my scars on my sleeve. My path through life has been anything but basic and it’s left me feeling lost, lonely, and insecure. Every day is a journey towards feeling confident and finding freedom one not-so-basic outfit at a time. Connect with me to see how we can work together, to tell me your #NotSoBasic story, or just to say hi!