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What to wear on a plane (3 looks; 10 tips)

What to wear on a plane (3 looks; 10 tips)

I’m a child of the ’70s and as a kid I found anything to do with flying just about the most glamorous thing in the whole wide world. Sure, part of the glamour was the destination. For me, those destinations were first implanted in my very imaginative mind through my late Nan’s silver charm bracelet. Nan had a charm on that bracelet to match every destination she and Pop had travelled to. They’d both be dressed up for every flight and would regale us with tales of what it was like on board after each adventure. I wanted in.

Does being a TAA Junior Flyer and earning my golden wings count? I say yes. And if you’re of my vintage, you’d agree. It was a time when you did pull out your fanciest clothes, even if the glamour of flying was mostly on a small Fokker Friendship plane from Maryborough to Brisbane. I was always in awe of the hair and makeup on the “hosties”.

NOTHING was out of place. NOTHING.

At the age of 12, I did get to go on my first international flight. How lucky was I? My Dad and Step-mum took us to the UK and Europe for five months. Apart from missing five months of school (HUZZAH!), the flight over on Singapore Airlines was seriously up there with visiting the Eiffel Tower for the first time. We were very much at the tail-end of the plane (with the smokers!) but I still remember the graciousness of the flight crew, the attention to detail and the way the passengers took what they wore seriously – and made it an occasion.

I still like to think that flying is an occasion. The perceived glamour of flying was not lost on me and is still with me today. These are my tips for what to wear on a flight so that you feel comfortable and stylish on board and in the arrivals lounge.

10 tips for what to wear on a plane

1. What to wear on a flight – long or short haul – should have comfort as a priority. There is nothing worse than being seated for any period of time and feeling like your clothes are leaving permanent creases and indentations on your body.

2. Long or short haul, your shoes should be easy to take on and off (my daughter learned this the hard way when recently travelling to Japan in her Doc Martens) if needed to do so through security. Typically there is a lot of walking involved at terminals, so keep this in mind for your footwear too. 

3. If taking your shoes off on board a flight, take a pair of fold-up flats for getting around the cabin. (This was a great tip from a reader.)

4. Compression socks are your friendsWell, they are mine. My dodgy thyroid an menopause means I swell up under the best of conditions. Put me in a pressurised cabin and my cankles are comical at best, painful at worst.

5. The longer the flight, the more layers you’ll need. Cabin air conditioning is icy. Conversely, I’ve been in situations on a plane on the tarmac where the heating has been ramped up and I’ve needed to take off layers to suit. 

6. Pack a change of clothes if doing a long-haul flight. You may not be able to shower but adding on fresh clothes will give you a bit of a lift at the end of your journey. This extra set of clothes is also an insurance policy against getting to the other end and finding your luggage hasn’t been on the same plane as you. I include a packing cell in my overnight/cabin bag with the change of clothes so it’s all kept together and ready for that freshen up at the other end.

7. Heading to a tropical destination? Still take an extra layer on board with you, as conditions in the air can be the complete opposite of that awaiting you at your balmy destination. Lightweight pants, a tee, denim jacket and a light wrap will work here.

8. Take on board a cabin bag that easily carries all your essentials. I like a big overnight-style bag or backpack. You might prefer a suitcase-style cabin bag. 

9. Always carry an extra wrap or scarf in a colour that can hide all manner of spills. I’m a klutz in the food-spilling-on-oneself department at the best of times. Put me in a confined space when the slightest bump could send your chicken or beef flying into your lap, and I’m bound to “wear” my airline food and drink. I’ve now learned to put my scarf in place around my neck to catch any spills. Yes, as a baby would wear a bib!

10. Take a water bottle on board. These can be found at sports’ retailers and don’t take up much room in your carry-on. Ask for them to be filled when on board. Alternatively, some airports (once through security) have water outlets where you can fill your bottle.

Got a tip for what to wear on a plane? Share in the comments below.