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the stylist’s notebook | at the airport

8 April 2009

Michael Kors; F/W 2005 Campaign; Erin Wasson

Michael Kors; F/W 2005 Campaign; Erin Wasson

Packing for a week’s worth (or more) of some fabulous getaway, whether it be in the exotic islands, in Europe, etc. is equally exciting as it is antagonizing. With perfect ensembles envisioned in overly excited minds, we pack with extra care so that we’re over-prepared with chic outfits. But it’s what to wear to the airport and on that airplane that stumps us all, regardless of how fashionably aware we make ourselves out to be. All the fabulous clothes are either packed away or too nice to let wrinkle with hours of sitting at airports or on a flight – or simply not comfortable enough. So what to wear?

Dressing in heels and pencil skirts with perfectly slicked hair is not entirely necessary, contrary to the jet-setting Erin Wasson. You are free to do so, but sometimes dressing up can truly be a hassle and prove to be an inconvenience, especially during those red-eye flights. Airport and plane seats are not the most comfortable, obviously, so your personal comfort should be maximized to its fullest potential.

{keep in mind.}

The airplane ride is not the only time spent sitting for hours; you’ll be waiting at the terminal for a considerable amount of time as well. So comfort is important! Heels the likes should be avoided; if you insist on wearing something that gives you a boost of height, chunkier heels or boots are advised as an alternative to pumps. Otherwise, flat shoes are ideal. And layering is key!

Avoid anything that is easily wrinkled or requires dry-cleaning; long tees/tunics/dresses/cardigans/etc. do look lovely, but become quite the opposite when you leave the plane with the fabric wrinkled around your derriere.


image sources: tfs, le fashion

image sources: tfs, le fashion // click for a larger view!

Regardless of the destination, I always have a few key pieces that have become my airport staples.

Cardigan. Your best friend. The perfect article of clothing that keeps you warm in terminals and airplanes with the air-conditioning on full blast, yet cool enough to step outside into the tropics without sweating profusely. It’s lightweight, making it easy to wear sans the bulkiness or roll up and stuff into your carry-on should it get too hot.

Scarf. Another must have. Scarves are surprisingly practical in keeping you warm. But their practicality and many uses make it all the more necessary to bring aboard: (1) Scarves instantly chic-ify your outfit, regardless of what your wearing. Somehow, it gives a sense of poise and sophistication. (2) They’re quite warm! (3) They work nicely as neck rests/pillows when rolled up. (4) They work equally as well as blankets, only a bit smaller in size.

Loose tees. The easiest way to look effortlessly chic whilst remaining comfortable. Layer them on; a tee over a white tank, covered by a lovely cardigan or blazer. You can always strip down to the last layer if it should ever get too hot to bear!

Leggings/Stretchy Jeans. Basically anything with stretch is the way to go. Fitted pants always polish up an outfit, juxtaposing nicely with the looser top(s). Leggings are, however, more comfortable. But be sure that they are completely opaque!

Knee-high leather boots. Warm, comfortable, easy to wear, and basically weather-proof. The perfect shoes to run in if you happen to be late catching a flight!

Sunglasses. Why? So that you maintain an air of that mysterious who-is-that-sophisticated woman/is-she-someone-famous. And to shield your lack of makeup/smudged makeup/puffy eyes or simply to avoid awkward stares with other passengers.

Blazers. They provide warmth whilst giving your entire airplane ensemble a polished, sophisticated look. And they’re perfect for layering.

Flats. If you’re headed for an exotic vacation spot, flats allow for ventilation on the plane but enough coverage to keep you warm, simultaneously preventing your feet from getting hot flashes in the Caribbean sun.

Cashmere Wrap. For that sophisticated, luxurious look that doubles as a blanket.

{in the carry-on.}

Magazines & books. You will need them! And there is no better time to acquaint yourself with the latest trends/happenings in the fashion world.

Chapstick, lotion, makeup. For touch-ups when your flight is near its end, or if you happen to be so lucky as to sit next to a handsome, single man. Liner, mascara, some powder foundation, and concealer (for those undereye circles!). Lipgloss is equally essential.

Oil-blotting papers or face-wash cloths. To refresh yourself and look presentable.


La C.

55 Comments leave one →
  1. *Andrea* permalink
    8 April 2009 9:07 pm

    love this post! i always love dressing cute at airports even if its comfy/casual – adding scarves and cute oversized bags makes all the difference.

  2. 8 April 2009 9:19 pm


    i love being comfy to the airport but kinda hate flying lol

  3. 8 April 2009 9:25 pm

    Ah perfect timing, I’m flying to Warsaw in 6 days this is the post I needed to read somewhere and of course it’s youuuuu ❤

  4. 8 April 2009 9:32 pm

    Shini: Awwwww Thank you! You’re so sweet. ❤

  5. kristine permalink
    8 April 2009 9:42 pm

    this is perfect timing for me too! i’m going on vacation for spring break and i was this close to planning on wearing sweatpants but your article persuaded me otherwise!

    thanks! (:

  6. Rachel permalink
    8 April 2009 10:04 pm

    Ahh. I love this post. So helpful.. and it makes me want to jump on the plane for the sole reason of dressing up. 😉

  7. 8 April 2009 10:12 pm

    a perfect list.
    this is my go to must have list exactly.
    10 hour non-stop flights to honolulu from newark are the true test of a comfy flight outfit LOL.

  8. 8 April 2009 10:39 pm

    I’ve seen a few of these posts lately, I know WWWD did one…of course all after my vacation but none the less. I think you’ve done a great job (as usual) at rounding up the important information and piecing it together for us to read.


  9. 8 April 2009 10:54 pm

    I agree with your points about the scarves.

  10. 8 April 2009 10:59 pm

    thanks for the help. should keep this in mind whenever i wanna go travelling 🙂

    oya, have an award for you. check this out


  11. 8 April 2009 11:10 pm

    Also, remember that they make you take off your shoes when going through security, so make sure you wear socks! I made the mistake of wearing sandals (& no socks) one time and had to walk barefoot on the airport flooring. Ick!

  12. 8 April 2009 11:23 pm

    Excellent advice!

  13. 8 April 2009 11:26 pm

    don’t forget headach medicine, pepto bismal for upset stomach and plenty of H2O.

  14. 9 April 2009 12:04 am

    so many staples! love this post. perfect!

  15. 9 April 2009 12:59 am

    Hello La C. Great post. I’m not sure what I would or should take if I took a flight. It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve been on a plane.

  16. 9 April 2009 1:22 am

    Awesome post!! This definitely goes down in my vacay preparation book. ;D

    E> An

  17. 9 April 2009 1:23 am

    I agree with most of this, and it’s an excellent post. When I travel, I fit everything for a week into my purse and a carry-on bag. The way I do this is by packing mix and match items that don’t take up a lot of room. And I never pack my heels, I wear them. This proves to be especially entertaining when putting them back on at the security gate, as it draws attention from guards and passengers alike. Of course, the sunglasses never leave my face, further adding to the mystery. xo

  18. 9 April 2009 1:25 am

    I love this post! It’s like everything I attempt to embody when I fly.. Haha 😀 I always love seeing what people wear when they travel because it really is an important outfit. You have to be ready for anything!
    I think wearing a scarf is probably the most important part. It also comes in handy if someone is sneezing/coughing right by you – you can hide under it 😉

    I adore your blog!!
    xo, Kate

  19. 9 April 2009 1:56 am

    I love travelling! Partly because it means i get to write a list similar to this, including everything from outfit right down to which kind of lollies to pack in my carry on!
    Gorgeous post darling xx

  20. 9 April 2009 2:18 am

    such a complete post! i love how you thought about everything. 🙂 definitely bookmarking this for when I need it.



  21. 9 April 2009 2:43 am

    Great post as usual and very helpful! I’d recommend using those facial cleansing clothes for a refreshing cleanse and moisturizer for your hands and face.

  22. 9 April 2009 4:02 am

    *applause* Another brilliant post! This is something I’ve had to perfect over the years, and was tickled & surprised that I could practically tick everything above, so agree wholeheartedly with it all! 🙂

  23. rossovelvet permalink
    9 April 2009 4:47 am

    This is so funny, I read this after packing for N-Y yesterday… I had so much fun pondering everything !
    Finally I chose a Mondrian-style dress which is also the most confortable item of the world. Of course a cardigan, then a trench, a foulard, cool tights and beautiful shoes.
    Oh and the only really important thing: the mask ! I can’t sleep without, it’s really priceless, especially for long flights !

    Thanks for the post anyway, I agree with everything !

  24. 9 April 2009 5:45 am

    great post. i always try to wear comfy pants. and try to bring with a soft warm cardigan- as it sometimes gets cold on the plane..

  25. 9 April 2009 6:10 am

    During my last flight back from London (it was 12 pain-staking hours) I wore a comfortable cotton shirt and had two cardigans because London is still pretty cold. Malaysia is burning hot so when I arrived here I removed my cardigans and stuffed them into my backpack.

    I wore my favourite skinny jeans and my superbly comfy converse trainers~!

    I love ur blog!

  26. 9 April 2009 6:20 am

    Hi there-a fabulous post with spot on must haves!!

  27. 9 April 2009 6:23 am

    what a great guide! i’m saving this for preparing my summer trip later this year 🙂


  28. 9 April 2009 6:34 am

    This is great advice, it’s always so hard to figure out what to wear on the airplane!

  29. 9 April 2009 11:28 am

    Well, you’ve pretty much got everything down.
    On the plane I usually dress up but in a comfortable way. I never wear jeans because I feel stiff in them, I wear dresses or skirts. You can move around a lot more 🙂
    good luck!

  30. 9 April 2009 2:01 pm

    Fantastic advice as always, La C! Flats are also good because you feel like you have to walk for ages in airport terminals getting between customs check points and the departure gates. Regardless of whether the person wears heels or flats, though, I’d suggest shoes that slip on and off easily–it makes getting through customs so much easier.

  31. 9 April 2009 2:21 pm

    Such a perfect post. By the way, I added you to Cafe Fashionista’s links list! 🙂

  32. 9 April 2009 2:34 pm

    It’s always such a daunting project, all that packing, stuffing, and deciding. Only to arrive at the terminal, locate baggage claim, sprint through various corridors like some sort of fitness program, removing shoes, find the departure gate, and subsequently freeze until reaching my final destination.
    At this point, I’m already in dire need of a quick touch-up, and I haven’t even gone anywhere yet! Lol-xxx

    Chic vs. practical always seems to be the haunting inquiry… so this was an excellent post, per usual!

  33. 9 April 2009 3:02 pm

    What a great post! I love reading your tips and I’ll definitely keep in mind about the cardigan and scarfs the next time I travel! xxoxoxoxoo

  34. 9 April 2009 3:04 pm

    Omg, cardigans are so perfect for flying – and scarves as well! For my trip to China this summer, I’m hopefully going to be channeling Kate Moss for my long flight – comfy but still stylish! 🙂 This was another fabulous post darling. You’re lovelyy.

  35. 9 April 2009 3:20 pm

    I like to wear tights and a comfy shirt, scarf, and boots! 🙂

  36. 9 April 2009 3:57 pm

    You are sooo sweet, lady! Great post.


  37. isabella and bianca permalink
    9 April 2009 4:22 pm

    love the fur collar

    the crumpet girls

  38. 9 April 2009 4:50 pm

    very helpful post! scarves are always necessary when flying. they can double as a pillow too!

  39. 9 April 2009 5:20 pm

    darling, thank you soooo much for this!
    I have been thinking lately about what to wear in the airport when I go on holiday, and this has helped sooo much.
    thank you veryyy much 🙂


  40. 9 April 2009 5:28 pm

    Awesome advice! I love travel and airport chic is my new ‘project’. Scarves, sunglasses, magazines…
    Little question: are UGGs ever permissible? I think them helpful during endless flights, but then again, I’m not sure…

    Ps: I’ve tagged you 😛

    – Mo

    • 25 April 2010 10:17 pm

      UGG’s are a NO NO! I wore my black short (not the SUPER short one’s) UGG’s, and it was a horrible experience. My feet felt hot and sore and sweaty!

  41. 9 April 2009 5:43 pm

    I’m in Spain visiting my father, so the post is helpfull.
    It’s funny because I almost wore the same outfit as Kate moss in the first picture when I was leaving 😉
    x Laura

  42. 9 April 2009 6:00 pm

    Great post! I always try to take into account what to wear to the airport whenever I go away. It is definately an overlooked topic. Thanks for the comment my dear!

  43. 9 April 2009 6:05 pm

    Hello darling La C!
    Your advice is perfection, as are the jet set photos you have chosen to illustrate your point. #1 necessity on a long flight: cashmere blanket or pashmina, so true!


  44. thebaglady permalink
    9 April 2009 7:14 pm

    Another amazing advice post! For a seventeen year old girl – well woman – you are so well spoken & well-traveled!

  45. Alize Morand permalink
    9 April 2009 7:38 pm

    Perfect post to remind me of essential airport tips, I’m flying in 2 weeks! 🙂 x

  46. 10 April 2009 4:22 pm

    oh you are too kind to your readers!!! great post – travel outfits can be tricky!

    thank you for your blushful comment hon – hope you are having a fabulous long weekend! love LM xxx

  47. 11 April 2009 4:32 pm

    I love this! I won’t be travelling with plane for a while, but I will keep this in mind for the summer. I have the exact same problem, I either dress too casually or too dressed up. With this in mind I will be able to keep myself in style even after a 24 hour trip! Thank you<2

  48. Eliz permalink
    12 April 2009 2:43 pm

    this is just what i needed:) i looove this it was PERFECT for my trip

  49. 17 April 2009 9:55 am

    [from Sparkle & Glitter] I always end up waaaay to casual, when I went to Europe I used jeans and a t.shirt, on my way back I wore sweats (10 hour flight, but STILL!!) Then to San Francisco I dressed up a little bit more but still way too sloppy.
    P.S.: Wanted to mention great post

  50. 23 July 2010 10:56 pm

    Perfection. I’m jetting from JFK to Sydney with a layover at LAX…a total of 30 hours of travel time. Not only will I be styled according to this post, I will have refresher items and backups to spare. (; Adore the blog love.

  51. Laura permalink
    15 August 2010 8:08 pm

    1) Not all airports require shoe removal at security, and for the ones that don’t – avoid stiletto heels, they usually have a metal post in the heel and will need to be removed at the metal detector regardless.

    2) All pants or skirts should go past the knee – AC is cold, and airplane seats are often unpleasant on bare legs. (I like tucking a light skirt or shorts into my carry-on and changing right before arrival.)

    3) Pack enough in your carry-on that you’ll survive even if your luggage is rerouted and you don’t see it for a few days. Basic toiletries (in airline-approved bottles), extra underwear, a change of clothes, and your bathing suit if your destination involves swimming.

    4) Airplane air does weird things to your skin. Bring moisturizer.

    5) Buy water once you’re through security and bring it onboard, especially if you plan on drinking coffee or booze on the flight.

    6) Keeping a toothbrush and mini toothpaste handy will make you happy. Also, basic OTC medicines (for headache, nausea, etc.)

    7) On a red-eye, bring your own sleep mask. Do you really trust the ones they hand out?

  52. Bree permalink
    13 January 2011 3:16 am

    Ahh j’adore votre sens de la mode 🙂
    Even though living in the fashion capital – France, I am still lost on what to wear as I’m travelling in 4 days to Perth (Australia) -> Melbourne (Australia) -> Sydney (Australia) -> LAX (USA) and I love dress to impress but 20hour flight can take it’s toll! And I had no idea what to wear! This has given me the inspiration needed and I am going straight to the nearest boutique asap!! Merci mon ami pour l’aide.


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