How to look good on planes if you are a real person, not a movie star
Forget cashmere track pants and face masks - here is our ultimate travel style advice for the travel wardrobe of real people with real lives
Do you hate travel style advice in magazines as I do? It is a classic: frequent travellers from the fashion scene get frequently asked how they keep their complexion glowy and their look stylish when on long trips. Of course, they drink gallons of water, a flight rule we already know (and then have coffee and maybe a sip of wine anyway). The information we then get from twenty-year-old models and movie stars is that they apply face masks in public, moisturise their lips and hands continuously, wrap luxurious blankets around their perfect bodies and wear effortless cashmere track pants. The reality, of course, looks much different: not effortless at all, much more like an ungracious disaster. No matter how hard we try - flights seem to suck the life out of an average person. When I wrap myself in a cashmere blanket, I resemble a saved sad victim of an apocalypse. When I wear track pants, I look like I am taking a sick day. And has anyone ever really applied a face mask in an airplane without being asked by the flight attendant if one has a fever and needs medical help?
I think it is time to acknowledge the fact that a flight will never be a wellness spa visit. A plane is merely a public transportation and, just like in any other public transport system, the only goal should be to maintain as much of your dignity as possible.
Here are the basics.
On short-term flights: keep it smooth with...
... a midi skirt
I really don´t know why people keep thinking that trousers are more practical than skirts. They are not, especially in an airplane seat. Denim is uncomfortable, and classic trousers will never hold their perfect shape, not even during an hour-long flight. The moment you crawl out of your seat, you will hate the creases in your crotch for the rest of your day. So why don´t you try a skirt? Especially a pleated one. No one will acknowledge the few flight wrinkles in an already wrinkled fabric. And you can move your legs freely. Another plus for air-conditioning phobics: you can wear tights!
... the right blazer
Most of the times, a short-term flight is for business. So you don´t want to change your outfit, especially when you fly in and out the same day. That´s why you need a smart jacket. It actually looks great with midi skirts, and even better when you put a belt over it (that you can easily take off for being more comfortable while flying). When it comes to the choice of the right flight blazer, ditch any delicate material that is prone to creasing - like fluid rayons, silks and light cotton or linen. Instead, opt for something more substantial, like heavier wool or polyester mixes (yes, it actually has a purpose and can be found not only in cheap, but also costly clothes). In winter, tweed fabrics are a brilliant choice.
... Sneakers (and kitten-heels)
Yes, you are a real boss and run through airports in your heels as if hurting feet simply do not apply to you. I want you to know that you don´t have to! Technical sneakers actually look fabulously modern with ankle-length skirts (only the white ones should not be worn with tights) - and if you think you cannot pull them off on your business date, you can quickly change in some kitten-heel pumps you carry with you in your bag (they demand less space than high-heels). Don´t waste your energy with running in heels! Save it for more important things.
On medium-haul flights: keep it casual with...
... high-waisted trousers
Four hours are not long enough for sleeping but not short enough for keeping your legs elegantly crossed. So yes, you need comfy trousers. Stretch pants are comfy, but do they look good? No, they don´t. The solution: high waisted baggy pants, a little bit 80ies style. They will look better on you than you think - as long as you keep your tops skinny and short. And even better, they keep your belly and back warm, and are spacious enough to make you move freely! Also, you can put on your compression socks under them without too big a hassle (you do not necessarily need them on midterm flights, but they will make you feel better, promised). Don´t forget to bring thick socks in the same colour and you will not look like a child, but simply like a relaxed grown-up woman.
... a cashmere sweater
It should be as warm as possible because of the dry, cold air - so preferably of cashmere. And, as important, it should be cropped so you can show off your high-waisted trousers. If your destination is hot, wear a skinny, high-quality tank top underneath - then you can just take off your sweater and instantly look vacation-ready!
.... pointed flats
High-waisted baggy pants with sneakers? That´s something for 20 year-olds. And if you are on holidays, you don´t want to look like a tourist, even if we all are, right? So combine with pointed ballet flats. They lengthen your silhouette, are comfy and not too heavy for sunny areas. It really is that easy.
On long term flights: keep it cosy with...
Didn´t I say track pants are a no-go just a few lines earlier? Of course, I did. But it does not matter if you fly First, Business or Economy class, when you have 10 hours in an airplane ahead of you, you might at least want to try to take a nap. In some airplane classes, this is already nearly impossible without drugs. Therefore you need something that feels like a pyjama. There are people who simply wear track pants or leggings they also use at the gym. But being gracious looks different. So when travelling, always dress for the class you want to fly - and invest in some sporty trousers that are too expensive to work out in. Ideally, they have really wide legs and are made of thick jersey.
... an oversized hoodie
Wear an oversized hoodie over your track pants, preferably in the same colour range. Nothing works better psychologically against the flight flu - and for cutting out what goes on around you - than a hood. Another plus is that you can wear as many layers underneath as you like. Thin merino tops are a great choice because they keep you warm and are breathable at the same time. And you can even not wear a bra without feeling sloppy! Close your eyes and relax.
... comfy slip-ons
If you are a travel pro, you always keep yourself hydrated and drink lots of water during flights, just like the models do, right? What the frequent travellers who give us chic travel advice do never talk about though, is the consequence: you will feel the need to go to the loo very often. So the most important accessory is an uncomplicated shoe you do not have to tie every time you get up. It is as simple as that: the more complicated the shoe situation, the less you will drink. Never has there been a better reason for investing in some high-end slip-on sneakers: your health! The chunkier they look, the better they will complement your track pants.
... a chic anorak
If it is shorter than your hoodie, slightly shiny and adorned with luxurious details, it will pull not only your look, but your whole self together the moment you arrive: short blousons transform streetwise track-pants into an urban, grown-up outfit instantly. And add some red lipstick before you leave the plane, too! It works magically when your complexion is a little dull - even better than a sticky face mask, if you ask me.