How To Master Airport Chic Style

woman trailing suitcase at airport

Obtaining that quintessential airport chic style is something fashionistas are always striving for. In the media, celebrities and A Listers are always being photographed for the outfits they choose to travel in and this is because it’s actually very difficult to pull together an outfit that’s both comfortable, stylish and practical all at the same time. If you’ve ever been on a long haul flight, you’ll know comfort is the key, especially if you’re travelling Economy class. Leg room is extremely limited, sleep is always aimed for and rarely gotten and the last thing you want on a 10-hour flight is a waistband that keeps digging into your tummy. While the celebs have staff to carry their multiple pieces of luggage, neck pillows and document holders, for us mere mortals, it’s on us to lug our heavy suitcases and ensure we have easy access to the multiple documents needed at the various points throughout the airport. Even more so, if you’re bringing your mini-me or fur-baby along for the ride, you probably feel like you need an extra couple of pairs of hands in order to feel like you’ve got everything organized and easy to put your hand on, never mind simply carry. So of course that’s where practicality comes in and during Trans-Atlantic or busy holiday periods, it could take up to three hours just to get through the airport security so traipsing through the terminal with six inch heels isn’t advised! Finally, we all want to look great and arrive at our destination in style, nobody actually likes looking like they’ve been travelling and haven’t slept in 48hours even if that is the truth!

Have no fear though, building your go-to airport chic outfit for your next flight will be easy with our guide to dressing. Here’s the key pieces you need from each category to build an outfit that will make the transition from country to country relatively stress free, you’ll look good doing it and it’ll have you prepared for every eventuality.

Stretch Pants or Leggings

stylish woman in athleisurewear in the city

Pants or leggings are a better option than skirts or dresses simply because they’re more versatile and easier to sit comfortably and modestly. The fact that the temperature during your flight is likely to fluctuate is also another reason to choose pants or leggings over skirted options. You’ll want the stretch so no seams or button and zip closures can dig into you making you feel uncomfortable after multiple hours and of course the more comfortable you are, the less horrendous the long journey will be. This doesn’t mean you have to wear ugly gray sweatpants of course; stretch pants have come a long way since unflattering sweats. Try a pair of opaque black leggings with a long shirt dress or a pair of elastic waist stretchy jean joggers.

Layered Tops and Sweaters

cosy mugs and sweaters

Like we said before, on a long flight, one minute it can feel very hot and stuffy on board and the next you’re begging the stewards for an extra blanket. This is why layering is absolutely key when it comes to dressing for the airport. Opt for a thin layer top like a spaghetti strap tank or muscle Tee and layer a chunky knit cardigan or sweater over the top. Don’t forget to pack a scarf in your carry on which can double as a blanket for when the temperature drops.


street style image of sports fashion sneakers and leather handbag

You’re not going to like it but here it comes; give heels a miss! Your comfort levels will thank you for it, trust us. If you absolutely must have a heel, choose a low block heel which will still give you some height but you’ll still be comfortable even if you have to speed walk towards your boarding gate for fear of missing your flight. The most important thing to remember when picking your airport shoes is the ability to quickly slip them on and off. Most security checks will insist that you remove your shoes and then you’ll have to rush to put them on again on the other side as the other travelers pile up behind you waiting on their luggage coming through the conveyor belt. Backless loafers, slip on mules, sneakers that you don’t need to untie the laces, block heel court shoes or slip on ankle boots are all great options for speeding through security with ease. Be aware through, if you’re taking your shoes off and you’re not wearing socks, you’ll either have to brave it barefoot or spend time putting on those weird blue foot covers the airport provides – weigh up your options!

Styling Tips

Since you’ll be going through metal detectors, airport security usually insists you remove all jewellery, scarves and bulky layers so we advise keeping your styling and accessories to a minimum if at all. If you can, skip it altogether and simply pack your necklace and rings in your carry on, as soon as you’re past security you can put them on then, hassle-free.

Your Carry On

woman wearing backpack looking at cherry blossoms

Of course, we couldn’t possibly talk about style without touching on luggage since it really acts as an accessory when you’re travelling and shouldn’t be left out of your styling routine. While many carry on bags and purses look great, few are actually practical. You’ll want it to be big enough to hold all of your essentials for the flight like flight socks or slippers, your liquids, an extra blanket, neck pillow, earbuds, laptop, books etc but not so big that it becomes awkward to carry. Speaking of awkward to carry, your carry on luggage can be heavy so a shoulder strap bag may not be ideal. We love cross body bags or stylish backpacks for our first choice, particularly ones with separate compartments so you can find things easily.

Your Luggage

woman carrying old fashioned trunk style suitcase

Old fashioned, glove trotter’s trunk luggage might look really cool but there’s a reason it went out of fashion, they aren’t practical! You’re limited to how much weight you can put in them as you have to be able to carry it, plus they don’t close easily if you’re the kind of packer that always has a full to the brim suitcase. Duffle bags are the same, difficult to carry and hard on your arms. Our first choice is a lightweight hard or soft shell case with most importantly, 360° wheels – they make all the difference!

Article Commissioned by Mod'Art University of Shanghai

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