Traveling can be a major hassle, and that’s never truer than during the holiday season. As everyone sets out to celebrate with friends and family, our planes, trains, and highways can get seriously crowded. You might get a holiday headache just thinking about it—and that’s no way to start off a festive season. Though we can’t do anything about that cramped middle seat on your flight home for Christmas (sorry!), there is one way to make your seasonal travels a bit smoother. The perfect travel outfit can make even the longest flight a little more comfortable, and having a go-to look for travel days takes some of the stress out of prepping for your next getaway. Here are our top tips for putting together a cute and comfy layered look to get you through the holiday travel season.
Start with the Basics: When it comes to dressing for a long flight, you might be tempted to fully commit to comfort with your favorite hoodie and sweatpants. But many flight attendants and frequent flyers suggest that travelers with sophisticated style are more likely to get onboard perks, and even coveted upgrades on full flights. So, how can you step up your style game while staying comfortable for the long haul? We recommend starting with a “travel uniform” of basic pieces that work year-round and provide a clean slate for seasonal accessories. For chic basics that are roomy and relaxed, try a pair of wide-leg trousers with a soft, tucked-in t-shirt. If you prefer the unbeatable comfort of leggings, stick to a classic black pair plus a chic tunic or oversized sweater and simple flats. Now you’re ready to start layering.
Layer Up: There’s nothing worse than settling in for a long flight, only to find that your neighbor has their overhead vent on at full blast. Whether you’re battling icy AC or an overheated cabin, adaptable layers are key for in-flight comfort. Whenever possible, skip a bulky coat in favor of a few thinner pieces that can be mixed and matched to suit a range of temperatures. Pair your basic pants-and-top combo from above with a cardigan, poncho, or kimono that’s easy to remove as temperatures change. (We recommend an item that feels like your favorite blanket but looks a bit more stylish.) Stick to dark colors in case of spills, and choose wrinkle-resistant fabrics so you’ll look your best when you reach your destination. If you’re headed to an especially cold location, consider an additional layer of outerwear—like a military-inspired jacket with plentiful pockets, or a soft cocoon coat—that’s loose enough to fit comfortably over a cardigan.
Play with Accessories: When choosing your travel basics, it’s best to stick to simple, timeless pieces in subdued hues, so you’ll always have an outfit to grab and go. But that doesn’t mean you have to forego all things fun and fashionable! Accessories are a great way to incorporate additional layers along with a bit of color and personality. As we head into the winter months, a cozy scarf is the number one travel essential on our packing list. Look for colorful scarves in a soft fabric or knit, which can double as a miniature blanket or a pillow if unexpected delays come your way. If you find that your hair often looks worse for the wear after a long flight, you might also consider a slouchy beanie. Finally, pack your favorite sunglasses so you can face the day after a red-eye flight. Steer clear of jewelry when choosing your travel accessories; it can be uncomfortable and inconvenient as you head through security.
Carry-On Essentials: The final piece of the travel puzzle is finding the perfect carry-on items. While your larger bag may get stowed in the overhead bin until landing, a smaller tote is ideal for holding in-flight essentials like a tablet, water bottle, snacks, and the accessories listed above. We recommend nesting some smaller bags inside your tote to stay organized on the go. Tuck key documents—like your license, boarding pass, passport, and credit card—into a wristlet that’s easy to grab as you go through security or stop by the newsstand. You can also add a makeup case filled with travel-sized items for a post-flight refresh. We recommend a mini hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, makeup wipes, dry shampoo, and sample sizes of your beauty essentials to provide a welcome pick-me-up once you’ve reached your destination.
Are you traveling this holiday season? Let us know where you’re headed—and what you’ll be wearing—in the comments!