You would think that after all of the stories I’ve written about travel style in my years at Who What Wear that I would have forbidden myself from committing airport outfit crimes. Alas, I’m still guilty. My problem is that I tend to prioritize looking stylish over being comfortable, so I’m constantly reminding myself to heed my own advice. (I promise you both style and comfort are possible.)
And then there’s the fact that may of us haven’t traveled for over a year and are still navigating if, when, and how to do that safely. When you add going through security, walking for what feels like miles through terminals, adapting to varying temperatures, and having to stay seated in one place for long periods of time to mix, it’s a lot to consider. Because it can get overwhelming, I’m confessing my most common previous airport outfit mistakes. They may be subtle, but avoiding them will make a difference in your comfort level as some of explore traveling once again.
There’s no quicker way to look disheveled when traveling than wearing something that wrinkles in a flash. In case you need some guidance, I wrote an entire story about the best wrinkle-free fabrics for traveling.
Accessories can kind of make or break an airport outfit. For example, I’ve made the mistake of not wearing a watch (and digging for my phone in my bag isn’t particularly efficient), carrying bags that are awkward, not having a good place to put my sunglasses, and packing scarves in my carry-on duffel that are too bulky.
As you know, there’s often limited time to visit a restroom in the airport, and having to deal with a row of buttons and a shirt that needs to be tucked in just so is a big time waster.
Even though I have TSA PreCheck, I still have to remove my shoes at security when I fly internationally, and I often feel inclined to swap them out for cozy socks once I’m on the plane. Take my advice and don’t wear shoes that require time and effort to get on and off (e.g., boots that don’t have a zipper and shoes with complicated straps).
If a plane is even the slightest bit warm (which they often are) and you’re wearing multiple layers with no space to remove them and nowhere to put them once you do, you have a problem. The smart alternative is a thin-yet-warm base layer and one piece of outerwear that can be removed with ease.