What to Wear on an Airplane During the Holiday Rush

Just because you're being treated like human cattle doesn't mean you have to look like it.
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Chantal Fernandez
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Just because you're being treated like human cattle doesn't mean you have to look like it.
Logistical efficiency in action at Heathrow Airport in December 2006. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Logistical efficiency in action at Heathrow Airport in December 2006. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Traveling via any mode of transportation is often mind-numbingly painful during the holidays — but airports are usually the biggest clusterf*cks of all due to weather delays, increased security and people who still don't realize you can't bring water bottles through security. (Unless the water is frozen — fun fact!) But just because you'll be spending four to six hours nestled inside an older man's armpit because you got stuck with a middle seat, doesn't mean you need to look as bad as you feel. We've got chic, sleek and comfy options to suit a range of flying styles. Going straight to a conservative family gathering? We got you. Need to sprint to catch your connection? We got you, too. 

See below for our take on what to wear in the air this holiday season — mental sanity not included.

Athleisure

1 — Proenza Schouler turtleneck sweater, $495, available at Opening Ceremony; 2— 3.1 Phillip Lim bucket Bag, $925, available at Nordstrom; 3 — Outdoor Voices leggings, $95, available at Outdoor Voices; 4 — Puma by Rihanna creepers, $120, available at Opening Ceremony. 

1 — Proenza Schouler turtleneck sweater, $495, available at Opening Ceremony; 2— 3.1 Phillip Lim bucket Bag, $925, available at Nordstrom; 3 — Outdoor Voices leggings, $95, available at Outdoor Voices; 4 — Puma by Rihanna creepers, $120, available at Opening Ceremony

For those red eyes and late-night flights, we recommend the kind of easy and stretchy outfit one might wear after the gym. Keep from looking too sporty with a luxurious knit, a roomy bag and a unified color scheme. 

Long Layers 

1 — J.Crew leather leggings, $495, available at J.Crew; 2 — Steven Alan blazer, $465, available at Steven Alan; 3 — Atea Oceanie shirt, $431, available at Atea Oceanie; 4 — Kenneth Cole Kalvin high-top slip on, $130, available at Kenneth Cole; 5 — Aritzia blanket scarf in balsamine, $85, available at Aritzia.

1 — J.Crew leather leggings, $495, available at J.Crew; 2 — Steven Alan blazer, $465, available at Steven Alan; 3 — Atea Oceanie shirt, $431, available at Atea Oceanie; 4 — Kenneth Cole Kalvin high-top slip on, $130, available at Kenneth Cole; 5 — Aritzia blanket scarf in balsamine, $85, available at Aritzia.

This leather legging look is a sophisticated take on Justin Bieber's signature style (I know that sounds unappealing, but stay with me). Stretchy but fitted leather pants are a smart alternative to jeans, especially when paired with a long jacket over a long, crisp shirt. Top it off with a practical scarf and high tops for taking long walks while wondering where your connecting flight is now. 

Business-Family Casual

1 — Aritzia Louise coat, $595, available at Aritzia; 2 — Mother of Pearl blouse, $525, available at Ssense; 3 — Sandro velvet trousers, now $287, available at Sandro; 4 — Chloé loafers, $495, available at Shoescribe. 

1 — Aritzia Louise coat, $595, available at Aritzia; 2 — Mother of Pearl blouse, $525, available at Ssense; 3 — Sandro velvet trousers, now $287, available at Sandro; 4 — Chloé loafers, $495, available at Shoescribe

If you have one of those families that requires office attire at gatherings, try soft velvet trousers in a bright print and a pussy bow blouse. A coat with an attached scarf makes midair catnaps more comfortable, and scalloped flats are easy to slip off before security, and guaranteed to win Grandma's approval.