Airport Style: Easy, Simple, Never Sloppy – Ever

If there’s one thing we can’t stand, it’s the frequency with which we see travelers arriving at the airport in their pajamas.

Ok, they might not actually be their pjs, but arriving to the airport in workout gear and sweats is tantamount to showing up at a restaurant in your bathrobe. It’s a little too casual for our liking.

Of course, we believe comfort is always a priority, but just because you think you’ll be taking a nap in public doesn’t mean you should be dressed for one. We dress for comfort and style every day – and that’s especially true for travel days. After all, we have a few jet setters over on the Handled team, so we’ve developed a few tried and true travel style rules that guarantee a comfy, cozy trip whilst keeping you “upgrade” ready.

Remember, you won’t just be sitting for the duration of your trip. You’ll also be walking, potentially running (thanks so ever tightening connections and gate changes – we’re looking at you, O’Hare), going through security, and facing customs agents. You’ll be seeing people – strangers – all the way through this process and who knows whom you might meet? Who could be making a decision on your over-the-limit receipts? Or who could be picking you up?  

There are the practical considerations for your choice of outfit:

  • You need to be able to access documents quickly,
  • You should be able to remove/put on your clothing and shoes in the security line with as little personal compromise or time wasted as possible,
  • You must be able to sit comfortably for long periods of time,
  • You must be prepared to accidentally bump into a colleague, a client, a celebrity, a long-lost lover, AKA your destiny….

Travel might be lengthy and tiring, but as you can see – looking like you rolled out of bed or the gym because it’s “comfortable” just won’t cut it. Instead, your outfit should – and can – be a practical and well thought out ensemble that actually helps make your day infinitely smoother, more enjoyable – and brings back a little something special to your air travel adventure!

Keeping airport outfits as unfussy and comfortable as they are fashionable is actually fairly simple, as long as you keep the following in mind:

  1. Choose Neutrals
  2. Plan for Cabin and Destination Temperatures
  3. Dress simply
  4. Accessorize for impact

Choose Neutrals

Image credit @maryleest

Travel dressing in general is easiest when the base is comprised of neutrals. Everything works together creating a near infinite number of combinations and permutations that can take you from meetings to dinner to sight seeing with minimal stress or effort.

That said, and although we do love it, black is not the only option. A combination of black and camel, navy and cream, navy and camel, or charcoal and black, navy and charcoal, or camel and cream are all beautiful combinations that – with or without a pop of colour – can create a look that goes from elegant and stately to edgy and seductive depending on your personal style.

We love this cool combination on Mary Leest: black, tan, and cream that come together to create the most comfortable yet fashion forward look for travel. Not only that but she matches her dreamy luggage too! Nobody’s getting lost in the airport with this combo.

Plan for Cabin and Destination Temperatures

Image credit @blaireadiebee

This might sound tricky, but it’s easier than you think.

In truth all you need to work with here are lightweight layers and warm textures. We adore lightweight breathable knits for tops and dresses, over which we add a packable jacket and/or a gauzy but cozy cashmere wrap. 

The bright and light neutrals Blair Eadie sports are chic and put together while bringing a bit of sport to her customarily ladylike aesthetic. Her accessories are a fabulous take – her hat and sunnies will be perfect upon arrival at a warm locale, perfect complements to her roomie structured woven bag, perched around her rollerboard.

Dress Simply

Image credit @angelalanter

There’s nothing worse than realizing the limitations of your jumpsuit when the security wand beeps, or being unable to use a short or faux pocket when all you desperately need is somewhere to put your passport, boarding pass, and phone for the next minute before you need it again. Or – and this is the worst – floundering with shoe laces, or other closures on your shoes when all you need to do is Get. Out. Of. The. Way.  

Our solution? Dress simply.

Choose comfortable separates that have some amount of give or stretch to the fabric. Ensure your bottoms have a comfortable waistband that doesn’t require a belt (buckle = more time in security and discomfort when it starts jamming into your middle along with the seat belt).  Choose slip on shoes or boots with an easy zipper. Opt for your sleekest but least fussy wrap or jacket – one that will work in with the rest of what you packed.

From one climate to another, a light long-sleeve cotton top is paired with a cozy, loopy mauve cardigan that will be a lifesaver in-flight. Slip those boots off and on in security and you’re good to go.

Accessorize for Impact

Image credit @angelalanter

This isn’t the time for all of your metal jewelry pieces – after all, you’ll definitely be asked to remove them in security. What a nightmare! Pack those, but don’t wear them on your travel days.

What we mean here is, neutral though your outfit may be, accessorizing with an accent colour or a splash of pattern on a key piece in your outfit (your jacket or top is ideal) is a great way to add some personality into look. Add a crossbody bag that can stowe and access your documents and a pen easily and safely without looking like an uber-tourist. Hate crossbody bags? Select a shoulder bag that can be hung onto the handle of your rollerboard while you make your way through the terminals.

A colourful way to fly! Her colourful plaid topper draws out the blue of her denim, and brightens her camel shoes and boots. Comfortable and casual, she can move quickly through any tight transfer with this outfit!


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