Collectively as a team of editors, we’ve traveled a ton since the start of 2018. Some of us even hop on more than 30 flights in the span of a year, and others have traveled to over 30 countries. All these in-flight hours have amounted to our team perfecting the art of packing (hello, ever heard of the 54321 trick for packing light?) and the art of the airport outfit—trust us, airport style is a thing. But we couldn’t have gained all our expertise without first practicing some good old trial and error. Speaking of error, don’t forget to check out the three items that travelers pack but never wear. Take it from us, there is a definitive list of items we’ve deemed as the worst airport clothing.
As much as we would love to file those cringe-worthy memories somewhere far, far away, we’re instead sharing our biggest airport outfit offenses. Seriously, learn from our mistakes. Ranking high up on the list—and something all of us have regretfully done at some point—is wearing 100% cotton “rigid” jeans when flying. If you’ve ever sat squished into a middle seat on a long flight, you can imagine the level of discomfort that an unforgiving pair of jeans provides.
Ahead read up on our major airport outfit offenses so you don’t make the same mistakes we once did.
“Without a doubt, wearing high-rise 100% cotton jeans is my biggest airport mistake, and I’m sad to admit that I’ve made it more than once. But I’ve finally learned my lesson and now refuse to wear anything but stretchy jeans when I fly.”
“Leggings with a lot of seams: This might sound oddly specific, but those trendy leggings with seams and panels all over them can really start to dig into you after a couple hours in the air, and it is not comfortable. Instead, wear simple leggings or track pants.”
“I hate hate hate how cold it gets on airplanes, and it seems like no matter how hard I try to bring a jacket warm enough, it doesn’t ever cut it. Now I wear a sweatshirt on the plane (even in the middle of summer) and carry on a leather jacket too because inevitably I’ll freeze as soon as the AC kicks in.”
“Walking through airport security with bare feet is a hard no. Even if I’m wearing ballet flats or some other sockless pair of shoes, I’ll stash a pair of socks in my tote to put on through security. Bombas have a lovely little mini cushion at the heel so they never slip down and help prevent blisters. Plus they’re a tad cozier than your average pair.”
“I thought that my pair of high-top Vans would make for a perfect pair of airport shoes—man, was I wrong. The thin laces and the high-top style make them one of the more difficult sneakers I own to take on and off. Not only did I hold up the line going through the TSA checkpoint, but I was also running late to my flight tying them up afterward. I’ve learned my lesson and will always fly in slip-on sneakers wherever possible.”
“One time I wore my tightest vintage jeans on a flight from NYC to L.A. and I was struggling the entire time. The high waistband was digging into my stomach, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I was basically miserable the entire flight. Sometimes I feel weird wearing leggings—less pulled together, I don’t know—so I now opt for a more casual ‘fit that has some give.”
“I mistakingly wore a T-shirt and shorts on the plane coming back from Florida once—it was so tempting to stay in them because of the humidity. However, I hate having no barrier between me and the dirty airplane seat! I always remember to bring a hoodie so I can raise the hood and protect my hair from the seat—classic germaphobe move.”
“Shoes with an open toe are an absolute no for me—I get too cold if I’m not wearing sneakers or ankle boots.”
“Probably traveling in jeans. It’s a decision I immediately regretted and a mistake I have not made in a long time. Here’s my go-to airport look right now.”
And now, check out “I have traveled to over 30 countries, and this is what I always pack.”
This post ran on an earlier date and has since been refreshed.