Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was also a very stylish lady — however, when it came to dressing for flying, she always opted for very practical garb.
Checking out what people are wearing is pretty much my favourite sport at the airport — even ahead of raiding duty free and enjoying a celebratory holiday beverage — mainly because I love guessing where people have come from or where they are going to. Sometimes though I am astounding by what people choose to wear to fly. I just can’t get my head around why anyone would get on a plane in stilettos!
With that in mind, what is the ideal in-flight outfit exactly? I’m currently sitting in the KLM Crown Lounge in Schiphol Airport ahead of my first long-haul flight of the year, so this is very much playing on my mind right now. My basic mantra is to make sure clothing is stylish, soft, silky and stretchy.
I like to be super comfy when I am flying, but I also like to feel as clean and not gross as possible. When I returned from Rwanda last year I went straight from interviewing the president at his residence to the airport, and there was no way I was going to endure the flight back to the UK — with a long layover in Ethiopia — in my tight pencil skirt and shirt. So I did the sensible thing and got changed in the loos at the airport.
I changed into my favourite grey, floral-print flying trousers from Zara (which I’m also wearing today). They are loose and silky with elasticated waistband, so they feel like pyjamas, but they are still classy and perfectly respectable. If you don’t have any similar, I wholeheartedly investing in some of these beauties. Zara has two very similar pairs in at the moment.
I also just spotted these, which would make a great alternative at £29.99. I think I will grab a pair for this summer.
J. Crew describes this as the ultimate aeroplane layer (£90), and they are totally right. Merino is a dream material — it feels like cashmere on your skin, it insulates really well and also absorbs moisture so well that it is frequently used in activewear base layers. This makes it ideal for all the changing temperatures you’ll experience as you’re travelling.
It’s also got a hood for snuggling up in when you want to get some shut-eye. For the same reason, I find a scarf is always really useful — it can sometimes get real chilly on planes. Team this this hoodie with a scarf and a soft vest or T-Shirt and you’ll be super comfy!
When it comes to shoes, I would never wear heels on a flight. I usually take my shoes off on the plane anyway and slip into these cashmere bed socks from the White Company (£32) that I’ve raved about before.
Still, there’s often a lot of walking to do in airports and travel days can be looooong, so give your feet a treat and wear something comfy.
You might think I’m mad, but I love these jelly shoes from Office, a bargain at £16. I bought a pair when I was 19 — they only cost a tenner then — and I finally had to throw them away last year because they were falling apart. They are the comfiest shoes I have ever owned though. They travelled four continents with me and I even wore them to take my driving test (and yes, I did pass).
A more sophisticated option would be these gorgeous pastel-hued Sperry Top-siders for J. Crew at £98.
When it comes to travel accessories, there is nothing I want more at the moment than the Marylebone Tech from Aspinal. At £895, it’s obviously not cheap, but I love that it comes with a built-in juice pack for charging your iPhone and iPad on the go. It’s the it bag (or IT bag) for geeks like myself.
For long-haul flights, you’ll also need a good comfy pair of headphones, but there’s no reason these can’t be stylish too. I’m currently using these Skullcandy Knockout headphones, which I wear comfortably all day at work. I love the floral design and the way they fold up neatly so you can stow them away easily. And, most importantly, the sound quality is great.
I have to run now and catch my flight to Montreal, but let me know what your ideal in-flight ensemble is and be sure to keep an eye on the blog this week for lots of posts from Canada!