The Perfect Travel Outfit: What to Wear on a Plane

What to Wear on a Plane: tank top, drapey cardigan, jeans and ballet flats

I’ve done quite a bit of traveling, and in my opinion, this is the perfect travel outfit. I used to stress over what to wear on a plane, but once I got my formula down, it’s easy to plan my travel outfits. They are usually some variation of this.

This travel outfit works at almost any time of year except maybe in the dead of winter. (If it’s wintertime here, and I’m traveling to a warm weather destination, I still wear something like this and put my big puffer coat on top for the ride to the airport, but I usually leave it in my car so I don’t have to schlep it. If I am going somewhere cold, I stuff it into the overhead storage compartment, so I like to wear an older coat that isn’t too precious to me.)

Even in the summertime it can get cold on the plane, so it’s nice to have a jacket or sweater of some sort. Sometimes I wear a jean jacket, and once this year I wore my hooded leather jacket, but I actually prefer a knit of some sort because it’s more cozy than a structured jacket.

The Perfect Travel Outfit: tank top, drapey cardigan, jeans and ballet flats

I absolutely adore this Splendid Draped Waffle-Knit Thermal Hoodie. I’ve been wearing it every chance I get, and I like it so much that I just ordered it in the Swan color because it isn’t as heavy a look for spring and summer. It layers nicely over a t-shirt or tank top.

What to Wear on a Plane: Splendid Thermal Hoodie over a tank top with jeans and ballet flats

I wore this on the plane to and from California last week, and it was perfect for airplane travel. The sleeves are super long so you can pull them down over your hands when you’re chilly, but you can also push them up to 3/4 length if you get warm.

The material is a lightweight thermal cotton knit so it’s a great layering piece, and the draped handkerchief hem is on trend. It’s simply perfection.

What to Wear on a Plane

I always make sure to wear a base layer than can stand alone because they make you take your cardigan off when you go through security.

I’ve worn skimpier tank tops before, and I felt vulnerable when I had to shed my top layer and then stand in that awful cage with my hands over my head, so now I try to wear a t-shirt or a more substantial tank top.

This mixed media tank top from LOFT is the perfect base layer for a travel outfit.

This tank is super cute, and I know I’ll be wearing it on its own lot this summer. I love the way it looks more like a dressy blouse in front, but the back is a comfy t-shirt material that stretches and doesn’t make you sweat like some polyester blouses do. It looks nice tucked in the front or left out.

When I'm traveling, I always start with a tank top, ballet flats, and my most comfortable jeans.

Finally, I like to wear comfortable jeans and ballet flats. I always choose jeans because to me, they are the most comfortable thing I own next to pajamas, plus they keep you warm on the plane.

It’s important not to wear anything too tight, though, because you do tend to swell at higher altitudes. Most of my jeans have a fair amount of stretch, and I’ve never had any trouble even on longer flights. If you’re concerned, wear a high quality legging.

Ballet flats are the easiest thing to slip on and off when you go through security. That said, it can make sense to wear your biggest, heaviest shoes on the plane to save space in your luggage, so this part is up to you. I hate futzing with laces or buckles in the security line so I try to wear something I can slip on and off easily. In the winter, I may wear boots, but they usually unzip easily enough.

So there you have it — the perfect travel outfit, if you ask me! I also have some tips for packing light that a friend gave me. I asked her if I could publish them, and she agreed, so stay tuned for that post coming soon!!

What to Wear on a Plane: tank top, drapey cardigan, jeans and ballet flats. Also pictured: Delsey 24" Spinner

thermal hoodie // tank top // legging jeans // leopard flats
Delsey Chatelet Spinner // similar laptop bag // pendant necklace

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14 Responses

  1. Ever since I signed up for your emails I no.longer receive Cindy’s. I keep re-signing up for hers but still not getting them. Any ideas? Thanks.

    1. Hey Heather, I have no idea. My emails and Cyndi’s are completely unrelated. 🙂 You may want to check your spam folder, and if you don’t find them there, ask Cyndi to make sure you are subscribed to hers.

  2. You certainly hit all the points with this outfit!! I definitely like a knit cardigan better because I can drape it over me like a blanket on longer trips!
    I also usually add a big scarf too, just because I’m always very cold—then I can use it as a bathing suit cover up on vaca!!
    I agree with you on wearing easy to take off shoes for going through security. Of course, that’s because I always check my bag so it’s not an issue with trying to wear the biggest/heaviest shoes!
    And the tote you have it also a must have—I need one big enough to fit my purse along with my ipad and magazines!!

  3. Super cute travel outfit. Airports and planes seem to always be so cold so the cardigan you’re wearing looks perfect. For size reference, what size are you wearing? I looked at the website and it looks like there’s a draped cardigan that looks just as nice, but no hoodie? I agree with you on the shoe part, plus it seems like I am always rushing to get either to the gate or something so comfortable shoes are a must for me!

      1. Love the hoodie and was going to ask what size you were wearing also. I’m 5’3″ and was wondering if I should go small or medium, your thoughts?

  4. The hoodie is a must! I always put the hood “up” on the seat back to lean my head on. Great outfit! Looking forward to your getaway pics!

  5. Spring to fall I like traveling in a tank maxi dress with a jacket or a sweater over it. I still feel “put together” after a long day of travel when I reach my destination, but I’ve been comfy all day. The long dress is nice because there’s no pinchy waistband and your legs are completely covered in the plane seat. In the winter, I go with a sweater dress, tights and tall boots that are easy to slip out of. These are perfect combos if you’re traveling for work.

  6. I have that Splendid cardigan in an oatmeal color (not sure what the official color is)… I bought it when I was pregnant with T two years ago and I wear it all of the time! It was great when I was nursing to act as a cover too. 🙂 Hopefully you’ll get a lot of use out of yours too!

  7. I ordered the hoodie after seeing it on your Mothers Day post and wore it today for the first time. Love it! I’m 5’2″ and I got the medium. It’s a little long but I think the small sleeves would be too tight. Thanks for the recommendation!:)

  8. Oh my, I ordered this hoodie in the Swan color last week when they went on sale on the Splendid website and just received it today. You are right, it is perfection. I love it and never want to take it off. Thank you for the recommendation. Now to resist the Emma legging jeans I have in my shopping cart. I don’t need any more jeans!!!

    1. Isn’t it fantastic? I am so glad you love it! As for the jeans, not to be an enabler, but… when I got my Emmas, I said the same thing (lol) but they were on a great sale so I grabbed them, and now I wear them more than any other. So…. lol. You know what you need or not, but they really are a great versatile jean. And I also love that I don’t have to hem them. I always end up hemming my Florence a bit.

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