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What Not To Wear….On A Plane

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

When you’re sitting for hours in a metal tube flying 35,000 feet in the air, comfort trumps style and so rules of in-flight fashion are different from those on the ground. Wear an outfit that keeps you comfortable and relaxed, and you’ll likely appear more chic than the traveler struggling with heavy bags in four-inch stilettos or the one sweating in too-tight synthetic fabrics. To look and feel your best while jet setting, avoid the following in-flight fashion faux pas.

Uncomfortable or Complicated Shoes

This one seems obvious but if you’ve been in an airport recently, it isn’t. A good pair of comfortable shoes will make it easier for you to hoof it around the airport and sprint to the gate if you need to make a connection. Slip on shoes like sandals or crocs make going through the security checkpoint much less cumbersome, but if you must wear a more sturdy pair, be selective. Boots with a myriad of straps and laces are a fashionista no-no.  And what a nightmare for an in-a-rush business traveler who has to stand behind you while you undo it all.

Fabrics That Don’t Breathe

Shun any fabrics that lack breathability, such as nylon or leatherette. Add your rubber rain coat or waterproof jacket to this list. Less breathable fabrics hold sweat on the skin when it’s hot as well as prevent air circulation. You won’t feel very fashionable sweating in too-tight, synthetic clothes as your plane sits delayed on the runway for 2 hours.

To find specially made-for-flight breathable clothes check out www.magellans.com

Tight Clothing

Have you heard of deep vein thrombosis? This condition occurs when dangerous blood clots form in veins and can lead to a pulmonary embolism. Sitting for long periods of time and wearing constrictive clothing can increase the risk of acquiring deep vein thrombosis.  Clothing that is too tight might restrict blood flow through veins, so by wearing breatheable and loose fitting clothing you can reduce the likelihood of DVT.

Complicated Clothing

Aircraft lavatories are tiny compartments, about the size of a small closet or a very large Manhattan apartment. So maneuvering in and out of your pants can be, well, tricky. Lest you drop your wallet in the toilet or fall and smash through the bathroom door, wear something that isn’t likely to cause difficulties in the plane bathroom. Avoid bodysuits or complicated wrap shirts or dresses, as well as long pants or skirts that may graze the unsanitary (and often disturbingly wet) lavatory ground.

Contact Lenses

According to Frommer’s, “The air in plane cabins is so dry (usually 10 percent to 20 percent humidity, sometimes as little as 1 percent, compared to the Sahara desert’s 20 percent to 25 percent humidity) that your health is challenged every time you fly.” Contacts can become uncomfortable to wear if your eyes dry out in the arid cabin, so either avoid them altogether or bring a pair of glasses to change into.


Avoid this one for the good of your fellow passengers. Strong-smelling perfumes, colognes, body sprays, and so on shouldn’t be worn in flight. Some passengers may find your scent offensive; others might suffer allergic reactions to synthetic fragrances. If you really must smell of the finest department-store brands upon arrival in your destination, pack a sample size and apply it once you land.

Thin, Warm-Weather Fabrics

The key here is layers. It’s fine to wear lightweight clothing on a plane. It may even be a smart strategy if you’re flying to or from a sweltering climate. But planes are often very cold—and blankets aren’t exactly freely distributed on many flights these days. Getting warm? Remove a few layers, bundle them, and then use them as a pillow.
Bonus: The more layers you can pile on your body, the less clothes you need to pack in your suitcase.

Offensive or Inappropriate Clothing

Carriers typically leave it up to flight attendants to judge whether passengers’ garb is inappropriate for wear in the air. So how do you know if your outfit is appropriate? Learn from the past: Passengers have been removed from planes for wearing everything from low-cut dresses to baggy pants to t-shirts laden with expletives…even political messages. If you can’t wear it to a Simchat Torah celebration, or dinner at your significant other’s parent’s house, you probably shouldn’t wear it on a flight.

Whatever you choose to do when flying, the simplest rule of thumb is to KISS it. (Keep…It….Simple, Stupid)