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Packing List: The 3 Essential Travel Outfits for Long Flights

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

The Strategy: Comfy-Clean Layers with Pockets

If you take one thing away from this blog, take this: whatever your style, when you are traveling prioritize wearing comfy-clean layers with pockets. Whatever I wear to the airport, on the plane, and out of the airport each layer is comfy-clean and has pockets. The details of my capsule travel wardrobe is in this blog. Each piece serves a purpose during the 3 stages of Travel: Departure, In-Flight, Arrival:

  1. Departure Fit - Efficient and Layered

  2. In-Flight Fit - Cozy and Calm

  3. Arrival Fit - Clean and Presentable

So what do I actually wear for a long flight? As a lesbian artist with an Aquarius Venus and a penchant for wearing all black with a pop of magenta, my style may not be for everyone, but my advice is the same: "dress like you're going to meet the in-laws for dinner but you have to run to get there."

Dress like you're going to meet your in-laws for dinner but you have to run to get there.

Don't show up in your pajamas or a sweater with holes in it. Also, don't be so dressed up you can't walk the distance to the gate without getting blisters. (see the regrettable outfit section for don'ts). Wear comfy-clean layers with pockets.

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Here's the master list of the capsule wardrobe, I use for any long flight. Each piece has a purpose for the 3 phases of flying: departure, in-flight, and arrival. For explanations and when to wear each piece, see the sections below. I divided everything up by the timing of each outfit. I chose items that I actually wear that also have good reviews, a variety of colors and sizes. I hope this list gives you options and helps you organize your own essential outfits for your next long flight.

The Capsule Wardrobe Master List

  1. Soft bra from Warner

  2. Long Thick Seamless Toe Winter Socks

  3. Long Thin Dress Socks from Hugh Ugoli

  4. Comfy Seamless Breathable Undies from Wealurre

  5. Compression socks from Blueenjoy

  6. Basic tank from Gembera

  7. T-shirt from Urban Coco

  8. Oversized black hoodiefrom Carhartt

  9. Long Shacket from Levi's

  10. Blazer

  11. Cardigan

  12. Button-down

  13. Cargo Joggers from MoFiz (summer)

  14. Black Cargo Flair Winter Leggings

  15. Fleece Lined, Water Resistant Winter Tights with 4 Pockets from Baleaf

  16. Jeans 501 Original Fit from Levis

  17. Dress with pockets from Helyo

  18. Skirt with pockets from Bella Poque

  19. Running Shoes from Asics

  20. Crocs Clogs Slippers from Crocs

  21. Penny Loafers from Clarks

  22. Pashmina Scarf from Ohayomi

  23. Watch from Fossil

  24. Hat from Carhartt

  25. Sleep Mask from MZOO

  26. Neck Pillow from MLVOC

Below you'll find every single thought I had in choosing each piece for this travel wardrobe.

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1. Departure Outfit
family running through the airport
when they change the gate

5 Factors to keep in mind when choosing your departure outfit

The Departure Outfit is the first of three essential outfits for any long flight. Select your Departure Outfit based on the first activities you will be doing on the day of departure.

  1. Your Luggage is heavy. You need to be able to move it in your outfit. Wear comfortable clothes that move.

  2. The Security checkpoints are serious. You should not look sloppy. You need to look presentable and clean. If your outfit has pockets. you can easily juggle your passport, tickets, and phone as you go through security.

  3. The TSA screening is right after the security checkpoint. This is where you remove your shoes, outer layers, laptops, and your 3:11 liquids bag (see my blog for detailed list), for scanning. Every layer must be easy to remove.

  4. The Departure Gate is far away. Your shoes must be supportive and comfortable enough to traverse the airport.

  5. The temperature of the airport and the plane is either too warm or too cold. Anything you wear must be layered and versatile.

The Departure Outfit Layers

Undergarments | Departure Outfit

  • Soft bra from Warner - no underwire bras. (save the underwire for the arrival outfit)

    • TSA stops us for the dumbest things, and this was one I encountered a couple years ago.

    • Also, long flights are not the best time for uncomfortable bras.

  • Long Thick Seamless Toe Winter Socks from Hugh Ugoli - These are seamless toe winter socks for boots (did you hear that? SEAMLESS TOE). If your socks are long, they won't slip into your shoe or slip off when you are going through security. If your socks are thick, you are less likely to get blisters walking across the airport. Do not wear your compression socks yet (see in-flight socks).

  • Long Thin Dress Socks from Hugh Ugoli - These are also great if the weather is warmer. (seamless toe)

  • Comfy Seamless Breathable Undies from Wealurre - Seamless underwear, I'm a big fan of no seams. Just don't wear uncomfortable underwear to the airport.

Tops & Bottoms | Departure Outfit

  • Cargo Joggers from MoFiz- (lighter weight for summer) These are a great option for departure and in-flight. And if they are stylish enough as outerwear you can wear them at arrival too. These are great because of the pockets, having a thigh pocket in-flight is a game changer. (think quick access to hand sanitizer when they serve meals)

  • Black Cargo Flair Winter Leggings from Baleaf - These have 4 Pockets and a Loop for a carabiner (the lesbian in me screamed when I saw this) and they are fleece-lined. The flair leg makes it easier to adjust your compression socks on the flight.

  • Fleece Lined, Water Resistant Winter Tights with Pockets (leg and lower back) from Baleaf these are great if you're planning on wearing a skirt over or if you don't like a flair leg. There are fewer pockets but these are just as thick and cute. Also more c

  • T-shirt from Urban Coco - wear a plain t-shirt because it goes with everything and makes you more presentable.

  • Basic Tank from Gembera - this tank goes under everything. I also like the cut by itself in case it gets hot. If I'm sweating because the airport heater is on or I had to run across an entire airport, I want my first layer to be presentable & comfortable.

Outerwear | Departure Outfit

  • Oversized black hoodie from Carhartt - It's a nice hoodie, but it's also functional. I suggest getting men's because their hoods and pockets are bigger. Holds passport, phone, 3:1:1 liquids and tickets during security. And later on the flight the hood is really helpful if your seatmate is using the reading light and your noise canceling headphones fit in it. (see in-flight outfit)

  • Long Shacket from Levi's- I really like this plaid one cuz it's long, but overall I look for foldable and has pockets. I put this over the hoodie if it's cool enough. Folds up small enough in carry-on.

  • Running Shoes from Asics - Monochrome for presentability. I wear an all black pair everywhere, but they also have an all white option. Obviously, get what suits your style. These are clean, supportive, easy to remove, and cute. These will be packed in the carry-on, when you change into your in-flight outfit (replace with crocs or slippers), so make sure they fit.

Essential Accessories | Departure Outfit

  • Pashmina Scarf from Ohayomi - I rock this bright pink one, but they have a bunch of colors and it serves as a blanket on the flight and fits easily in the carry on.

  • Watch from Fossil - you don't want to be pulling out your phone every time you need to check the time.

  • Hat from Carhartt- I rock this matching pink beanie, but there are neutral colors too. Obviously this will keep your head warm, your hair under control, and it easily packs in the carryon.

2. In-Flight Outfit

5 Factors to keep in mind when choosing your In-Flight Outfit

Before I board the plane, I ready the items I want under the seat. While I'm at the gate, I pack away anything I won't need at my seat in the overhead suitcase. The only things that are under the seat are the items I need for arrival and at my seat. Once I'm on the plane, here's what I do:

  1. The first thing I do, when I sit down in my seat, is I sanitize everything I will touch with disinfecting wipes from Clorox. For my full toiletry packing list, including zero-waste options click here.

  2. Then, I put on my compression socks and change into my crocs (slipper clogs).

  3. Then, I pack my coat and old socks in the overhead or under the seat (you can also do this ahead of time at the gate).

  4. Finally, I take out my hand sanitizer from the 3:1:1 liquids bag and put it in my cargo pocket with the lotion and my earbuds. So, anytime there's a meal or I need to use the restroom, I"m ready.

  5. After the first meal, I take out the neck pillow, eye mask, and my big headphones (stay tuned for my tech list for long flights) to relax and sleep, until before the last meal about 1-2 hours before landing, when I change my clothes into the arrival outfit. I do this ritual for any flight longer than 5 hours.

Put On These for the Flight | In-Flight Outfit

  • Crocs Clogs Slippers from Crocs - these are perfect. They are comfy, and come in many colors. Trust me when I say you do not want to wear socks into the airplane bathroom.

  • Sleep Mask from MZOO - this eye mask was recommended to me from a friend years ago, and I love it. The padding around the eye is great. I can open my eyes and it is still dark. It has an adjustable strap, so I can adjust for my big head ;)

  • Neck Pillow from MLVOC - I love this one, but I don't break it out until after we eat at the seat.

Keep On for the Flight | In-Flight Outfit

Pack for the Flight | In-Flight Outfit

  • Socks - pack in the dirty clothes (you're wearing the compression socks)

  • Running shoes - pack and change into crocs or slippers on the flight

  • Shacket or Coat - pack for the flight, it's too bulky.

Quick Tip ​At your seat, change the time on your Watch to the new time zone.

3. Arrival Outfit

1 hour before arrival

If you wander out of the airport with your pajamas on and a neck pillow around your neck looking lost, it can increase your risk of getting scammed. The point is to try not to look like a tourist. For the most part, in my experience, people aren't going to scam you, but don't be too trusting. Appearing alert and walking confidently can deter ill-intentioned people from targeting you.

Appearing alert and walking confidently can deter ill-intentioned people from targeting you for a scam.

So what do I do to feel alert and confident? First and foremost, I change my undergarments including socks and shoes either on the flight or at the first restroom in the airport upon arrival. I re-arranging my hair and wash my face. I wear makeup, so I usually do my makeup at this time. I brush my teeth and reapply deodorant. See my comprehensive toiletry packing list here. Then, I put on my business trip arrival outfit, which makes me feel less like a tourist. I do all of this before I step out of the airport.

Outfit Change | Arrival Outfit

  • Blazer from SSOULM- This blazer is stretchy and easy to keep wrinkle-free. It's also light enough to layer. I used this when I traveled for work. This is a bright pink blazer comes in a ton of colors.

  • Cardigan from Grace Karin - this is a classic fitted black cardigan. It comes in many colors. Perfect layer to add to your arrival outfit.

  • Button Down shirt from EZEN - a classic button down, which I would pair with a pullover sweater or the cardigan.

  • Jeans 501 Original Fit from Levis - I like a darker wash, but these come in a ton of different hues and sizes. Jeans are not always appropriate for the weather, so I have other options listed.

    • Skirt with pockets from Bella Poque - I also like this skirt as an option for bottoms because it's long enough that I can swing into taxis or sit on low benches and there's not a show. It has POCKETS.

    • Dress with pockets from Helyo - this is one of my favorite swing dresses. It has POCKETS. and it's long enough and easy to pack. It switches the look up a lot and pairs with any or all of the tops above.

  • Penny Loafers from Clarks - these are stylish penny loafers that I swear by. I wore them teaching and to many sales meetings. They are comfortable but dressed up enough you look nice.

  • Long Shacket from Levi's - we were wearing this at departure and it goes with everything on this list.

The Regrettable Departure Outfit:

Everything you wear during this trip should be comfy-clean layered, and full of pockets. They also need to be able to fit in your carry on. Here is what I would avoid wearing for departure: (some of these could be saved for the arrival outfit or put in your checked bag)

Avoid wearing:

  • Big coats, wide brimmed hats, or anything that doesn't fit in your carryon. You will not want to carry it through the airport and the coat may not fit in the overhead.

  • boots, flipflops, heels or anything you can't walk long distances in.

  • Anything you're not comfortable bending over in, you will be picking up your own suitcase and removing your shoes in front of strangers. Probably save the short skirts, see-through leggings, and shorts for the arrival outfit.

  • constricting or easily wrinkled clothes. If it's hard to remove for security or changing in a bathroom is hard, you don't want to wear it for departure.

*save some of these items for Arrival (see below).

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As always, if there are anything I missed or that you enjoy wearing, please share them in the comments!

Thank you for swinging by, I hope this list was helpful!

sarà un'avventura | it will be an adventure


Sarah form Saravventura

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