Why You Should Dress up To Fly | Travel in Style

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This past weekend, I traveled from Miami to Amsterdam. While standing in the TSA security line, I curiously started to wonder about my fellow travelers. Who they may be, or where in the world they may be traveling to.

If I were to make my assumptions based on how they were dressed, I might assume everyone in line was headed to do interval runs in the terminal, or perhaps a 5k marathon directly upon reaching their destination. 

With the exception of a senior gentleman and his wife, every single person was dressed in joggers, yoga pants, hoodies, and running shoes. 

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Quite a few people had on flip flops. Flip flops! Now granted, we’re at Miami International Airport, but we’re miles away from any beach, and all headed to board a freezing cold airplane. Maybe these folks were en route to board a seaplane to the Bahamas where they’d deplane onto a white sand beach. Any other reason folks would wear cut off shorts and flip flops, or proper workout attire to travel leaves me perplexed and a little disheartened.


As much as I travel, I still feel a sense of civic duty to dress for the plane. Which isn’t to say I wear pencil skirts and high heels. But neat, chic, comfortable, and casual (but not too casual) seems like such a no-brainer. No?

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Yes, we all want to be comfortable en route to our destination. But you can be comfortable and cozy for the longest of flights and still look pulled together. And workout clothes, shorts, flip flops is just not the look. And here’s my favorite reason why…


Most will agree that how we dress, is a direct representation of ourselves. But when traveling, you’re not only representing when yourself, you’re also an ambassador for your country. 

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When you arrive at your destination or walk up to the immigration officer in Paris, or Rome, New York, or Mykonos, or anywhere… we have to be accountable for what our personal style says about us as individuals, but also as Americans (or Canadians, or Brits). Don’t be that sloppy American, Canadian, Brit, or anything else for that matter.

A rule of thumb: Don’t wear anything you would feel embarrassed to be wearing if you ran into your boss or your ex. Your in-flight lasagna may look sloppy, but that doesn’t mean you should, too.

Related: 25+ Casual Airport Travel Outfit Ideas for Your Next Trip

  • Ama says:

    Hi Jenaae! This is post is actually timed perfectly for me. Tomorrow I’m going on a flight to LA and I couldn’t agree more! Of course, it is important to remain comfortable, especially when you’re on a long flight, but you can also look good while doing it as well!

  • Anna Spasova says:

    Comfort is one thing, safety is much more important- in case of emergency, flip flops are your biggest enemy, so is polyester fabrics ( most of the joggers are pure synthetics. )What if there are broken glasses on the floor, or fire, all this polyester clothes will just melt onto your skin, or ruining down the alley in flip flops. People never think of that…

  • Pat says:

    As a flight attendant, I couldn’t agree more! Passengers are way more likely to get a random upgrade if they aren’t wearing yoga pants!

  • Barbara says:

    Thank you! You are spot-on! When travelling, most people dress like they just rolled out of bed! Respect yourself and others will respect you as well.

  • Alyssa Hourglass says:

    Yes! I completely agree! The times I’ve been upgraded have always been when I’ve leveled up my clothing. Belk, Macy’s, TJ MAXX & Ross, have t brands at amazingly low prices. Incidentally, once as a student at the time, and returning from Spring Break, (not well dressed that time), I received an upgrade for allowing a Marine in uniform to get my spot, unbeknownst to me at the time, the woman who let us switch times, had a husband in the Marines! Obviously my upgrade was awesome and then some. Clothing matters, and never forget, kindness counts!
    PS: I love your content! 💖

  • Tori says:

    If I would have read this months ago. I would have disagreed. But I’m on a new journey in my life. I loved this article. My family and I are traveling next month. This inspires me to look put together and not a hot mess mama lol

  • Ms.x says:

    I think your outfit is not practical for traveling commercial coach. Light colors are the absolutely worst !!

  • Mel says:

    I could use your help dressing well. Busy mom, but want to look better.

  • christine says:

    lololol the last picture is hilarious

  • Sadie says:

    Love this and I love looking reasonably put together when traveling. One middle ground that I swear by, especially when on a long haul overnight flight, is to pack a simple cute outfit in my carry-on for the day we arrive. I often change in the airport right after arriving so I feel cute while going about my day and also comfortable sleeping in the sardine can economy seats.

  • Mary Ray says:

    I 1000% agree with you! Something about the way I grew up has me always planning my plane attire to be elegant AND comfortable. I am 70 years old and took my first flight when I was 2 months old. I have been flying ever since and have never gotten tired of traveling and learning about new cultures. My father was a Delta Pioneer which means he joined the airline soon after his marine corps pilot days were over after WW2. Back in the old days, employees were required to wear their “Sunday best” to fly. I even remember wearing my Easter dress complete with bonnet and little white gloves when we flew to NYC one time. My parents taught us that it was a privilege to be able to fly. It was a matter of respect for yourself and your employer to always look your best and to behave in a way that did not bring any negativity to the airline. To this day I always try to look as put together as I can. It distresses me to see how people dress and act on airplanes. I know it’s a different world out there now, but I actually feel more comfortable getting a little dressed up, even for extended overseas flights. I also believe as you do that we are ambassadors/ representatives of our country. So many Europeans think that all Americans are rude and poorly dressed. My husband and I are flying to Lisbon soon to take a cruise for our50th anniversary, and, I’ll be honest here……I’m a little afraid of having a disruptive passenger aboard. I can’t imagine a plane turning around to deplane a disruptive passenger. Some people feel so “entitled” that they can behave any way they wish wherever they are, and, that they’re supposed to get their way even at the expense of hundreds of people on a plane. It’s really bizarre, and, I just don’t get it. Also, out of respect to the country I’m traveling to, I always make it a point to learn key phrases in the language of whatever country I’m visiting. Even if I can’t pronounce something right, people always appreciate your efforts and therefore become more helpful. It’s a win win situation for everyone. Thank you for your article!

  • Irene Madrid says:

    I travel First Class and it is very important to dress properly. It is called respect…and I have told my grands to dress better as well. I also bring treats for the Crew…lollipops are a hit…individually wrapped.

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