The Art of Travelling – What to Wear on a Plane

Travelling, to many, can seem a somewhat arduous task. The pain of setting your alarm at an ungodly hour just so you can make it to the airport on time and check in isn’t a feeling many of us look forward to. However, there’s a certain art to travelling; if you’re prepared and ready for any situation, then that 3am trip to Heathrow won’t seem quite so daunting.

What to Wear

Other than remembering your passport, perhaps one of the most important aspects when undertaking any trip is your choice of travel attire. The length of your flight and your destination will influence your outfit choice dramatically, so make sure that you take it all into consideration.

On short-haul flights, it’s best to keep it smart casual – you can still maintain your style standards without sacrificing comfort. Always check the weather of your destination for deciding on your ensemble; if it’s hot, opt for a nice pair of tailored shorts in a neutral colour as they will combine with almost anything you pack. Slip on a crisp shirt in a soft, lightweight material such as linen or cotton and you’ll be halfway done.

Incotex Slim-Fit Linen And Cotton-Blend Shorts in Sand, £190 >
ARKET Shirt 3 Oxford in White, £45 >

For cooler climates, smart jeans (slim-fitting, in a plain dark wash) or tailored chinos will work perfectly. The temptation for baggy jogging bottoms becomes far too apparent for airport style, particularly with the current athleisure movement, so don’t make that mistake when contemplating an outfit. Team your choice of trousers with a long-sleeved polo shirt or roll neck jumper in a seasonal colour such as burgundy, grey or green.

Acne Studios Blå Konst North mid-rise slim-leg jeans in Black, £170 >
Sunspel Fine Merino Wool Polo in Scots Green, £160 >

When it comes to accessories, keep it minimal – you don’t know what security will have you take off when you get to it, and you want the airport process to be as seamless as possible. A classic watch and a pair of high-quality sunglasses is all you need to set the right impression; leave superfluous jewellery and the like at home.

Tudor Black Bay Watch, £2,630 >
Oliver Peoples Gregory Peck Sun OV5217S Black / Tortoise, £224 >


Too many men make the mistake of wearing difficult-to-undo lace-up shoes at an airport, as they find themselves fumbling around at the security line and often succumb to just ripping them off in frustration (we’ve seen it happen).

Instead, opt for a pair of slip-on loafers or trainers and you’ll be able to glide through security with ease, slipping them back on and off quickly as you make your merry way to duty free.

Crockett & Jones Sydney Loafer in Black Calf, £415 >
Common Projects Suede Slip-On Sneakers in Black, £330 >

Hand Luggage

Hand luggage needn’t be cumbersome; a simple leather duffle bag or soft-sided briefcase is all that is required and will complement any outfit. Again, keep it neutral, loud colours or patterns restrict what it can be teamed with, and you want to be packing the bare minimum for any trip.

Carl Friedrik Palissy Briefcase in Brown, £395 >
Mulberry Medium Clipper Pebble-Grain Leather Holdall, £595 >

Grooming Tips

If you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight you’ll know only too well the perils of trying to keep your grooming and general well-being up-to-scratch. The false air that’s pumped into the cabin can dry out your skin, leaving it dehydrated and even cracked. Always bring a small hydrating moisturiser with you (travel and airline regulation size) to keep yourself topped up both during the flight and when you land.

Grown Alchemist Hydra-Repair Day Cream, £24 >
Malin+Goetz Essential Kit, £24 >

It’s also wise to pack a toothbrush and small travel toothpaste to use just before you land so at least your breath is nice and fresh, even if you aren’t. If you can spare the room in your hand luggage then a roll-on deodorant will go a long way to giving you piece of mind before you walk off the plane.

Marvis Travel Whitening Mint Toothpaste, £3.75 >
Malin+Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant, £12 >

Flight Etiquette

Probably the most important aspect of flying is manners and etiquette. We’ve all seen the videos on social media of unruly passengers or pictures of people sticking their feet in between the seats. Our number one rule: don’t be that guy.

We know how tired and cramped it can be in, what seems like, cattle class, but it’s no excuse for bad manners. Always be considerate of your fellow passengers and the cabin crew, and don’t take up more room than you’ve been allocated – it doesn’t prove how “alpha” you are if you manage to hog both armrests.

One last point, don’t drink too much. A glass of wine or beer 20,000 feet in the air is one of the joys of flying, but be aware that altitude significantly reduces your ability to deal with alcohol, so take it easy – you don’t want to be carted off by the police to cheering crowds at the other end.

But most of all, be prepared, enjoy yourself and kick-start your trip off in style and comfort. Safe travels, gentlemen.

Tom Courcey

Tom has a BA in Journalism and vast experience with key fashion trends, menswear shows and trend-related events from the different fashion weeks across the world. This alongside being the living embodiment of men's style.