I've done a lot of travelling this year. I've been to L.A. twice (with another trip coming up soon), New Orleans, Miami, Mexico and India. I've woken up to a 3 a.m. alarm to get to the airport on time, smiled innocently at border patrol and yes, I even lost my ID once (thankfully, the airline mailed it back to me). As one of JFK Airport's most frequent customers, there is one good thing I can report: I've found the best travel clothes to get through it all. I've even devised a checklist of what I consider when I'm getting dressed (since I tend to book early flights and have to get dressed before my brain is really working).
If I were to name an overarching theme when it comes to airport dressing, it's that comfort is key. Don't let any over-the-top airport outfits fool you—stilettos on a plane (or going through a metal detector) are never a good idea. Since the seat you're given is often up to luck, it's better to dress in a way that will ensure that even if you're in a non-reclining row or crammed in the middle seat, you'll feel some semblance of comfort. Find my rules below along with the pieces that will help you nail travel-dressing too.
1. Make Sure Your Shoes Are Slip-Ons
Getting Global Entry was one of the best decisions I've ever made (seriously, it's saved me some major airport headaches), but there are occasions when I still have to take off my jacket and shoes. I've come to rely on slip-on sneakers—Vans specifically—which are easy to deal with when I'm feeling flustered.
It always feels like the moment a flight takes off, I'm profusely sweating (only to doze off and wake up shivering an hour later). With all the changes in cabin temperature, I find it's better to be prepared, so I always make sure I have multiple layers to take on and off as needed.
Unless it's absolutely necessary to dress up, I always wear leggings to fly. Since seats tend to be so uncomfortable, I refuse to wear anything rigid or unforgiving. Instead, I opt for my softest, stretchiest leggings to make sure that even if I'm stuck in an exit row, I'm doing my best to fly comfortably.
The finishing touch to the ideal travel outfit is having the right accessories. Tall socks keep my feet warm and protected if I want to slip my shoes off (swollen feet are a real problem mid-flight!). A baseball cap can block light when I want to nap and a tote bag can easily slide under the seat in front of me.