What to wear on a long flight

This is an answer to a recent post from Australian Business Traveller. They had a very helpful post about what men should wear for a long flight during a business trip, but it wasn’t really any help at all for women. Balance can be tricky while flying 14 hours. If you want to look professional yet be incredibly comfortable, here is what I have found to be the best combination.

Jersey dress. The right jersey dress will feel like a long t-shirt. They are stretchy and soft, yet can be worn to work. My favorite is the Everyday Jersey Dress from Boden (currently on super discount, but available only in limited sizes. You won’t go wrong with any jersey dress from Boden though!).

Leggings. Leggings are my answer to pajama pants during travel. Same as the jersey dress—they are soft and stretchy. Also easy to take off once you land and are headed to the office. The ones I wear the most are from Old Navy and cost around $10.

Compression socks. A must-wear!! Keep your feet and ankles from swelling too much, and reduce your chances of DVT. Available all over, including online (Amazon and TravelSmith come to mind) or at a drug store. (Another option: Instead of leggings and compression socks, try compression tights.)

Comfy flats. Flats are great because they are easy to put on and take off. Pick ones that are a little too big, because your feet will inevitably swell a little bit.

A couple of other comfort tips:

  • Wear minimal makeup. Wear as little makeup as you are comfortable with. For me, this is basically tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a little powder. The less you have on, the less you can get in your eyes while you sleep. When you’re about to land, wash your face (or use a face cleansing wipe) and apply your normal makeup.
  • Pull your hair back. I wear a braid or low ponytail when flying for a long time. This way it won’t irritate my head when leaning back, but keeps it out of the way. A braid is better for me, just because I don’t get that annoying crease from the rubber band, but sometimes my hair is too short.
  • Wear your glasses. If you normally wear contacts, I recommend wearing your glasses for long flights. This way your eyes won’t dry out from the arid airplane air, and your contacts won’t bother you while you sleep.

So there you are! Professional yet comfortable options for long flights exist for women too!



  1. Great advice! I second the leggings and glasses, particularly! I’d also add a large, soft pashmina or cashmere scarf – it looks elegant but can be very comforting and act like a light blanket.

  2. Great post. My travel wear of choice for all but the longest flights is a black jersey dress, tights and boots. Looks professional…but is so incredibly comfortable. I’ve never understood jeans on flights — probably the most uncomfortable thing ever when you’re seated for several hours straight!

  3. I once flew from NYC to Johannesburg – about 17 hours. I had heard so many people say I needed compression socks that I got a pair. About an hour into the flight I had to take them off – they were so tight that my toes were tingling. After that, I just made sure I got up and walked on a regular basis.

  4. Really appreciate the great post! I like the link to the Boden dresses and just ordered a few. They look incredibly versatile and comfortable, yet fashionable and able to be accessorized so well. I definitely agree about the the glasses, as well as the pashmina which I use as a blanket both on planes and when the covers are too heavy in the hotel.

    I wanted to add that I never go anywhere without my Ubu reversible travel jacket in black and brown. It is the best single item for travel I have ever bought! http://www.ubuclothing.com/?gclid=CNf-1dyuia0CFRDHKgod_zA_mw

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