Have you ever been so uncomfortable on a plane that you couldn’t wait to land? Ever regretted wearing tight jeans and ankle boots for a long car ride? Gotten a snobby once-over from a hotel concierge or maître d’ eyeing your outfit? Like most women over 50, I love comfort and wearing what I like. But as a lifelong traveler and globe-trotting fashion editor, I know that a few practical style tips and etiquette can make any travel situation better. Here are the best (and worst) travel outfits that solve all:
1. For the airport and plane: pull-on pants, boatneck tee and sweater, slip-on sneakers and socks
Expedited security clearance, online check-in and preflight seat selection help, but chilly temperatures at the gate and cramped onboard seats and flight delays are still an air travel fact of life. A pulled-together look in neutral colors goes miles in style points no matter how casual the clothes. Start with stretch cotton pants like Everlane’s Dream Pant in Black or Slate ($88, everlane.com) and add a flattering neck-lengthening boatneck tee like the Croft & Barrow Women’s Boatneck Top in Black or Navy ($18, kohls.com) and a boatneck sweater like the L.L. Bean Women’s Basketweave Sweater, Boatneck in Classic Navy ($60, llbean.com) — layering double boatneck tops is a trick that won’t ruin the benefits. Those with circulation concerns can add light compression socks while onboard like the Comrad Knee-High Compression Socks in Navy ($28, amazon.com) — slip them off before you leave the plane — but all benefit from chic slip-on sneakers like the LifeStride Next Level Slip-On Sneaker in Black ($50, nordstrom.com). Skip anything stiff, structured, too bare or complicated like skinny jeans, tank tops, booties, mules, slides and sandals, or rigid underwire bras. Also, avoid strong scents that might trigger an allergic reaction in your seatmate!
2. For a road trip: athleisure — knits, hoodies and driving mocs
Whether you’re headed cross-country to see the Grand Canyon, taking a scenic drive along the coast or en route to a country B&B, car travel can be challenging. Any combination of athleisure joggers, track pants and hoodies will make the journey easier. Try a prepackaged knit duo like the PrettyGarden Women’s Two Piece Outfit Long Sleeve Crewneck Pullover and Track Pants in Dark Khaki, Grey or A-Black ($40, amazon.com) or pair fitness pants with an elastic waist like the RBX Active Women’s Relaxed Fit Lightweight Quick-Drying Stretch Pants with Pockets in Ribbed Side Sage or Ribbed Side Charcoal ($50, amazon.com) with any basic tee and a sweatshirt like the H&M Women’s Oversized Hooded Jacket in Light Gray Melange or Beige ($30, www2.hm.com/en_us). Again, stick with neutrals for a stylish effect, and try rubber soled driving mocs like the Hush Puppies Cora Loafer in Taupe or Black ($80, dsw.com/en/us) rather than sneakers to keep tootsies soothed and sweat-free. Skip skirts and dresses, anything tight or constricting. Though feel free to add those compression socks (from No. 1, above) if your legs tend to swell with long hours of no walking.