Airport Style For Speed

by: tw Timothy L. Webb

Visit any major U.S. airport and you’ll see a variety of travel fashions. Making your way through airport security today with the T.S.A. can sometimes be daunting, leave you nearly naked and anxious to get to your flight. Some people dress less for style and more for comfort. Learn how to dress for comfort or style and still get through airport security quickly and easily.

A Bygone Era

The days of glamorous travel are gone. Not just with regard to wardrobe, but really the entire travel experience. When Jet travel first became accessible in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, flight attendants (or stewardesses as they were called then) wore crisply tailored suits. Often with matching shoes, scarves and more than likely a smart looking hat at a jaunty angle. There was no airport security, hot meals were served and people were even allowed to smoke onboard. Luxury and glamour in travel are a bygone era.

Today, the rigors and time involved due to the check-in experience have taken a lot of the fun out of travel. This combined with greedy airlines packing seats closer and closer together like sardines in a can has made travel glamour a rare commodity. So what to do? How do we plan a travel wardrobe that is both comfy, classy and speeds you through airport security?

Sensible Shoes

For footwear, focus on basics that are easily removed during the security process. Rather than boots, heels, or laced tennis shoes or sandals—–opt for slip-ons. Sensible shoes are the key. There is no shortage of comfortable, slip-on shoes at all price points and styles. Many casual shoemakers offer an available slip-on that will go well with jeans, Dockers or even a skirt. If you need something more hi-style, many designer brands like Coach, Tory Burch, LaCoste and Ferragamo have options that will compliment a suit or just dress up your favorite denim wear.

Travel, What Not to Wear

Unless you’re T.S.A. Pre-Check, chances are you’ll need at minimum to remove your shoes, belt, and jacket. So, what’s the best way to dress at the airport? You want to be comfortable, but may not want to look like you’ve just rolled out of bed either. Appearing at the front desk of a luxury hotel like the Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, or Le Meridien with your favorite ripped-up and stained band T-shirt with bed-head just isn’t cool unless you’re an Indie Rocker with a long string of hits to back up your rock and roll eccentricities. Remember, what not to wear on your adventures.

Fly through T.S.A. With the Right Accessories

While I’ve often thought we travelers should simply wear onesie jumpsuits through airport security, I quickly banish the thought after giggling at the prospect. One way to speed your security process is to choose belts that aren’t heavy, overly ornamented and come on and off easily.

There’s nothing worse than being behind the guy who is T.S.A. Pre-Check and still can’t get through security without setting off alarm bells because he decided to wear his beloved rodeo belt while traveling. Put it in the suitcase, Tex—seriously. Ladies this goes for jewelry too. Don’t over-accessorize for the plane. Unless you’re flying Virgin Atlantic Airlines, you’re most likely not going to a cocktail party, hitting the red-carpet, or delivering the evening news directly upon touch down. It’s just a flight to Newark. Besides, all that heavy jewelry will more than likely ping the T.S.A.’s X-Ray machines at security and slow you down. Choose the right accessories and you’ll fly right through T.S.A. Security.

As for ready to wear is concerned, a pair of newer jeans (applause for colors!) or pressed Dockers will get you through your flight smartly. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics for comfort. A lightweight sweater or pullover is a great option for the guys. For ladies, a simple blouse will do. Save the sequins for the Queen Mary. Whether on business or pleasure, most everyone you meet at your destination is most likely a new person to you. First impressions count. Remember, the less complicated the outfit, the easier and quicker security is. Plus, you’ll be more comfortable.

Fashion at The Airport (or lack there of)

There has to be a middle ground between comfy and stylish. Whether it’s Chicago’s O’Hare International, New York’s LaGuardia or Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport, there has to be better ensembles than some of the ones I’ve witnessed at American airports recently. For instance at Denver’s International Airport, I saw a grown man in his thirties dressed in flannel pajamas. And, not even his best flannels either. While comfort is important, it is a bit sad and pathetic to travel cross-country in your jammies. Unless, of course, you’re six. Fashion at the airport is under-rated.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen ladies on planes in low cut tops, daringly short mini skirts and heels so high they practically wobble at the first sign of turbulence. It’s as if they’re planning to go directly to a nightclub from they land in Akron. Can that really be comfortable sitting in spiked heels for three hours? I am thinking somebody’s going to need to hit the spa before they even think about hitting the club or painting the town.


Airports and planes can be chilly. Consider a light sweater or jacket, the airlines keep those cabins cold onboard cold for a reason. There’s nothing more miserable than freezing for 3 hours on your way to your South Florida or Bahamian vacation. Layers is a good way to go. And, they will help keep you warmer. Guys, consider a T-shirt under an oxford  partnered with a zip hoodie. Shorts are okay if you’re not a freezy cat. But, rethink flip-flops (even if you are going to Jamaica). No one wants to see your toes up close and personal for that long of a time.

The Long And The Short of It

Overall, if you dress in stylish basics in stretchy, breathable fabrics, you’ll be comfortable. You can dress up or tone down your outfit with slip-on shoes, the right belt, and sensible accessories. Have a jacket, sweater, or light hoodie to keep you warm and cozy.The long and the short of it is that regardless of your style, whether it be casual or stylish, you can sprint through T.S.A. Security with a well-thought out ensemble. Besides, the people behind you in the security line will thank you for your thoughtful attire. No one wants to miss their flight because of a wardrobe malfunction.




Article Name
Dress for success and fly through airport security
Explores the pros and cons of comfort and style as it relates to airport fashion and T.S.A. Security.
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