Ask Marco: What to Wear On An Overnight Flight

Q: Leggings, comfy sweater, & slip on shoes (Rothy’s maybe) for an overnight international flight? Looking for comfy not dumpy.

Finding the right ensemble for long airport trips can be tricky. You’ll obviously be sleeping in what you are wearing and possibly keeping it on for a while the next day. I’ve got suggestions on what to wear and some other items you might want to bring along for maximum comfort, convenience and morning touch-ups.

When it comes to pants for long flights, think stretch

You know I love a dress, but for long flights pants is the way to go. They stay in place better and provide proper coverage no matter what position you end up in while you sleep or who you need to climb over to get in and out of your seat.

Option 1: Leggings

I’d go for classic black as the proper pair easily looks fashionable and timeless. While I generally love Spanx leggings, I might skip them in this instance. The extra hold that sucks everything in might feel constricting if a long flight encourages you to bloat. Instead choose something that affords a little extra breathing room.


Athleta Chaturanga Gleam Tights are perfect for travel

I recently snagged these Athleta Chaturanga Gleam Tights. In the picture they may look tight and plasticy, but in real life, they fit like perfect faux leather leggings. They are slightly looser in the leg than a tight Spanx legging, making them look more like pants and less like tights. Plus, the inside is soft like yoga pants. These would be perfect to wear on a plane, but still look chic the next day.

Gap Velvet Leggings add style and comfort on red-eye flights

Velvet leggings are another option that combines comfort and style. I snagged a sparkly pair from Gap last season and was pleased with the fit and quality. This pair of High Rise Velvet Leggings hit perfectly at the ankle for style and will be cozy on the flight, then look nice with various tops throughout your trip.

Option 2: Chic Joggers

If you just don’t want anything tight, which is totally understandable, chic joggers are my other favorite long travel option. These also come in handy later on the trip if you need something easy to throw on for quick coffee runs or other such errands early in the morning. Similar to the leggings, I have invested in several pairs of Athleta joggers and have been impressed with the fit and style.

Athleta Flux Jogger 2.0 pants get rave reviews for long travel.

Just take a quick swing through the reviews of these Athleta Flux Jogger 2.0 pants and you’ll see they are beloved for long flights and road trips. They are comfortable like sweat pants, but feature a thicker fabric and more figure-skimming cut to look neat and fashion forward.

Gap Velvet Joggers are comfy and fashion forward

I bought these Gap Velvet Joggers last season. They are longer on me than in the image. Every time I wear them I get a million compliments and they are incredibly comfortable. You could wear them on the plane and dress them up with heels and a chic tank later.

Layering is Key on Top

You automatically assume you’re going to be cold on the plane, but really you never know. So, I generally start with a tank top or T-shirt I feel okay being seen in, then bring a sweater or cardigan to layer on top. Of course, this is also generally a piece I plan to wear throughout the trip.

Athleta Pranayama Beyond Soft Wrap is perfect on the plan and beyond

Something like this Athleta Pranayama Beyond Soft Wrap won’t wrinkle, drapes nicely and feels nice and cuddly.

Bring Something to Wrap Up In

If you are planning to sleep on the flight, you might want something you can use as a blanket, but of course you don’t want to waste space with an actual blanket.

Consider a Turkish Towel

Turkish towels fold up surprisingly small and can double as throws, beach towels, even wraps at night if you get cold. They end up coming in surprisingly handy on trips, making them a great travel bag addition. Richmond-based company Let’s Talk Towels offers a variety of styles to choose from.

A Cozy Wrap

This Vegan Alpaca Wrap from One Little World comes in 13 different colors and is quite warm and cozy. I recently threw mine in my bag for a trip to California and found it handy on the plane and to wear on brisk mornings.


A vegan alpaca wrap is useful for frequent travel.

Comfortable Shoes

I hate to go all mom on you, but choose shoes that give your feet room just in case the change in altitude causes swelling. Trust me, you’ll be miserable if you get all bloated and have to walk through the airport in tight shoes. For my last flight, I chose some cozy slip-on “athleisure” sneakers that weren’t too casual.


Sparkly slip-on sneakers are comfy and chic


I wore these Gunmetal Lupo Slip-On Sneakers with joggers on my flight from Richmond to Portugal and not only was I completely comfortable, I had people in the airport stopping me to compliment my kicks. These are some other options for chic sneakers and some styles that would pair better with leggings or jeans.


Other Items to Consider Bringing

Snapmade Travel Neck Pillow

I have never had luck with those pillows that they sell in the airport. They never hit my neck correctly to allow me to rest my head comfortably. This Snapmade Travel Neck Pillow is the closest I’ve been able to get to comfortable on a flight.



If you like cold water, you might consider bringing a water bottle with you. A Corkcicle Canteen keeps water cold for 24 hours. Buy a bottle of cold water in the airport, pour it in, and you’re good for the duration of the flight. This is also helpful on your trip for keeping cold water by your bed all night. And, if you need to bring wine on the go, this Corckcicle holds a whole bottle!


Sleep Mask

A classic sleep mask like this one will allow you to block out light if you truly want to sleep.

Lumbar Travel Pillow

If you have back issues, you might also consider this Therm-a-Rest Lumbar Travel Pillow. It sits in the perfect spot to provide spine support so you are actually able to walk around when you get off the plane. Plus, with it’s self-inflating style, it’s easy to pop in your bag without taking up too much space.


Comfy Socks

You’re going to be sitting for a long time. Might as well ditch your shoes. I like to bring some thick, cozy socks to put on.


Noise-Canceling Headphones

I never purchased the famous Beats, but I have these BÖHM B66 On Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation and they work quite well. Plus the price tag of $80 is a bit more affordable. They work with Bluetooth, but also include a cord for extra long flights.


Toiletry Bag for the Morning

No matter what you’re going to feel gross in the morning. I always pack a little bag with a toothbrush and a mini toothpaste, a makeup remover wipe, a mini moisturizer, a small hairbrush, and maybe a few small makeup items for when I first hop off the flight. This way I can quickly hop into the restroom and freshen up. I’ve even thrown in an extra tank top and a Hanky Panky thong to make a quick change in the bathroom.



What are your long-flight essentials? Leave them in the comments!


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