Figuring out what to wear when you’re on your way to the airport can be a challenge for even the most stylish man. Your outfit might not seem like your highest priority, given the fact that you’ll also have to deal with getting through the airport (and the security checkpoint) with all your belongings in tow and your dignity intact. But choosing the right airport outfits every time can mean the difference between feeling comfortable and put-together both in the air and when you land, or feeling uncomfortable and insecure about how you’re presenting yourself in a public space.
Unless you’re traveling for business, there’s probably little reason to wear a full suit anymore. But to uphold common sense and decency, you probably shouldn’t dress like you’ve just rolled out of bed, either. To find the right mix between put-together and casual, we’d actually recommend that any style-conscious frequent flyer takes a look at a fun source of style inspiration: celebrities’ best airport outfits. Check out our favorite examples of airport celebrity sightings, and you’ll have no trouble picking up some style lessons to use on your next trip, whether to a city just a few hours away or halfway around the world.
1. A white tee is always a good idea
While signing autographs for fans in South Korea, Tom Cruise demonstrates that sometimes the best airport outfit is the simplest. A classic white tee worn with a great pair of jeans and a favorite jacket is both casual and cool — exactly the balance you want to strike if you want to stay comfortable while flying, but still make a good impression when you land.
2. Always choose something classic
Even when you’re opting for a super-casual outfit, it’s always a good idea to choose pieces that look classic instead of trendy. The ensemble David Beckham wore while arriving in Hong Kong is a great example: a white tee, a dark pair of jeans, and a simple sweatshirt are all classic pieces that fit well and aren’t going out of style anytime soon. Bonus points for the sweatshirt, which is easy to throw on in a chilly cabin, or would work as a pillow for a mid-flight nap.
3. Layering is key
Whether you’re talking about dressing for transitional weather or ensuring you stay comfortable while traveling, layering is a strategy that will almost always make your life easier. Arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda Airpot, Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman both show off expertly-layered outfits, with a tee, scarf, and blazer for Pitt and a hoodie and winter coat for Lerman.
4. Choose a color and stick to it
Monochromatic ensembles are a favorite among street style stars, and movie stars, too, are embracing the idea of dressing head to toe in one color. Arriving at the Tokyo International Airpot, Leonardo DiCaprio is dressed head-to-toe in blue, from a light pair of jeans to a blue tee to a blue utility jacket. The next time you’re unsure what to wear to the airport, choose a color and build an outfit around it for a simple solution to the problem.
5. Keep things simple
Another great argument for choosing a monochromatic outfit is that it’s a great way to keep things simple. Arriving at the Narita airport in Japan, Hugh Jackman is wearing one of the simplest outfits possible: a plain T-shirt and a pair of jeans. The look may not work for you if you’re traveling for business, but if you’re meeting up with family or friends or are vacationing solo, you can keep things comfortable but sleek with a trim tee and pair of jeans.
6. Choose patterns wisely
Whether you’re prone to spilling things on yourself or anticipate getting a little sweaty dragging your luggage around or running from terminal to terminal, a patterned shirt can be a great choice for airport wear. Orlando Bloom, arriving at the airport in Tokyo, opts for a boldly-patterned shirt instead of a light or solid one, which also helps to hide the wrinkles and creases you’ll undoubtedly get by sitting on a plane for hours.
7. Express your own style
While it may be tempting to water down your style, or opt for something out of character for the sake of simplicity, there’s nothing wrong with wearing your favorite pieces or expressing your unique point of view when you’re getting dressed to head to the airport. Arriving in Tokyo, Johnny Depp isn’t afraid to show off his unique sense of style, and demonstrates that your personal style isn’t something you should leave behind when you travel.