These 7 Outfits Master Summer Airport Style

Look fresh straight off the plane with these fashion editor-approved styling hacks.

woman wearing baseball cap, white T-shirt, cardigan, and leggings
(Image credit: Getty Images)

My friends and I planned a week-long getaway to Costa Rica, and I've got a full packing list of trendy bikinis, airy linen pants, and breezy beach dresses, but one of the most important and often overlooked travel staples is a great summer airport outfit. Planning that outfit ahead can ensure the trip gets off to a smooth start as you get dressed in the dark for a 5 am flight. It's one less thing to think about—whether you're headed off on a fun girls' trip or headed into more serious business matters.

Heading to a vacation destination is usually a bit more forgiving than traveling for work, which can be one of the biggest wardrobe puzzles. Traveling for business often requires you to head straight off the plane into a busy day of meetings. But that doesn't mean you have to dress in stiff, uncomfortable business attire. With smart outfit formulas and a few wardrobe workhorses, you'll be equipped with several foolproof looks you can wear repeatedly— even if you're a frequent flyer.

If you're traveling through different climates, pack an extra layer—like a lightweight cardigan or a cashmere wrap—that you can easily throw over your shoulders when you arrive and will keep you from freezing on chilly planes. Going on a quick weekend trip that doesn’t require a huge checked bag? Bringing a large tote can be a great organizational hack for storing your smaller bags through crowded terminals and winding TSA lines.

From oversized blazers paired with T-shirts and sleek leggings to matching sweat sets styled with summer's trending chunky sneakers, Marie Claire's curated seven do-it-all airport outfits that have street-style and celebrity seals of approval.

How to Pick an Airport Outfit This Summer

  • Lightweight Layers

Although you're bound to experience balmy weather during a day of summer travel, you'll likely encounter chilly temperatures as soon as you step foot in the airport (and even more so while seated in the aircraft cabin). That's why it's essential to pack a lightweight layering piece like a knit cardigan, a fleece hoodie, or a soft crewneck sweatshirt.

  • Comfortable Fabrics

Between navigating airport security, speeding through terminals, and tracking down your luggage at baggage claim, a travel day usually means getting your steps in. That said, you'll want to wear comfortable fabrics (especially on the bottom) that will allow you to get around easily. Soft leggings, cotton sweatpants, and linen trousers are all great options to incorporate into your summer airport outfit formula.

  • Supportive Footwear

The airport is not the place to experiment with pointy stilettos or sky-high platforms (if you must wear heels, pack them in your carry-on bag and slip them on as soon as you land). Instead, choose cushioned sneakers, sandals with arch support, and supportive flats—ballet flats are a great option that checks all of the boxes.

The Best Summer Airport Outfit Formulas

For the Long-Haul Flight

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woman wearing white T-shirt, leggings, and cardigan

Prioritize comfort while wearing a cozy T-shirt and a pair of stretchy leggings.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The most versatile summer airport outfit involves two simple essentials: a T-shirt and a pair of leggings. I've worn this look time and again to get through long travel days, and it never fails. Whether sprinting to catch my plane or moving around an aircraft during a long-haul flight, I can always rely on a fitted tee and a pair of forgiving pants to provide easy mobility— and to sleep in if I need to. Elevate this look by wrapping a cardigan across your shoulders, popping on a pair of chunky hoops, and grabbing a large carry-on that's roomy enough to store all the in-flight essentials.

When You're Short on Time

woman wearing grey sweatsuit set

There's something about a matching sweat set that feels super polished, especially when styled with chic black accessories.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A comfortable sweatsuit can do no wrong, especially on days when you don't have much time to plan your airport look. A monochromatic approach keeps the look polished and won't require much extra styling. Anchor a light neutral matching set with contrasting black accessories, like a versatile crossbody bag and a pair of sleek sunglasses. Pro Tip: Wear a tank top beneath your hoodie in case you need to shed a layer.

Straight From the Plane to Meetings

woman wearing blue top, beige trousers, and a blue cardigan

For the business traveler who must look chic at all times, you'll appreciate this outfit.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Traveling for work instead of leisure? If so, your post-flight day will likely be packed with client coffees or business lunches; unfortunately, sweatpants and leggings won't cut it. You'll want more of the Nicole Kidman airport outfit approach. Count on a pair of tailored trousers, a fitted middle layer, and an outer sweater to look polished but not stuffy. Pair the look with pointed-toe flats and ladylike accessories— like pearl earrings.

For the Weekend Trip

woman wearing T-shirt, white pants, and white sneakers

Graphic T-shirts are undeniably fun. Wear yours to the airport with a pair of flowy pants to match.

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A playful design, like a graphic tee, can add an element of fun to any pared-down airport outfit. Play with proportion with a loose-fitting T-shirt and a flowy pair of pants that feel relaxed but capture your personal style— you can also re-wear these pieces for a short weekend trip. Pack a sweater or light denim jacket in your carry-on or weekend bag to have you have an extra layer for the plane.

From Landing Straight to Lunch

woman wearing crew neck top, jeans, and flip flops

Wearing jeans to the airport feels like a cardinal sin, but it doesn't have to be.

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Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Who wears jeans on an airplane? Yes, you can easily incorporate denim into your summer airport outfit—just opt for an oversized or relaxed silhouette. Pair the look with an oversized sweatshirt and easy slip-on slide sandals. Head straight to lunch with your friends— no change necessary.

A Fuss-Free Sightseeing Look

woman wearing black tank top, white pants, and white sneakers

A simple yet chic look will easily take you from the airport to the streets of your destination.

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If you've got a bunch of sightseeing lined up on your itinerary as soon as you land, your outfit will have to master versatility–comfy enough to wear on the plane yet stylish enough for a day of strolling through museums, restaurants, and promenades. A black tank top, a pair of lightweight pants, and white sneakers will get the job done. Opt for a leather backpack to keep your hands free.

From Warm to Cold Climates (Or Vice Versa)

woman wearing rain coat, white pants, and flats

A chilly destination calls for layers.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Not all summer vacations are tropical. In fact, some of us are opting for chilly destinations to escape grueling temperatures. For this type of trip, the right outerwear is absolutely key. A sturdy trench coat is a great choice to provide warmth without taking up space on the plane. If you're traveling from a warm to cold climate, style your trench with an all-white outfit and neutral accessories.

Lauren Tappan
Fashion Editor

Lauren K. Tappan is the Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, where she writes engaging stories ranging from shopping pieces to trend reports. Prior to Marie Claire, Lauren covered fashion and beauty for Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE as a freelance editor, with a specific focus on e-commerce. She also held editorial roles at Town & CountryInto The Gloss, and Philadelphia Style Magazine. Lauren earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, with a minor in Journalism, from the University of Pennsylvania. Follow her along at @laurenktappan.