26 Things You Should Avoid Wearing On A Plane

There's so much to get excited about when planning a vacation. Whether you're looking forward to a simple weekend getaway with your closest friends, a solo holiday, or a romantic, week-long excursion with your significant other, creating the perfect itinerary is only half the battle. While it's true that you should be prioritizing the places you'll be going, restaurants where you'll be eating, beautiful views you'll be taking in, and picturesque photo opportunities for social media content, knowing what to wear on the airplane is also a big deal. 


It doesn't matter if you're traveling somewhere that's less than 60 minutes away or are about to be on a 10-hour flight. Your comfort on an airplane is nearly just as important as the entire trip you're planning — and there are a few things you should avoid wearing on an airplane if you want your travel experience to be as pleasant and unproblematic as possible.

Bulky or excessive jewelry

Skip out on bulky or excessive jewelry and other accessories if you're planning to hop on an airplane sometime soon. For example, you'll want to forgo wearing chunky necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The first reason you'll want to avoid wearing these is that they can be very noisy and loud. It's obnoxious to wear pieces of jewelry that clink around while you're on an airplane because they'll disturb the peace of those around you.


It's best to avoid wearing things that take away from your own personal sense of comfort. Instead of being able to sit back, relax, and lounge in your airplane seat, you might have to be extra careful with how you move around so that you don't cause any damage to the jewelry or accessories you're wearing. Plus, getting slowed down by the TSA at the airport is another annoying factor to contend with.

Ill-fitting bras

Wearing an ill-fitting bra on an airplane is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Not only is an ill-fitting bra significantly uncomfortable, but it's also bad for your health. When you wear a bra that doesn't support you properly, it can lead to premature stretch marks, chafing, shoulder pain, bad posture, and even headaches (via WebMD). All of these things can occur on a normal day, with or without a flight plan in place. 


If you're stuck on an airplane wearing a bra that's digging into your body, you won't have a comfortable place to pull it off or switch to something different until your plane lands. Depending on how long your flight is, you'll possibly be stuck in total discomfort for quite some time. Trying to change into something different in the tiny airplane bathroom is too much of a challenge for most people to bother with, but can avoid this altogether by wearing a bra that properly fits.

Your favorite outfit

You might have some magical idea of what it would be like to touch down at your destination while decked out in the most unforgettable outfit ever. However, it's a terrible idea to wear your favorite outfit on an airplane, regardless of where you're headed. There's no denying the fact that you look absolutely fabulous when you're all dressed up in your favorite top, bottoms, and accessories, but at the end of the day, airplanes aren't the most hygienic places ever. 


According to Reader's Digest, which called airplane cabins "germ farms," a study found that the tray tables in the aircraft "contained more than 2,000 colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch." You could end up sitting on a seat that hasn't been thoroughly wiped down. There might be a wad of chewed gum pressed against an armrest. Grease or product residue from a previous passenger's wet hair might still be on the headrest. You never really know what to expect when you're boarding an airplane. This is why it's best to save your favorite outfit until after you've already safely landed.


The main reason you might want to skip out on wearing shorts on an airplane is that they don't provide your legs with much protection from germs. Airplane seats aren't as spotless as you might hope, even though flight attendants do their best to keep everything as pristine as possible between flights. It's possible that messy fliers who've taken an airplane seat before you used the seat as a place to wipe off their hands after eating snacks, rubbing their nose, or cleaning an infant's spit-up. 


Whatever germs are living on airplane seats are a complete mystery to you when you board your flight. Since shorts leave your legs totally exposed, they aren't very helpful when it comes to keeping you protected from the worst possible outcomes. As trendy as your favorite pair of shorts might be, it's best not to wear them while traveling. Long pants, on the other hand, serve as a protective barrier.

Revealing or see-through clothing

Out of respect to those around you who have booked a shared flight with you, it's considerate and thoughtful to avoid wearing revealing or see-through clothing. Since airplanes can be filled with people of all ages at any given time, it's better to stay on the safe side of things and assume that there might be children around.


Plus, in the past, people have been rejected by airlines for wearing revealing clothing, throwing off their entire vacation plans. Take Catherine Bampton, for example, who was removed from a Virgin Australia flight because her halter top was revealing. "[A staff member] told me in front of everyone that the pilot was refusing for me to board the plane because of the clothes I was wearing," she told The U.S. Sun. Instead of dealing with backlash from a team of airport employees based on what you're wearing, opting for clothing that fits a more modest vibe is best.

Strong perfume or cologne

Even though you might absolutely adore your favorite bottle of perfume or cologne, wearing it on the plane isn't the smartest idea. You might assume that smelling as wonderful as possible in a zone of public transit is the more thoughtful thing to do, but in reality, it's possible that your perfume might strike up an allergic reaction from someone sitting near you. Some of your perfume's ingredients could irritate the nostrils and nasal passages of unsuspecting people, making the trip a very unpleasant one for some.


It's also possible that your fragrance might not be particularly appealing to those around you. When you decide to wear a perfume or cologne that has a super powerful aroma, those sitting around you are forced to inhale the scent you decided to wear, even though it might not be something they personally appreciate or enjoy. Therefore, save the fragrance for after you land, and then you can go wild with it.

High heels

The reason you might want to avoid wearing high heels on an airplane is actually meant to save you from the discomfort and pain that comes from walking in high heels throughout an airport. High heels force your feet to arch in a way that is unnatural and often painful, and an airport is far from a fashion runway.


The popularity of high heels isn't going away anytime soon, but this doesn't mean you have to suffer during your time at the airport. If your gate terminal is on the other side of the airport and you have a long way to walk, high heels will simply slow you down. It's incredibly difficult to run in heels, which means the best you'll be able to do is some brisk speed walking. This is still problematic because the faster you walk in heels, the more likely you'll end up with chafed feet and blisters.

Clothing made out of synthetic materials

As you start planning a trip that will require a flight, you should consider what your clothing items are made out of. While it's true that nearly all fabrics are capable of burning once catching on fire, some materials melt easier than others. According to USA Today, when exposed to "high heat," synthetic fibers can melt "against your body, burning and blistering skin, while natural fibers turn to ash."


Therefore, it's a good idea to avoid wearing synthetic materials like polyester or nylon that will easily melt onto your body in case of an emergency. You might consider wearing comfortable, breathable material like cotton, wool, or linen. It's not incredibly common for a fire to start on a plane — in fact, it's "extremely rare," according to Kristy Kiernan, associate director of the Boeing Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety (via Yahoo!). If the cabin of an aircraft deals with a fire at any point in time, it's likely due to a mechanical or maintenance issue. Still, nothing is impossible, and it's better to be prepared.

Delicate fabrics

It's understandable why you would want to avoid wearing delicate fabrics on an airplane. When you're about to take your seat, your clothing might snag on an edge or a corner, causing a tear, or you might get stuck sitting next to a young child who loves to tug on your outfit. You might even need to stretch in a way you normally wouldn't while placing your items in the overhead bin. 


Anything can happen while you're traveling. If you're wearing something that is super thin or delicate, possible rips and tears are a risk that should be taken into account. Clothing made of chiffon, lace, satin, or silk should be avoided on airplanes for this very reason. You'll be better off wearing clothing made out of sturdy materials such as leather or denim. Your favorite delicate fabrics can remain safe in your luggage for the duration of your flight.

Itchy fabrics

The fuzzy Christmas sweater you received over the holidays might be one of the cutest pieces of clothing you've owned in a while, and the stretchy latex leggings you found at a boutique might bring you tons of joy every time you stare at your reflection in the mirror. If these types of clothing irritate your skin in a way that causes even the slightest itch, though, you should reevaluate what you plan to wear during your flight. 


Even though you know you look absolutely amazing in certain pieces of clothing, anything that makes you feel itchy anywhere on your body should be avoided. Dealing with itches during a flight is incredibly bothersome because you feel like you're basically trapped in the outfit you're wearing until you land. Sometimes, you'll be unable to reach and scratch certain parts of your body based on how close the seats are.

Metallic fabrics

Make life a little easier for yourself at the airport and during your flights by avoiding metallic fabrics. Dealing with TSA is no joke, as these agents take their jobs incredibly seriously. They don't want to accidentally let anyone with bad intentions pass through the metal detectors, after all. If you show up to an airport wearing metallic fabrics, you'll likely light up the metal detector and slow everything down for yourself and the people behind you. 


Putting yourself on TSA's radar is totally unnecessary if you can avoid wearing clothing that fits into this category. Pencil skirts made with chain details, ruched dresses made with metal clasps, and leggings designed with metallic gemstones all over are a few prime examples of what you might want to avoid. These pieces are perfect for a fun night on the town where you can be carefree as ever, but they'll only cause you trouble at the airport.

Glow-in-the-dark fabrics

If you're sitting on a long flight feeling completely exhausted, you might be tempted to close your eyes and fall asleep for a nap. How would you feel if you noticed that the person sitting next to you was wearing clothing made of glow-in-the-dark fabric? If all the lights inside the cabin of your flight have been turned off but someone wearing glow-in-the-dark fabrics is still shining brightly, it's incredibly unpleasant — to say the least. 


That said, you probably don't want to be the person wearing glow-in-the-dark fabrics that aggravate other people while you're traveling somewhere new. Plenty of brands sell glow-in-the-dark outfits and pieces to fashion lovers everywhere, including glowing leggings, T-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, and more. Ultimately, while these items don't necessarilyneed to be shelved until a festival is on your calendar, they shouldn't be worn on an airplane. You'll never anger another passenger by wearing neutrals. 

Crinkly fabrics

Some of the trendiest dresses, pants, and tops are made out of crinkly fabric. Crinkly fabric can easily be identified because it tends to have a puckered surface and is generally covered in small peaks and valleys from top to bottom. No matter how fashionable your favorite crinkly staples might be, this isn't something you'll want to wear on an airplane if you're a considerate person. 


Whenever you move around in crinkly clothing, it can potentially make a lot of noise. If your outfit is making noise every time you adjust yourself in your seat, reach for something, or get up to use the bathroom, it's highly possible that the passengers around you will think of you as an inconsiderate and obnoxious person. Since most fabrics are fairly silent, your options are endless when it comes to airplane outfits. Basic pieces of clothing made of cotton, velvet, or flannel will all get the job done.

Sandals or flip-flops

A lot of people can collectively agree that airplanes are chilly. One of the best ways that you can ensure your warmth and comfort is by wearing a solid pair of shoes with socks. If you decide to wear sandals or flip-flops on an airplane, your feet will undoubtedly experience that frosty nippy feeling. Even if the rest of your body is tucked away in cozy clothing, having your feet exposed to cold air can end up being one of the most uncomfortable experiences during your travels. 


To make matters worse, you always have to remove your shoes (no matter what they are) when going through TSA. If you're wearing sandals or flip-flops, that means you'll have to walk barefoot through the security line and metal detector. That's not necessarily the most hygienic way to travel! Walking through security while still wearing a pair of socks is the more common, congenial, and comfortable way to do things.

Thick coats or jackets

Since airplanes have a reputation for being cold, you might think that the smartest thing to do would be wearing a thick coat or a jacket. The reason you should reconsider this is that you don't want to be too uncomfortable squishing into the small space of a compact airplane seat next to other passengers. The thicker your coat is, the more likely it will pour over into the space of the passengers sitting next to you. 


It's easy enough to be just as warm wearing a slimmed-down jacket that's fitted to your shape or a couple of layered cardigans. It's time to start calling out oversized coats for what they are: bulky and cumbersome. They can make any travel experience automatically feel claustrophobic and crowded. Being on an airplane isn't supposed to feel like you're squeezing into a can of sardines. It's also pretty difficult to squeeze oversize coats into carry-on bags and overhead bins.

Summer pieces

You might already be aware that shorts aren't the smartest thing to wear on an airplane, but now it's time to reconsider all of your favorite summer pieces as a collective. Summer pieces don't only include shorts, either. Tank tops, sundresses, short-sleeved blouses, capri pants, open-toed shoes, rompers, and swimwear are a few other examples. The same reason you wouldn't want to wear shorts applies to all your other summer staples. Clothing that leaves tons of skin exposed leaves you susceptible to germs. 


You might be tempted to wear a summer-ready outfit if you're flying from a snowy winter land to a warm and tropical destination. Regardless, it makes more sense to keep yourself a little more covered so that nothing particularly disgusting touches your bare skin. Your comfort when it comes to the temperature of the airplane is also important to consider. Even though you might be landing somewhere where you'll be able to enjoy some hot heat, the flight is still going to be pretty chilly.

Pieces with complex straps or buckles

Going to the bathroom on an airplane is one of the most cramped and awkward experiences that you will ever go through. Airplane bathrooms are incredibly confined, and they've naturally never been the most hygienic places. (How clean can you really be miles up in the air?) That said, it behooves you to avoid wearing pieces of clothing that have complex straps or buckles. Struggling with your complicated clothing straps and buckles while in a tiny airplane bathroom might end up being your worst nightmare.


You might not have tons of time left between your bladder giving up on you and your stressful buckles coming undone if you already had to wait in a long line of passengers for your turn in the bathroom. Wearing pieces of clothing that are easy to pull up or down on your body during tiny-sized bathroom visits is important to consider before your next trip.

Tight pants

If you've ever seen comedy movies that feature individuals eating hefty meals before plopping down on the sofa, then you probably already know what comes next. Funny movies tend to shed light on the fact that pant zippers and buttons will split apart and pop open if your stomach gets a little more bloated and puffy after finishing a meal. Wearing tight pants on an airplane is a huge mistake because you might end up dealing with a comical situation similar to what you've seen on screen with fictional characters. 


Unfortunately, if something like this were to happen in real life, it wouldn't feel very humorous. Even if the zipper and button of your pants remained intact throughout the course of your flight, the discomfort you'd experience from wearing pants that were digging into your bladder and groin would still be absolutely terrible. Loose pants made of soft or stretchy material are a smarter option on the plane.

Clothing covered in pet hair

Unless you're ready to deal with the person next to you potentially coughing and sneezing during your flight, it's best to avoid wearing any clothing that's covered in pet hair. If you want to show your pet a bunch of love through cuddles and snuggles before leaving on your trip, that is totally fine to do. Just make sure you have a lint roller on deck to remove any pesky pet hair from your surface so you don't cause an allergic reaction to an unsuspecting passenger sitting near you on your flight. 


If you don't have a lint roller, you can quickly vacuum yourself off with a handheld mini-vac to suck away any traces of pet hair from your clothing. If you have enough free time before your flight, you can spend quality time with your animal before quickly changing into a fresh set of clothing before heading out. You never know who might be allergic to dogs, cats, or other animals on your flight.


You'll probably want to avoid wearing hats the next time you're airport-bound. Yes, we mean all hats, including sun hats, bucket hats, baseball hats, and even your trusty trendy visor. The main reason you'll want to avoid wearing hats is because they can be a huge hassle going through security. It's likely that you'll be asked to remove anything that could possibly obscure your identity, hats included. Not only can this hold up the security line, but it also means your hat is just one more thing to keep track of as you make it through security. 


Security aside, hats are simply not very practical to wear in an airport or on a plane. Unless your hat fits snugly on your head, it could fly off as you're going through the airport, particularly if you're hustling to make a connection. Wear a hat with a wide brim on a plane, and you run the risk of brushing it against your seat-mate, which will be annoying for both of you. Plus, wearing a hat with a strap or a brim on the back of your head can make it just plain uncomfortable to lean your head back against the seat's headrest.

Sweatpants that are overly baggy

Yes, sweatpants are a super-comfortable airport choice, and honestly, you should wear them — as long as they have a drawstring to keep them tight around your waist and aren't too baggy. Bulky clothing is simply impractical airport wear for a few reasons. Your ultra-baggy sweatpants could very well hold you up as you're going through security since oversized clothing makes it easier to conceal items from TSA. Even if you're not hiding anything in your sweats, you could get pulled aside for a pat down.


Especially refrain from wearing sweatpants without elastic cuffs or ones that drag on the ground. These kinds of sweats pose a huge tripping hazard, especially if you have to run to catch a flight on a short layover. If you're in a crowded airport, you even risk your baggy sweatpants getting snagged on any number of things, from the handle of a passing suitcase to door and seat handles.


Before you head out for your next adventure, do yourself a favor and wear pants that don't require a belt. While this may bar you from flying in your favorite jeans, jeans are uncomfortable travel wear anyway. Instead, opt for leggings or another pair of pants with an elastic waistband or drawstring. If your belt has a metal buckle, you'll probably be asked to take it off when going through security, and if your belt is the only thing holding your pants up, taking it off is just asking for an embarrassing moment. 


Aside from the obstacle, if your belt is big and bulky — say, you've decided to hop back on the Y2K boho belt train — we'd venture a guess that it won't be super comfortable to sit down with for hours at a time. Especially with your seatbelt on in the airplane, your big belt buckle could very well dig into your stomach, making your flight less than comfy.

Shoes with laces

We know, we know — sneakers seem like a super practical choice when you're airport-bound. They're comfy, they'll let you easily run to catch a flight, and they'll likely stay secure for the duration of your time in the airport and on the plane. But the flip side is that shoes with laces can be annoying at best — and even downright dangerous at worst. You'll likely have to remove your shoes when going through security, and untying and retying your sneakers could be a hassle and can definitely hold you up if you're on a time crunch to catch your flight. 


Another reason sneakers are shoes you should avoid traveling in is because they pose a serious tripping hazard. We've all been there: You're walking down the street and look down to notice your shoe is untied. Sure, it seems like no big deal, but an untied shoelace can be a cause for concern when you're pulling a suitcase through a crowded airport. Plus, a shoelace can easily get caught in the wheel of a rolling suitcase, presenting a huge annoyance for yourself and those around you. Instead, opt for a pair of shoes that you can slide on and that fit snugly to your feet, or find a pair with zippers or velcro.


We won't deny that pajamas are a comfortable choice of airport attire, but they're simply not a majority-accepted choice for public places, including the airport. Pajamas are too casual an outfit for your next trip, especially when you can opt for more appropriate attire that's still just as comfy (hello, sweatpants!). Not to mention, pajamas with too loose of a waistband run the risk of falling down as you're making your way through the airport, and thermal pajamas are likely to make you too hot, while thin pajamas could be too cold for your flight. Plus, nothing screams "sleep mode" like pajamas, and if you want to be an awake traveler, wearing your pajamas may only hinder you. 


If you're looking for a comfortable airport outfit that will never go out of style, meaning you can wear it ad infinitum (even when you're not bound for a destination location), we'd recommend a matching athleisure set. Not only will this keep you comfy as anything, but a matching set is a way more presentable airport style. As a bonus, your matching set won't be limited to airport attire — you can wear it anywhere, anytime.

Just one layer

If there's one air travel attire rule you remember for the rest of your life, let it be this: Always, always wear layers when you travel. We like to apply the rule of three when layering clothing for travel — add a third piece on top. Good layering pieces include shackets, cardigans, and even a zip-up hoodie. Just make sure whatever you wear isn't too bulky, and consider leaving your layer in your carry-on as you move through security so you don't have to deal with the hassle of removing it to go through the scanner. 


Wondering why you need to layer up when you travel? For starters, airplanes tend to be chilly, especially as you reach cruising altitude. Airports, however, can vary in temperature. Even a temperature-controlled airport can feel incredibly hot if you find yourself running to catch your flight on a layover. Layers can also come in handy if you're going from a warmer climate to a cooler climate (or vice versa). 


It doesn't matter if you're hitting the sand immediately upon arriving at your destination — you should make it a rule of thumb to refrain from wearing swimsuits at the airport. Some airlines, like Hawaiian Airlines, even have swimsuits banned from their dress code (they can be worn under clothing, of course, but not on their own). Swimsuits, especially a string bikini or a bathing suit that relies on ties to keep it secure, put you at risk of indecent exposure if the strings get snagged on anything. Plus, you'll likely get cold in an airport if all you're wearing is your swimsuit, and it's not a very practical travel outfit.


If you really must wear your swimsuit when traveling, make sure it's fully covered by other clothing. Even a simple sundress would make for a fine cover-up if you must, but you may be more comfortable opting for leggings and a T-shirt or even a matching athleisure set. However you do it, it's always a good idea to be decently covered in an airport and to save the swimsuit once you've finally hit the sand.

Always check the airline's dress code

Whether you're in total agreement with your airplane's dress code or not, it makes the most sense to check in about the rules and make sure you're in compliance before heading to the airport. The worst possible case scenario is that airport employees will hold you up and give you a hard time based on the clothing you're wearing. No one wants to miss their flight over something as trivial as clothes! 


It would be even worse to get kicked off an airplane after you've already boarded because one of the employees noticed something about your outfit they didn't approve of. Ultimately, you should come prepared for anything and everything. If you've already brushed up on your airline's dress code, you'll have nothing to worry about before your flight.

If you're still a little iffy about some of the rules, you can always pack a backup airplane outfit in your purse or carry-on to change into at the last minute if necessary. After all, the list of things you should never wear on an airplane are fairly universal, but like all things, they're subjective to a certain degree, so do what makes you comfortable.