a close-up of a couple of suitcases

Just put it in your carry on and wait to look cool – after security…

Like the catwalks of Milan, London, Paris and Tokyo – the airport is a cruel place for fashion. Critics are everywhere, the stakes are high and virtually everyone is fifty shades of miserable. But if you want to break the mold, enjoying your flight while dazzling the critics, there are fashion do’s and some real fashion DONT’S.

a screenshot of a flight scheduleBoots

Lace up or buckle? Who cares. You’re already annoying your fellow airport dwellers. Boots require priceless, wasted seconds prepping them for donning or un donning. Additionally, they’re usually clad with metal – sure to set off any detector. You’ve already failed. Pack em.

Obscene Logos

Yes, those “FBI: Female Body Inspector” t-shirts are a laugh a minute, said no one ever. Wearing clothes with provocative profanity, or drug logos is going to ensure additional screening, simply because you have failed the common sense test. Plus, passengers will think you’re a moron. Save that gear for your destination – where everyone will assume you’re a moron- thanks to your ironic taste in fashion.


Those things you wheeled into the airport or carry over your shoulder? That’s where your belt should be. Once you’re through security, lace that bad boy up, but until you avoid the “beep” you will just make enemies by wearing your belt. It’s impossible to look cool going through security anyway.

a crowd of people in a terminalLayers On Layers

Planes can never be the right temperature, and yes, they’ll always be too hot – or too cold- but that doesn’t give you the right. Layers must be taken off for security, so layers waste time at security. Get down to the bare essentials and then assess the consummately imperfect temperature situation once on board. It’s what carry on baggage is for, other than headphones.

Metal Jewelery

Since virtually all jewelry is made out of some non to semi to precious metal, we could just say don’t wear jewelry. Much like your belt, it should be tucked into a purse, bag or suitcase – ready to delight the critics on the other side of the metal detectors. Just not before. We’ve got places to go.

Extra Baggy Clothes

Now don’t get us wrong. Stretchy jeans, sweatshirts and other comfy clothes make flights so much better. BUT – if you go too baggy, you’re guaranteed to get a pat down. Extra baggy clothes create more opportunity for concealment and thus more chance of getting flagged. Stay comfy, but not 90’s boy band video comfy.

a sign with an arrow pointing to an airport

Flip Flops

Fact: socks with sandals have never ever looked good. Second fact: if you wear sandals and don’t want to wear them with socks – your feet will touch the bare floor of the airport at some point. Also, people are ok with shoes off on the plane, but science has proven 89% of people say no to socks off. So you’re already offending 89% of travelers.

Cargo Pants

All those pockets, all those zippers – you’re just bound to forget something. Plus, all that metal. Cargo pants are great to travel in, but they’re all but guaranteed to slow you down. With that in mind, stick to the advice rampant across this post, wear something easy through security and then get fashioned out at the easy end of the journey.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I’ve traveled all over the world (Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Maldives, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, …. ) with my wife on points, and I ALWAYS were flip flops!
    First class Emirates -2 times
    First class Etihad – 2 times
    First class JAL – 2 times
    Business class Cathay Pacific – 2 x
    South African Air – 4 times
    Air France

    It’s the only way to go!

  2. As someone with somewhat larger feet my daily wear boots would take up about 30% of my carry-on space so packing them is not an option. Pre-check takes care of most of the hassle associated with boots though.

  3. I’ll add clothing with metal or glitter in it. My wife has this plain looking sweater that happens to have “just” a bit of glitter stuff on it. It lights up the scanner like a Christmas tree, although it doesn’t set off metal detectors of course.
    I’ll also second the flip flop one. Not because of the bare feet but because in airports you get to….wait for it….walk a lot. Flip flops are not great footwear for lots of walking.

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