As the debate drags on about whether sweatpants and leggings are appropriate for air travel, we found some alternative options that’ll have you looking chic in coach.
Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion about whether sweatpants and their skintight cousins, leggings, have any business being worn on an airplane. And while the Golden Age of Air Travel is over and no one gets glammed up to jump on a red-eye anymore, there’s got to be some happy medium between sweats and a pencil skirt. We went in search of pants that are cozy enough for a traveler to get a snuggly sleep in, but that (thankfully) don’t scream “pajamas”.
Tory Sport Striped Wide-Leg Track Pants
These Tory Sport track pants cross a 1970s high school basketball team vibe with a pajama pants feel and the result is an airplane pant with attitude. Not only do they nail athleisure, but they also come equipped with every single accoutrement needed to make them airplane perfect. The elastic waistband means no uncouth unbuttoning and unzipping needed to get comfy in your airplane seat. And if you’re drinking all the water you’re supposed to, you’ll be a regular visitor to the poky lavatory where the no muss, no fuss pull-up and pull-down design is going to make your life better.
The Light Garment Poly Padded Hem Pant
If you’re one of those travelers who believes so vehemently in traveling light it borders on a mania, independent NYC fashion designer and perpetual traveler Christine Gabriele is your spirit animal. She created an entire wardrobe system called “This Light Garment.” Each piece weighs mere ounces and comes in an irresistible little drawstring travel pouch. Her stuff is not only flight-friendly, but it also dries in under an hour. Throw Poly Padded Hem Pant in the sink after your long flight and wear them out the same night with chunky heels and a half-shirt. (Also, they have pockets!) They come in S-XL in Dirty Pearl, Tangerine, and Pacific Blue.
Dolan Left Coast Leopard Sweater Pants
I am voyager woman, hear me roar. These high-rise Leopard Sweater Pants reimagine the classic animal print with a bright contrast striped waist. Cushy and warm in 100 percent cotton, they’re good for those icy cabin temps or sightseeing in the northern climes. We love the wide leg and cropped bottom. (Note: They run large).
Anthropologie Globetrotter Joggers
These Globetrotter Joggers live up to their name. They look like denim and feel like running pants. These pull-on pantaloons are made for circumnavigating the globe while looking chambray chic and feeling extra comfy. Extra mileage points for an elasticized waist that ties in the front. In Standard, Petite, and Plus sizes.
Pashko Modern Tailored Knit Travel Tech Pants
Tailored travel tech that looks like what would happen if Lululemon and Prada had a love child. Created expressly for long-haul flights and urban exploration, the brand behind these pants, Pashko, outfits “the freedom-seeker and the maverick nomadic and the fearless observer, all together.” The Swiss-made four-way stretch fabric is a nylon/elastane combo that’s water repellent, oil, and dirt repellent as well as moisture wicking. The waistband has an interior drawcord for a bespoke fit. They come in in fifty shades of grey (okay, six, but that’s still a lot!). Pashko clothes are made with fair labor and 100 percent reclaimed fabrics and one percent of every sale goes to environmental organizations. The Minimalist Modern Tailored Travel Tech Pant comes in sizes S-XXL.
Pashko Cropped Pleated Stretch-Tech Travel Pants
These Sanctuary Cropped Pleated Stretch-Tech Travel Pants pants from Pashko. Why? They’ve taken into account all the needs of a nomadic woman and incorporated it into the cutest pair of pants possible. Just look at these! Four hidden zippered security pockets are perfect for secure passport-boarding pass-cell phone storage so you don’t have to shuffle through your bag at the endless checkpoints in search of them. The pleats coupled with adjustable snap button cuff are cute enough, but then they go and add low slung back pockets to make them even cuter. The UV-blocking pants come in three colors—Navy, Black and New Blue (pictured)—and we’re feeling like we need all three. One for the flight there, one for the way home and one for everywhere else. (Note: They run large so go one size smaller than your normal one.)
Eileen Fisher Organic Linen Dèlavè Wide-Leg Pant
All Hail Eileen Fisher! How one brand manages to make daughters, moms, and grandmoms all happy we’ll never understand. The knit waistband with drawstring on the Organic Linen Délavé Wide-Leg Pant ensures the frequent flier will disembark feeling unstressed and decompressed. The linen dyed to look like faded denim elevates the jetsetter out of jeans territory. And they score you environmental points: the flax spun to make the fabric is grown on organic farms and dyed sans hazardous chemicals and using minimal water and energy. In Women, Petites and Plus Sizes.
A rainbow on our legs that elicits the terracotta sands of Arizona’s Painted Desert, the rosy shades of the Pink City of Jaipur, and the off-white hue of the snow-capped peaks of the Italian Alps? Yes, please. These high-waisted, metallic, wide-leg pants are Italian-made (of course). Hand washable for the traveler on-the-go who is not trying to pay exorbitant hotel laundry rates. Free People’s Intarsio Pantalone comes in sizes XS-L.
Cold where you’re boarding, hot where you’re deplaning? We got you. These luxe slouchy linen pants are not your dad’s zip-off trousers. We know, convertible pants conjure up images of blundering tourists. (Who can forget this Google Earth image of an earnest hiker unzipping his cargo pants at the Grand Canyon?) This version from Nicholas K has managed to bring detachable legs into the realm of cool. Yet the stretch waistband, zip pockets, and sink friendly washability ensures they’re as utilitarian as the version your dad wears. Mesa Sweatpants come in sizes XS-L.
Lululemon Ever Alert Pant
Lululemon’s classically tailored Ever Alert Pant in a stretchy fabric packed with extra pockets for functionality. Designed for the urban commuter, we think they work smashingly well for anyone boarding a plane for business or for pleasure. With their elastic back, you could probably do yoga in them, too, if you don’t mind being the best dressed in class. Available colors include Mossy (for the traveler who doesn’t mind a bit of extra attention) and Obsidian (for the more subdued).
Violeta Flowy Checked Trousers
These flowy checked trousers from Mango make us want to check in for our flight, click on some Netflix on our iPad, and chill. With an elastic back waistband (because the seatbelt is restrictive enough) we don’t need our pants holding us back, too. The patchwork pattern reminds us of PJ’s but the cut reminds us we could go straight out for drinks after landing without looking like we just rolled out of bed. In Plus-sized XS-XL.