How to nail departure lounge chic — your guide to travelling in style (and comfort)

·6-min read
 (Runway Style)
(Runway Style)

Joy of joys, we are finally jetting off on (fiendishly expensive flights) to far-flung destinations, with suitcases stuffed with fabulous holiday ‘fits.

But given the chaos that is British airports this summer, you best be prepared to spend a tediously protracted amount of time in transit, bumping into half your phone book in the process. A stellar airport outfit that balances comfort and cool is key. Remember, life’s a runway…

 (Sarah Lysander)
(Sarah Lysander)

Ditch the trackies

With all the sitting around and stress snacking you’re bound to do, an elasticated waistband is non-negotiable. But stretch needn’t mean slob. Opt for a lightweight shirt-trouser co-ord in breathable silk or linen, or try plisse, which is a microtrend for summer ’22. A co-ord looks polished for Gatwick Pret but works well for city exploring (with trainers) or dinner (with heels) once you’re there. Khloé Kardashian-co-founded brand Good American does wide-leg plisse trousers that come in white, black and a joyous apple green, each with a matching shirt or Jigsaw’s black linen shirt and trousers with contrast white ric rac piping is sure to get you upgraded.

Those on a PJ budget should check out Toteme’s rust-coloured silk PJ set or Ralph Lauren’s Mulberry silk wide-leg trousers and shirt, which are more than glam enough for the ‘gram. If you won’t be prised from your leggings, then opt for a good quality, temperature-controlling pair (I rate Commando and Ernest Leoty for support and feel) and throw on an oversized blazer to keep things sharp… you never know when you’ll bump into an ex on the tarmac.

 (Good American)
(Good American)

Good American, shirt £138, trousers £106, goodamerican.com

 (Ralph Lauren)
(Ralph Lauren)

Ralph Lauren, shirt £305, trousers £349, ralphlauren.co.uk

 (Jigsaw)
(Jigsaw)

Jigsaw, shirt £8, trousers £88, jigsaw-online.com

The boarding- to-the-beach bag

The key to any successful airport trip, particularly one that involves endless delays, is having all the requisite clobber. And considerable clobber necessitates a sizeable bag. Rather than take two, tackle the terminal armed with your beach bag — and this season the raffia tote has had an upgrade. A colourful crochet holdall is summer 22’s answer to the much-loved Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza raffia bag, and Zara, Casablanca, Alemais, Pull & Bear and Anthropologie all have mood-boosting beauties. Worried you’ll lose your keys and passport? Invest in a sensible organising pouch to pop inside. Anya Hindmarch designs lovely coloured leather and recycled TPU “things pouches” specifically with this in mind, but you can also pick up something functional on Amazon for a fiver.

 (Pull & Bear)
(Pull & Bear)

Pull & Bear, tote £35.99, pullandbear.com

 (Casablanca)
(Casablanca)

Casablanca, tote £173, mytheresa.com

 (Alemais)
(Alemais)

Alemais, tote £315, koibird.com

The covered-toe shoe

Airports are Baltic, bacteria-swarmed places that, in my opinion, should never be the forum for a flip flop. Instead, opt for a cosy, covered-toe shoe that will keep you comfortable; and always avoid heels — you never know when you’ll have to run to a gate. If your holiday is one that requires running trainers, then save packing space and wear them… with socks please, no one likes going barefoot through security. Or for a summery city exploring sneaker that’s pretty with dresses, try Superga’s woven-soled white plimsolls — a sort of trainer-espadrille hybrid.

If, however, the only sweating you plan to do on your holiday is on the beach, then swap trainers for a closed-toe slip-on that works with your holiday wardrobe. I’m a huge fan of Venetian slippers (try Vibi Venezia or Pucci’s pretty patterned satin slippers) which, when paired with a Penguin Classic and a linen shirt, give off an intellectual island-hopper vibe. They also have such thin soles you’re rarely asked to remove them and are perfect for slipping on post-beach or to hit the hotel breakfast. If they’re not your poison, a flat espadrille is always a holiday winner. I like Soludos’s fun embroidered styles, or Prada’s desperately chic embroidered beige linen flats.

 (Superga)
(Superga)

Superga, £67, superga.co.uk

 (Pucci)
(Pucci)

Pucci, £122, matchesfashion.com

 (Vibi Venezia)
(Vibi Venezia)

Vibi Venezia, €85.00, vibivenezia.it

Bundle up

The key to surviving the endless flip-flopping from packed and sweaty queues to aggressively air-conditioned planes and lounges is plenty of light layers. An oversized linen shirt looks great thrown over a tank and jeans and doubles up as a beach cover-up once you’re there (try Asceno’s white Formentera shirt). For knitwear that works both in-flight and for an evening beach stroll try the mesh styles from Harris Tapper and All Saints. A superfine cashmere wrap looks elegant worn as a scarf and doubles up as a comforting cocoon when you’re attempting to siesta on a plastic chair in Spoons. Bamford’s aren’t cheap but they are BA Gold Card-level elite, or head to Love Tanjane if you fancy a shot of colour.

 (Asceno)
(Asceno)

Asceno, shirt £195, asceno.com

 (Bamford)
(Bamford)

Bamford, £149, bamford.com

 (Love Tanjane)
(Love Tanjane)

Love Tanjane, £360, koibird.com

Accessorise to the skies

A pair of giant sunnies is perfect for convincing cabin crew of your celeb status (H&M has a cool cat eye pair) — add a cap for camouflage should you spot someone you’d rather avoid in the queue for Wagas. A phone chain allows for hands-free duty free therapy (try String Ting) and a passport cover can be naff, but it sure as hell isn’t when it’s an oblique jacquard one from Dior.

 (H&M)
(H&M)

H&M, £19.99, hm.com

 (String Ting)
(String Ting)

String Ting, chain £45, stringting.com

 (Dior)
(Dior)

Dior, passport case, £330, dior.com

Cabin cases for everything

The best way to avoid lost luggage, is to take a minimal amount and avoid putting your precious cargo in the hold at all cost. Here are three of the best cabin cases for savvy packers.

The superlight, max-space bag

When it comes to design, lightness and affordability, few beat Antler.

 (Antler)
(Antler)

Antler Stamford cabin case, £199, antler.co.uk

The high-tech hand luggage

This one isn’t cheap, but it’s super sturdy and has a pocket for just about everything — and even an in-built phone charger.

 (Carl Friedrik)
(Carl Friedrik)

Carl Friedrik Carry on Pro, £425, carlfriedrik.com

The under-the-seat saviour

Attempting a weekend away with just Ryanair’s under-the-seat allowance? This bag looks slick and keeps everything in its place.

 (Away)
(Away)

Away, The Everywhere bag, £145, awaytravel.com

The SOS Kit

Prepare for the departure hall as you would a week in the jungle. Really, there’s very little difference.

 (Reuters)
(Reuters)

Apple AirTags

An absolute essential for all summer ‘22 travel. Stick them to your luggage, your phone, your kids…

A neck pillow, ear plugs and eye mask

Essential for anyone in economy — short-haul can quickly become long-haul and you’ll want a kip. I rate LilySilk’s sleep masks and John Lewis’s Hybrid Memory Foam Neck Pillow which is adjustable with air.

A refillable water bottle

Six hours in to moping round Luton and you’ll wish you didn’t have to keep buying plastic bottles.

The long-life phone charger

If you’re phone’s dead how will you keep your followers abreast of the fresh Heathrow hell?

Noise-cancelling headphones

They block out the plane drone, but more importantly they mute your fellow passengers.

111Skin sheet mask

Forget what cabin crew might make of you and put one of these masks on mid-flight. Thank me later.

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