cashmere and silk black elephant scarf

What to Wear on an Overnight Flight

What should you wear on an overnight flight? Should you wear pajamas to the airport to make your life easier? While you’ll (ideally) be sleeping for the majority of the flight, I’d argue that you’re going to want to wear something a little more presentable to the airport than your cozy pajamas. You’ll be in a busy public airport before the flight. Once you arrive at your destination, you’re going to meet the hotel staff or your host if you’re staying at someone’s home. Along the way, you could literally meet anyone. I’ll tell you a short story of a flight experience that has forever changed my way of thinking when it comes to overnight flying.

I was on a direct overnight flight to Beijing, China with a large group of friends in early May 2015, traveling in business class. We boarded the plane, excited about the trip and eager to get settled into our seats so that we could eat dinner, have a glass of wine and watch a movie while still getting a full night’s sleep. I sat down in my seat and started going through the business class amenities bag. Several minutes later, a well dressed lady came in and sat down in the middle seat in the row directly in front of mine. She turned around and made several remarks about how much nicer the amenities made the overnight flying experience. We had a short, friendly exchange about overnight flying. As she turned back around to give the waiter her drink order, I noticed she had an oddly familiar haircut- one that is recognizable to anyone working in the fashion industry.

We didn’t speak again on the flight except for a ‘good morning’ during breakfast. I was too concerned of invading someone else’s privacy and feeling of comfort. I booked into my hotel room after our arrival, replaying the interaction in my mind and thinking I must have been mistaken. She was too friendly to be as powerful and well known as the person I though she was, right? The following day, I was in my hotel room getting ready for the day. The local news was on the television when the camera panned to someone that grabbed my attention. The well dressed lady from the airplane was giving a speech at a conference, the subtitles confirming a well known fashion editor as the speaker. I had just spent fifteen hours of my life sitting within six feet of one of the most powerful women in fashion.

The moral of the story is: you do want to maintain your appearance while you’re flying. You could literally be seated next to whomever the equal power force in your current career field is. While I have never been a fan of wearing pajamas through an airport, this overnight flight to Hong Kong confirmed that dressing nicely while flying is as important as it is on any other day. Below, I’ll talk a little bit about what has made staying fresh through overnight flight easier for me.

cashmere and silk black elephant scarf
Arriving at your destination hotel is always more fun if you’re wearing a fun outfit and there are macaroons waiting…


  1. A nice pair of long pajamas
  2. Warm socks -unless you’re flying in first class and ok with the cheap ones they provide (which I totally am- one less thing to pack!)
  3. A jacket or shawl that you’ll need for your destination. If you’re flying to a warm destination, pack a light summer jacket. You’ll want it for the cooler evenings.
  4. A fresh, easy outfit for the morning.
  5. Amenities to freshen up in the morning such as: toothbrush and toothpaste, travel sized mouthwash, makeup wipes, deodorant, a hairbrush and makeup.

What to wear to the airport: I typically wear a pair of dark jeans to the airport for the flight, paired with a silk camisole under a cashmere sweater, comfortable shoes, and finished with a large shawl or scarf. I’m wearing my Black silk and cashmere scarf a lot- I love the elephant print! There are several reasons why this is a smart outfit. Wearing the jeans you are going to need means your bag is going to be lighter. Choosing a dark color prevents you from looking dirty should you happen to spill a beverage or drop food crumbs on your lap. Airports are often chilly, so your sweater will keep you comfortable. Your silk camisole underneath your sweater will allow you to take the sweater off if you get hot from running to catch your flight. You can keep your silk camisole on for the night, freeing you to change into your pajama shirt at your seat.

If you’re planning to wear your sweater for the duration of the flight, I would veer away from cashmere and choose a nice 100% cotton sweater. I’ve found that the natural oils in the cashmere can make your face break out if you wear it too long, especially if your face is smooshed against the fibers for hours. Acetate or polyester will irritate your skin as well over a long period of time, so make sure to avoid those fibers. It is worth taking a little time to read the fiber contents before you pack.

Wearing layers enables you to adjust your outfit to your surroundings. Again, just make sure they are all pieces that you’ll want to wear again during your trip.

cashmere elephant scarf

How to refresh yourself after a night of flying: Your plane is going to land in an hour, and you have have arrived!! Party time! Not so fast. After you land, you’ll need to collect your baggage and find your land transportation. If you’re arriving at nine o’clock in the morning and staying at a hotel, you’ll likely spend several hours waiting for your room to be ready. You’re not going to want to spend the day in your pajamas, so prepare yourself.

If there isn’t a long line for the bathrooms, do your morning routine as much as you can without disturbing the other passengers. There are several things you can do in your seat: use your makeup wipe to clean your face, then apply light and quick makeup. Run a brush through your hair if your seating arrangement isn’t too tight. When you go to the bathroom, take your fresh outfit with you along with your travel sized mouthwash. Make sure to be quick, since there are other people that want to use the restroom.

If there is a line for the airplane bathrooms, just do your routine in the airport bathroom before you pick up your baggage. I know, the bathrooms are gross, but you’ll feel so much better once you’re refreshed yourself.


Blouse: Kate Stoltz

Scarf: Black

Collab: For Bloggers Only

To see some of Kate Stoltz’s travel photos, visit: St. Tropez in South of France


Shopping in Paris, France


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