How to Nail the Departure Lounge Chic — Your Guide to Traveling in Style (and Comfort)

Joy of joys, we’re finally off to far-flung destinations (extremely expensive flights), with suitcases packed full of fabulous vacation fits.

But given the chaos of British airports this summer, be prepared to spend an agonizingly long time in transit, bumping half your phone book in the process. A stunning airport outfit that balances comfort and coolness. Remember, life is a runway…

Sarah Lysander

Ditch the trackies.

With all the sitting around and stress-busting you’re bound to do, an elastic waistband is non-negotiable. But stretch doesn’t necessarily mean slack. Opt for lightweight shirt-trousers in breathable silk or linen, or try pleats, the micro-trend for summer ’22. A corded Gatwick looks flashy for Pret but works well for exploring the city (with trainers) or dinner (with heels) once you get there. Khloé Kardashian’s co-founded brand Good American makes wide-leg plus trousers that come in white, black and flattering apple green, each with a matching shirt or Jigsaw’s black linen shirt and contrast white ric-rac piping. The trousers will definitely get you. Upgrade

Those on a PJ budget should check out Toteme’s rusted silk PJ set or Ralph Lauren’s Mulberry silk wide-leg pants and shirt, which are more than glam enough for the ‘gram. If you’re not going to get precious out of your leggings, then choose a good-quality, temperature-regulating pair (I rate Commando and Ernest Luty for support and feel) and keep things warm. Throw on an oversized blazer for… you never know when you’ll bump into an ex on the tarmac.

good american

Good American, shirt £138, trousers £106,

Raf Lauren

Ralph Lauren, shirt £305, trousers £349,


Jigsaw, shirt £8, trousers £88,

Boarding to the Beach Bag

The key to any successful airport trip, especially one with endless delays, is to have all the requisite clobber. And coffee clobber requires a big bag. Instead of carrying two, tackle your beach bag-equipped terminal — and this season the raffia tote has been upgraded. A colorful crochet holdall is summer 22’s answer to the much-loved Loewe x Paula Ibiza raffia bag, and Zara, Casablanca, Alemais, Pull & Bear and Anthropologie all have mood-enhancing beauties. Worried you’ll lose your keys and passport? Invest in a sensible organizing pouch to pop in. Anya Hindmarch designs beautiful colorful leather and recycled TPU “stuff pouches” specifically with this in mind, but you can also pick one up for a fiver on Amazon.

Pull and Bear

Buy Pull & Bear, £35.99,

Casa Blanca

Casablanca, £173,


Almas, £315,

Covered toe shoe

Airports are Baltic, bacteria-infested places that, in my opinion, should not be a forum for flip-flops. Instead, choose a comfortable, closed-toe shoe that will keep you comfortable. And always avoid heels – you never know when you’ll have to run into a gate. If your holiday requires running trainers, save packing space and wear them…with socks please, no one likes going through security barefoot. Or to find a summer city shoe that’s dressy-chic, try Superga’s woven solid white plimsolls – a sort of trainer espadrille hybrid.

If, however, the only sweat you plan on vacationing is on the beach, swap trainers for a closed-toe slip-on that works with your vacation wardrobe. I’m a big fan of the Venetian slipper (try Vibe Venezia or Pucci’s pretty patterned satin slipper) which give off an intellectual island hopper vibe when paired with a Penguin classic and linen shirt. They also have thin soles that you’ll rarely be asked to take off and are perfect for slipping on after the beach or hitting up hotel breakfast. If they’re not your poison, a flat espadrille is always a holiday winner. I love Solodos’ fun embroidered styles, or Prada’s oh-so-chic embroidered beige linen flats.


Superga, £67,


Brick, £122,

Vibe Venezia

Vibi Venezia, €85.00,

Bundle up

The key to avoiding aggressively air-conditioned planes and endless flip-flopping through stuffy and sweaty queues to lounges is plenty of light layers. An oversized linen shirt looks great thrown over a tank and jeans and doubles as a beach cover-up when you get there (try Aceno’s white Formentera shirt). For knitwear that works both on the fly and for an evening stroll on the beach, try Harris Taper and All Saints’ mesh styles. A classy cashmere wrap worn as a scarf looks gorgeous and doubles as a cozy cocoon when you’re trying to take a siesta on a plastic chair in spoons. Bamford aren’t cheap but they are BA Gold Card level elite, or if you like a colorful shot, head to Love Tanjin.


Asceno, shirt £195,


Bamford, £149,

Love Tanjin.

Love Tanjane, £360,

Access to the heavens

A pair of giant sunglasses is perfect for convincing the cabin crew of your celebrity status (H&M has a cool cat-eye pair) — if you spot someone you’d rather avoid in the Vegas queue. Add a hat for camouflage if desired. A phone chain allows for hands-free duty-free therapy (try String Ting) and a passport cover might be naïve, but it sure as hell ain’t when it’s a diagonal jacquard from Dior.


H&M, £19.99,

String ting

String ting, chain £45,


Dior, passport case, £330,

Cabin cases for everything

The best way to avoid lost luggage is to take the least amount of money and avoid putting your valuables on hold at all costs. Here are three of the best cabin cases for avid packers.

Super light, bag with maximum space

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


Antler Stamford Cabin Case, £199,

High-tech hand tools

It’s not cheap, but it’s very sturdy and has a pocket for almost everything – and even an internal phone charger.

Carl Frederick

Carl Friedrich Carry On Pro, £425,

The savior under the throne

Just trying a weekend with Ryanair’s under-the-seat allowance? This bag looks smart and keeps everything in its place.

far off

Far, Everywhere bag, £145,

SOS kit

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


Apple Ear Tags

An absolute must for all summer 22 travels. Stick them to your stuff, your phone, your kids…

Neck pillow, ear plugs and eye mask

A must for anyone in economy – short distances can quickly become long journeys and you’ll need a kip. I rate Lily Silk’s sleep mask and John Lewis’ hybrid memory foam neck pillow that adjusts with air.

Refillable water bottle

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

Long life phone charger

How do you keep your followers close to fresh Heathrow hell if your phone is off?

Noise canceling headphones

They stop airplane drones, but more importantly, they silence your fellow passengers.

111 Skin Sheet Mask

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