Like a lot of you, I’m traveling to see family over the holidays, and I’m always shocked to see what some people think is acceptable to wear when flying. Picking out an outfit shouldn’t be stressful—I’m at my most tightly strung when trying to get out the door—but you’re still in public, for goodness sakes. There’s one cardinal rule that would make the arrival and departure areas much chicer: Dress as if you might run into your high school crush or the queen bee who was always way too cool. Even if you’re not flying to your hometown, the world’s still crazy small and a chance meeting can happen anywhere (gulp).
Now, I’m all about being comfortable (that lady pulling her suitcase along while wearing stilettos boggles my mind). But can we all agree that comfortable doesn’t equal oversize sweatpants, socks with sandals, and a top that’s aggressively mismatched? Take the two minutes it requires to decide what the comfiest pieces of clothing in your closet are and assemble them into an outfit that can become your unofficial travel uniform. For most of the women I know, that means a favored pair of skinny jeans, flats that don’t pinch, and a basic top (I’m typing this from 20,000 feet in the air, home-bound, wearing jeans and a Madewell sweatshirt). It should be stuff that’ll work for a plane or car ride but is also flattering and makes you look like the successful, pulled-together lady you are. Because no sweats feel good enough to matter if you pass through security and into eye range of someone from your past you’d really like to impress.
If you’re looking for inspiration, there’s a ton. Celebrities rack up the frequent-flier miles and are pros at picking comfortable-but-stylish outfits. If you’re set on making 2015 the year you appear polished at all times, there’s nothing better than Amal Clooney’s impeccable travel look.