Sweatpants & travel naturally go hand in hand. There’s nothing comfier than a pair of sweats, and nothing more uncomfortable than a tiny airplane seat (except, maybe, the airport lounge seat). So when it comes time to ‘stow your bags under the seat in front of you’…I’d like to be ready for a long haul. Especially with flight delays at an all time high (which will likely continue for another “decade”, thanks to staffing shortages), we might find ourselves, on our next flight, curled up in an airport for who knows how long.
My vote? Bring on the sweatpants, baby.
But as much as I love a good pair of sweatpants, the airport vibe I’m going for is more Bella Hadid in joggers, rather than, say, high school debate team, carrying pillow. So for the past several spring, summer, & falls, I’ve landed on something like this:
While this outfit has served me well – especially on overnight flights – once the weather gets truly cold, what’s the plan? How to make this (or something similar) winter ready?
Winter Airport Outfit, With Sweatpants: 3 Tips To Make It Chic
Summer or winter, planes & airports can be tricky places to dress for – they can ping-pong between freezing cold or stuffy & hot. Dressing in layers is key, regardless of season. While my summer airport outfits rely on lighter-weight pieces, for winter, I get cozy.
1. Start With A Matching Set (Full-Length)
When pulling together a cool, cohesive airport look with sweatpants, I almost always start with a matching set. And 99% of the time, that set is black or navy. I can (and have) spilled coffee on dark sweatpants – nobody knows! Black or navy sweatpants often look more expensive than they are, too, and black sweatpants can also – at a distance – vibe as real pants.
One key change I make in winter is to swap my usual cropped set for a full length sweatsuit, complete with a cozy, long-sleeve sweatshirt. Not only are these pieces warmer overall, but they’re easier to style with coats & boots.
What about that Frank & Eileen’s ‘Greece’ travel set? While it’s not my top choice for cold winter travel, I can still make it work – keep scrolling to see.
2. Pick Your Shoes: UGGs or Sneakers?
For me, the airport footwear choice in the winter comes down to UGG boots or sneakers. If I’m leaving the cold to head somewhere warm & sunny (or vice versa), I’ll typically wear sneakers on the plane. But if I’m headed somewhere cold & snowy in both directions, it’s UGGs for me. And I’ve found that sneakers and/or UGGs with a bit of a platform are especially welcome to keep pant hems from dragging (#shortgirlproblems).
My two go-to shoes for traveling in winter are:
- Sneakers: Adidas’ Gazelle Bold (nice platform, suuuper squishy and comfortable inside)
- UGGs: UGG Mini Platform Boots (fuzzy inside, like all UGGs, and the platform isn’t too hard to still for walking)
Platform Sneakers, Perfect For Travel
UGG Boots, Perfect For Travel
3. Grab A Coat
Not only does flying with a coat save some room in the suitcase, but this layer helps protect against a suddenly freezing airport or plane (and is really useful once you land, too). There are two main styles of jackets I prefer to travel with in winter – an unlined, wool coat or a chic, elevated puffer. Comfy on the plane, but can also be used as a night-out jacket in a pinch, and pairs well with virtually any outfit (sweatpants, jeans, trousers, dresses, etc).
My two favorite jackets for winter traveling:
- A chic, elevated puffer: GAP’s Big Puff Jacket (in ivory faux-leather)
- A lightweight (unlined) wool coat: I have an old Max Mara (current version) that was wildly expensive (but annoyingly, worth every penny), but I’ve been really impressed by how GAP’s unlined wool coat looks on Amy. Similar vibe, for sure. Or grab Naked Cashmere’s coat on sale for a mid-range option. It’s a stunner.
Chic, Elevated Puffers For Travel
Unlined Wool Coats For Travel
Putting It All Together: My 3 Favorite Sweatsuits for Travel (Plus Shoes & Coats)
It should surprise no one to hear that I have some pretty strong opinions about exactly which sweatsuits I like to travel in. I highlight my top two winter sweatsuits below – including styling them with the sneakers, UGGs, and winter coats – as well as a strategy for making my summer set work.
A. Gap’s Cargo Sweatpants & Hoodie
This set is the set I’ve been living in lately. The sweatpants have some sort of bungee cord at the bottom (so they can look like joggers if you choose), and have cargo pockets. The high-rise waistband, is thankfully, elastic, but not too tight. The hooded sweatshirt is oversized and comfy, and this set machine washes (and dries) beautifully. The hoodie layers nicely over a t-shirt, too.
With A Wool Coat…
To elevate the look, I add a wool coat. Because this hoodie is a little bulky (it’s actually not bad, but it *is* still a hoodie), this is where an unlined wool coat really shines. And I appreciate unlined wool coats with some dropped shoulders or a bit of room in the body so they’re actually comfortable to wear.
With a Puffer….
I love the faux-leather puffer, I think it really elevates the look from something that’s just sporty. I also like that the unexpected color adds a bit of Fashion Girl vibes.
B. Vuori Wide-Leg Sweatsuit
I bought Vuori’s Sedona wide-leg sweatpants last year in ‘salt’ (with this matching half zip) and they were so good I knew I needed them in black, too (you can see the lighter set in my ski packing video). The fabric feels really high-end, and the wide-leg sweatpants are current and cool. This set also machine washes & dries like a champ (even the drawstings don’t disappear into the waistband).
I think Vuori may have played around with the waistband of the sweatpants a bit – the newer black ones fit a *little* higher (and stay up much better) than last year’s version.
With a Wool Coat….
While my wrap coat would work just fine with this outfit, I wanted to show how the extra-long legs of this sweatsuit (and the cleaner lines overall) make it perfect for a longer, more tailored coat. Same idea, just a more polished vibe.
With a Puffer…
That same ivory puffer totally works here, too. Because it’s so freaking good.
C. Frank & Eileen Triple Fleece Travel Set
Aaaand now we come to my beloved Frank & Eileen travel set! While Frank & Eileen does make longer-sleeve sweatshirts as well as true, full-length joggers (see them all, here), their cropped, ‘Greece’ set is still my favorite. As I’ve mentioned before, all of the travel sets from the brand are incredibly well made, and basically magic: even after overnight flights, I emerge from the plane, looking completely put-together.
It’s one of my favorite purchases ever, so I wanted to try and make it work for winter travel, too.
My first issue is that cropped pants + long wool coats don’t always work well (from a proportion standpoint). And while I can usually figure it out (especially with denim), there was something about cropped sweatpants + wool coats that completely defeated me. Literally none of my wool coats worked. Solution? Puffer.
The second issue I had was with bare ankles in winter. I simply couldn’t figure out how to wear cropped sweatpants, sneakers, and socks. No matter what I tried, it was just too much sock. I’ll leave this problem to Gen Z. Solution? UGGs
The final look? Voila…
This look works! I could easily add socks for extra warmth, and I did have to mess with the puffer a bit. My ivory puffer was so cropped that the longer hemline of my Frank & Eileen caplet looked a bit silly. But when I turned to a more traditional length puffer (and one that’s especially warm & cozy) everything came together nicely.
Hope this helps, Gang. Wishing you happy, comfy, and cozy travels!