The Evolution of Attire on Planes

Airplane aisle during a flight
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Traveling by plane has been mainstream for nearly a century, and we’re still learning how to dress accordingly. Considering the fact that we often are required to sit for hours on end inside a metal tin thousands of miles in the air, it’s important to be prepared. Interestingly enough, the common passenger’s attire has changed over the years, and here’s how it evolved.

The Fancy Look

Back when airplanes were still something relatively new, flying was something only the wealthy did. A plane was considered a true luxury, and thus people wore suits, ties, and fancy dresses. Nowadays, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a suit and tie on a plane, but let’s just say it’s less common.

Business Casual

As the years went on, and flights were more affordable to the common person, the attire was a lot more casual. And yet, people still sought to maintain an image of looking presentable. Jeans and slacks became totally fine, as well as polo shirts and plaid button-downs.


Nowadays, we’ve gone full pajama status. Sure, many people still dress business casual, and some also fancily at times. But you also get plenty of people wearing sweatpants, thermals, and tee shirts. These days, it doesn’t really matter what you wear, as long as you’re comfortable while remaining respectable.