Long gone are the days when all men would wear suits and ties on planes. Surely this wasn't a comfortable way to fly, but today too many men have swung in the opposite direction and arrive at the airport in clothes that look like they belong in a gym locker. Comfort is essential, especially on a long flight, but you don't have to look like a slob in order to achieve it.
You might not think about it when you're getting dressed in the morning, but choosing the right pair of underwear can make all the difference in your comfort level during a flight. Wear silky boxers, since tight or scratchy underwear may be unpleasant, and pick a pair with a soft, tagless waistband so you don't have elastic digging into you. If you're a briefs man, pick up a seamless pair so you're not squirming in your seat to rearrange things. Pull on a soft undershirt as well if you tend to run cold.
Leave the holey T-shirt at home; dress in a shirt with buttons for a plane ride. If you tend to be hot, wear a short-sleeved polo shirt, but if you're often cold or are headed to a chilly destination, wear a button-down collared shirt. Choose a shirt in a dark color, which won't show wrinkles or the coffee you might spill during unexpected turbulence. If you're traveling in business gear, take off your suit jacket and lay it on top of suitcases in the overhead compartment to keep it from wrinkling. Pull on a lightweight zip-up sweatshirt or fleece jacket if you get cold; a pullover sweater is tough to take on and off in a cramped plane.
On the Bottom
Avoid pants that wrinkle easily or you'll need to change as soon as you arrive at your destination. Any fabric made with linen is your worst enemy during a plane ride. Wear wrinkle-resistant khakis. If you're most comfortable in denim, wear a pair that fits you well at the waist and doesn't have holes. When you're on a casual trip in warm weather, another option is to wear zip-off cargo pants. Keep the pants intact during the flight; then, once you arrive at your destination, zip off the bottom parts of the pants to turn them into shorts.
If you're headed to the airport straight from work, you may not have any option but to wear your dress shoes on the plane. Do change into clean, padded socks for the most comfort, and pack a pair of slippers to pull on when you get to your seat. Discreetly wrap your shoes in a plastic bag and stow them overhead. Whatever you do, don't wear your stinkiest sneakers on board. Pack an extra zip-up sweatshirt or small fleece blanket near the top of your carry-on luggage in case you need to spread something warm over your lap. Finally, resist the urge to spritz yourself with cologne before heading to the airport. Fellow passengers will be the most appreciative if you have no distinctive odor except good old soap.