When I moved to New York City fresh out of my college graduation cap and gown, I did so with a 70-pound suitcase, a heart full of Carrie Bradshaw clichés, and a pair of black leather peep-toe stilettos. That was my first and last brush with trying to emulate the impossibly chic world of celebrity airport style. (It’s practically impossible to wrangle a heavy suitcase in stilettos and still look stylish).
With the physical and mental scars from trying to turn the terminal into my own personal runway (stiletto-induced blisters are no joke), the constant snaps of Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardasian, Karlie Kloss, and the rest of the jet-setting celebs looking impeccable with their carry-ons in tow always have pissed me the eff off. Do they slip into sneakers once they ditch the paparazzi at security? And if they don’t, can us mere mortals live up to their airport-style standards? On my most recent flight, I set out to find out the answer to at least one of those questions.
I decided to ditch my typical jeans-flats-and-scarf combo for an attempt at a more elevated (read: impractical) airport aesthetic. After flipping through a few dozen celeb photos, I decided to put my own spin on a classic Kim Kardashian look: a leave-little-to-the-imagination body con dress, strappy sandals, and my best don’t-look-at-me-I’m-famous shades.
Shay Mitchell shows us what’s in her travel bag:
Since my naïve move to Manhattan, I’ve learned a couple of things: Namely that if you’re going to travel in heels, they should at least have a solid base as opposed to a spike, which is why I skipped Kim’s usual stilettos in favor of a more comfortable stacked heel. I also chose a dress forgoing Kim’s standard low neckline, since on this particular trip, my mom was driving me to the airport (you’re welcome, mom).
Heading into the line at security, I was already cursing Kim’s airport style. Since I spend a good amount of time in airports, I like to be as speedy as possible—not so easy when your dress is so tight, it limits your range of motion. Thus, I toddled my way to the TSA agent.
Next obstacle: the shoes. I always factor slip-ons into my airport outfit plans so that I can slide back into my shoes and scoot out of the security line in a jiff. However, when I selected my comfiest heels for this look, I forgot they also have pain in the ass laces. By the time this dawned on me I was already holding up the line, trying not to fall over in my supertight dress while unlacing my high-maintenance heels.
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After finally making it to my gate, I mentally prepared for the next challenge: maneuvering my overstuffed carry-on into the overhead bin. Before boarding, I began testing out my range of motion in the second-skin dress while crossing my fingers that the stacked lace-up heels would at least provide some stability as I balanced a few dozen pounds on my head. When they called my zone, I was not feeling optimistic.
That’s when it dawned on me. In painstakingly selecting my airport outfit, I’d forgotten the one accessory all stylish celebs travel with: the manservant. With my trusty bodyguard in tow, I’d have all the assistance I needed to get through security smoothly. And he’d be right there to help me hoist my belongings seamlessly into the proper storage compartment. Perhaps he’d even commandeer one of those VIP golf carts I always see zipping between gates to save me from hoofing it from one end of the terminal to the other in heels. With help, the model-worthy airport style thing doesn’t seem so impossible.
Of course, I do not have a bodyguard to accompany me on my travels and I was left to fend for myself as I stowed my carry-on (which I luckily managed to do without taking out any of my seatmates). In the end, I thought I did pretty well. So as a reward, I treated myself to a cab ride home—it was no black car service, but I felt as lavish as Kim all the same.
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