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A wrinkle-free approach to traveling

It can snag your time, ruin your photos and cramp your style on vacation: wrinkled clothes.

Depending on accommodations and trip itineraries, there may or may not be time to deal with creased clothes while traveling. Looking sharp on the road isn’t impossible and doesn’t have to be troublesome - if you pack strategically.

“If you're away from home, you might not have access to the same tools you'd normally use to fix the issue, so it's best to think ahead and pack clothing that won't easily wrinkle,” said Lindsay Weiner, a certified image consultant and former assistant stylist on TLC’s show, “What Not to Wear.”

Weiner is also the founder of StyleMeAsap.com - a company focused on helping people stylize and organize their wardrobes. She says knowing what to or what not to pack will either scrunch up or smooth out your wardrobe options on vacation.

Materials and Brands to Pack

Picking clothing made of the right type of material can make a huge difference in terms of how well the items will travel.

“Knits are often the best option for travel because they are lightweight and less likely to wrinkle,” Weiner said. “Anything with stretch in it is also perfect for travel because the Lycra helps the garment keep its shape and prevents it from wrinkling when the item is packed.”

Non-iron or wrinkle-resistant clothing is also a good option. Even though those items might become slightly creased while traveling, a quick spritz of water and a few minutes in a steamy bathroom can fix those lines quickly.

“There are also brands such as Travelsmith, Chico's and J.Jill that have clothes specifically designed for travel, so wrinkles won't be an issue with these garments,” Weiner said. “For men, Brooks Brothers, Charles Tyrwhitt, and Banana Republic all have good and varied selections of ‘no iron’ shirts and pants that are not only perfect for everyday wear, but also travel.”

Fashion experts say non-iron clothes are pre-treated to create the wrinkle-free effect. In turn, those items might require more gentle washing to retain the smooth look.

“The finish will wear off if dried with fabric softeners or if treated with specific chemicals, so people should make sure they consult their dry-cleaner about this if they send them out,” said Natalie Holloway, the co-founder of Buttoned Up Style - a New York City-based image consulting and personal shopping firm.

A wrinkle-resistant look can also be found in fashion apparel made with bamboo-blended fabrics.

From hoodies to dresses, the Aventura Clothing line features a selection of items made with rayon from bamboo.

“Although they may wrinkle some when packed, the wrinkles fall out relatively easily,” said Kathleen Williamson, the head merchandiser at Aventura Clothing. “I think what makes them great travel pieces are the fact that they are so comfortable and multi-functional; they can be worn during the day as a casual outfit, or dressed up with great accessories for a night out. Bamboo naturally has wonderful wicking properties and is partially antimicrobial - two things that are great for humid climates.”

For women who don’t want to think about which items to pack or coordinate together on vacation, the “Chick On the Go” travel wardrobe is an easy alternative. Designers of the fashion line say the seven piece combination, which includes five garments and two accessories, can create 25 different outfit combinations from loungewear to elegant social attire.

“Chick On The Go allows women to have an entire packed wardrobe at their fingertips,” said Cheryl Filkowski, the co-founder of Chick on the Go. “No need to stress over packing, no over-packing, no cumbersome luggage, no baggage fees and no possibility to arrive at your destination without your luggage. While other companies have travel friendly clothing, no one has a a whole coordinating wardrobe packed and ready to go.

“In addition, our garments do not need to be ironed or steamed. Just simply hang the garments after unpacking and wear... This allows for great recovery, stretchability and comfort.”

Putting it in the Suitcase

Instead of folding buttoned-up shirts and similar items that you would never put in a drawer at home, try rolling the items before packing them in your bag.

“Doing this is gentler on clothes and eliminates the creases caused by folding and it's also a great space saver,” Weiner said. “Wrapping clothes in plastic dry cleaning bags is also an excellent way to avoid wrinkles, as the plastic reduces the friction that causes the problem.”

Treating Clothes on Vacation

It’s not just about buying the right type of clothes or packing the proper way. After arriving at your destination, try to unpack and hang up your vacation wardrobe promptly.

“If your clothes have become wrinkled in your luggage, the downward pull of hanging up the items should fix it,” Weiner said. “For more intense wrinkles, turn your bathroom into a steamer. Hang the garment in a place that it won't get wet, then turn the shower on and make it as hot as possible. Shut the door and leave the water going for about 5-15 minutes. The room will get steamy and remove the wrinkles from the item.”

If you’re looking for a little extra help with getting rid of those lines and want to avoid using an iron, consider packing the Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray. It is available in a travel size bottle. To use, simply spray the clothing item, shake it or pull gently to release the wrinkles. 

“Combine this with the shower technique, and wrinkled clothes will definitely be a thing of the past,” Weiner said.