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Wrinkle Free Clothes When Traveling

How to look neat and fresh, even when living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time

When traveling, you want to pack
as little clothing as possible,
which means you'll need to wash
and reuse items.

These new fabrics allow you to
wash without the need for
pressing. Your clothes look fresh
for each subsequent wearing, like
the shirt and trousers pictured
on the left.

New generation textiles can free you from the costs and hassles of using hotel laundry and dry cleaning services. You can hand wash them and have them dry wrinkle free.

These items are also more likely to emerge from your suitcase crisp and fresh.

 

Travel Clothing

I've always been a bit suspicious of 'travel clothing', suspecting it to be too formal for casual wear, and too casual for formal wear, and overpriced for both! So it was with some uncertainty that I ordered a shirt and pair of trousers from Magellan's. The pricing seemed good, but I wondered about the actual quality and functionality.

My shirt and trousers arrived a couple of days later, and to my delight, both items proved to be perfect for both business and 'smart casual' wear.

The shirt was made of a 2-ply combed cotton - not quite sure what that means, but it looks and feels nice.

The trousers were of a stretch microfiber that is a combination of poly, viscose and lycra.  The description sounds like some sort of paint, but again, the trousers look and feel nice.

Shirts are available in a mix of different collar and sleeve lengths, so it was easy to get one that was exactly the right size.  They come in five different colors, from classic white to a more casual buttercream or blue.

The shirt has an excellent feature - two spare buttons sewed on to it.  This can be invaluable in an 'emergency' while traveling.

The trousers come in a variety of different waist/leg lengths, and also have a feature that allowed me to continue to pretend a 36" waist size was all I needed.  This extra feature is a hidden bit of elastic/stretch in the waistband, enabling you to still fit into the trousers even when they're really a bit too tight - for example, towards the end of a cruise and after too many midnight chocolate buffets!

The lycra component of the trousers gives the fabric a bit of stretch, which helps to make them both more comfortable and also more stretch resistant while wearing them.  For example, you can be seated in a plane for several hours, then get up and go to a meeting with your trousers still looking fresh, not crumpled.

They have four pockets, with buttons on the back two pockets, and good strong linings.

The trousers are available in three colors, all of which are good neutral colors that can be matched with a range of shirts and jackets.

Torture Testing

I crumpled up the shirt and trousers and then dumped them into my washing machine, added washing powder, and gave them a full wash and spin dry cycle.

I noticed an interesting thing when taking them out of the washing machine.  They were already nearly dry, unlike normal washing which is still drip damp.  Magellan's confirm they choose special materials that dry more readily - something that is invaluable when you're in hotel rooms without a proper clothes drying system.

I then hung them up on hangers on my shower curtain rail.  Next, and inadvertently, the curtain rail collapsed and they crumpled and were lying on the floor for an hour or so before I noticed and picked them up again!

Finally, when they were dry, I studied them carefully for wrinkles.

Seeing is believing. Click the
picture above to see a large image
of my shirt after I washed it.

The lines on it are caused by
how it is hanging on the
hangar, they are not wrinkles.



Click the picture above for a large
image of my wrinkle-free trousers
after I washed them.

I'd rate the shirt about an 8 out of 10 for being wrinkle free. It was apparent that it was not starched and pressed, but it was almost wrinkle free with just some soft shading suggesting the lack of commercial pressing. The cuffs and collar all looked perfect.

Being as how my usual standard of hand-washed-in-a-hotel-room shirt is more like a 3 out of 10, I judged this to be a great success.

I'd happily wear the shirt without any embarrassment and without feeling the need to keep my jacket tightly buttoned up at a meeting to hide the shirt creasing that would otherwise be present!

As for the trousers, I'll rate them at 9 out of 10 for the quality of their appearance and lack of any wrinkles or crumpling. They are close to indistinguishable from perfectly pressed, and - amazingly - even retained sharp creases on the legs.

How it works

Wrinkle free clothing is nothing new, and not always anything special, either. Most other wrinkle free clothing has the anti-wrinkle treatment applied before the garments are sewn. The thread does not have the anti-wrinkling in it, and so after washing, the threads can distort and encourage wrinkling.

Magellan's products, new this year, have special anti-wrinkling treatments applied after the garments have been completed, so that every part, including the threads, linings, etc, are all wrinkle free. This really makes a difference.

Unlike some types of spray on treatments, the special process that Magellan's use is long lasting, and should keep your clothes wrinkle free as long as you continue to wear them.

Amazingly, the sharp creases in my trousers will also remain sharp for an extended time, even with repeated washing and wearing.

Ooops - a bad choice of jacket

I tried a Transatlantic Travel Jacket from Duluth Trading Co.  This blazer style jacket was described as not needing ironing, but upon receiving it from Duluth, it was massively wrinkled, and simply hanging it up didn't do much to cause the wrinkles to disappear by themselves.

I managed to somewhat iron the jacket, and tried wearing it a couple of times, but the fit was poor, and the sleeves in particular were really strange, with an extra band around the cuff at the end, like someone had realized the sleeves were too short and so sewed on another inch of material.

By some surprising coincidence, one of the other people traveling with me on one of my group tours had the exact same jacket.  He didn't like his jacket either, but confessed he had no fashion sense.  We polled the various women in the group, and after an initial polite hesitation, all told us they didn't like the style or fit of our jackets.

Alas - a good idea in theory, but a bad choice in practice.  Not recommended.

Women's clothing, too

For obvious reasons I didn't test wear any of the women's clothing items!  But Magellan's also have a wide range of similar products suitable for women; including similar blouses and pants, and additional coordinated sets, too.

Links to specific products are in the Resource section below.

Two ways to remove wrinkles from your clothes

Clothes get crumpled and creased both from washing and also, almost unavoidably from packing.  Even my new shirt had some gentle crease marks when I first unfolded it out of its package.

Here are two tricks to minimize the wrinkles in your regular clothing.

The first trick has some devout believers, but some skeptics, too.  However, try it and see.  Depending on your crease and crumple tolerance level, it might work for you.

Hang crumpled clothes in the bathroom, and have a nice long hot steamy shower, making the whole room very humid and moist.  Some people find that this treatment softens the creases sufficiently as to make them no longer objectionable.

I use this as an emergency solution myself.  When I do this, I'll sometimes put the shirt on while it is still probably a bit moist and soft, and hope that it will then lose its crumpling while I'm wearing it.

A better solution is to buy a portable steamer and keep it with you on your travels.  These can be very small and lightweight.  A good steamer will be multi-voltage and so can be used everywhere in the world.  You simply pour water into its container, plug it in, and after a couple of minutes, steam starts to hiss out its vents.  Paint the creases with the steam and watch them miraculously disappear.

A portable steamer can also be used as a great way to quickly heat up a single serving of water to make into a cup of coffee.

Resources

I purchased my shirt and trousers at Magellan's.  Probably other stores sell similar clothing, but with Magellan's you get the reassurance of dealing with an established company with an excellent reputation and a no-questions asked return policy.

Items for Men

Magellan's have a range of Shirts and trousers with varying degrees of wrinkle resistance and varying degrees of cost.

Magellan's also have several different models of steamers.  I recommend their dual voltage fabric steamer because it is their smallest and lightest model, and so easiest to pack.

Items for Women

Magellan's also have plenty of women's travelwear.

Summary

Wrinkle resistant clothing helps make your traveling easier in two ways.  It means you don't have to pack as many clothes to start with, and it means you can more easily and more conveniently wash your clothes while traveling without the need for hotel laundry services.

These quality items from Magellan's cost much the same as other good quality clothing made from ordinary fabrics.  So you're paying no more and getting a lot extra.

And, for when the wrinkles do get out of hand with regular clothes, or perhaps for a formal dinner on your cruise when you absolutely must be looking your finest, the portable steamer is a miracle worker.

Recommended.

Originally published 27 Aug 2004, last update 15 May 2010
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer
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