Build a better travel wardrobe

Like most monochromatic capsule wardrobes, Chick on the Go could easily escape notice.

But lucky for me, I took a second look at the black matte jersey pants and decided they had potential. They were way too long, but the wide-legged, high-waisted silhouette (with narrow elastic band that's invisible under any top) fit otherwise. I had them hemmed, and I was hooked.

I'd pay $99 for just these pants, but that is the new low-low price for the entire seven-piece Chick on the Go set, targeted to women who want a backup outfit in the event their luggage is lost or their clothing meets with misadventures.

Included in the Chick on the Go mini garment bag are the following:

•Black pants.

•Sleeveless off-white crewneck top.

•Black slip dress.

•Long-sleeve off-white V-neck shirt.

•Black poncho, which can convert to a blouse or skirt.

•Two sashes (black and off-white), which can create a belt, scarf or headpiece.

Soft, flattering, forgiving, versatile — and chic with my favorite inexpensive high-wedge sandals from Vera Wang's Simply Vera line at Kohl's — the pants deserve regular rotation not just in a travel carry-on but also any summer wardrobe. I see no reason to put them away come fall, though they're too lightweight for a Northern winter. The other garments in the kit are plain but a fine canvas for accessories. Each is nestled inside zip pockets within the clutch-size Chick on the Go case, which rolls up to weigh less than 4 pounds.

Founder Silvia Allegrini said she created Chick on the Go after one trip to Italy when her luggage didn't arrive until seven days after she did. She envisioned a carry-on capsule wardrobe for travel that could double as a first-aid kit at home, in the event of a coffee spill, split seam or other wardrobe emergency.

"Friends of mine keep it in their desk drawer at the office — mothers keep it in the trunk of their cars," she said. "It's also a lot of fun. You can get so many different styles out of it."

The kit launched as an infomercial product in 2011, but Allegrini wasn't satisfied with the quality of the fabric, said her business partner, Cheryl Filkowski, so they upgraded the material and abandoned the infomercial venue.

That decision elevated the retail price to $289 until recently, when Filkowski said an increase in sales and a decision to stop wholesaling in favor of selling exclusively through the website yielded substantial cost savings without compromising quality.

To fit a range of body types, all pieces are free of buttons and zippers, and are made of 95 percent rayon jersey and 5 percent spandex. Sizes range from XS to XL, plus size 1 (for sizes 16-18) and size 2 (for 18-20).

"We deliberately leave the length of the pants on the longer side for the taller women as well as for the women who like to wear heels," Filkowski said. "Hemming is an easy solution when the pants are too long, but there is no solution when the pants are too short."

Even factoring in that post-purchase expense, Chick on the Go is still a deal at $99. If the website,, lists a higher price, type promo code NINETYNINE.

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