How to pack with panache

Historically, travel hasn't been fashion-friendly. No matter how you pack, your clothes are destined for Wrinkleville. And that expensive bottle of perfume in your checked bag is likely to arrive broken or not at all.

But fret not. Designers and cosmetic companies have taken note, launching mini-sized, wrinkle-free or collapsible products that help travelers stay fashionable while jet-setting.

"So many designers and companies are conscious of travel-friendly fabrics and products," said Stephanie Bradshaw, a stylist based in Cockeysville. "And cosmetics have certainly come a long way — particularly in the past few years."

Wrinkle-free clothing has been downright hideous in the past. Not anymore. Designers such as Jude Connally and Desiqual offer colorful, trendy clothes that will hold up to the bumps of travel. And you don't have to go far to find them — local boutiques have stocked up with plenty of the fashionable threads.

At Trillium, a high-end boutique in Green Spring Station, some of the best-selling items are travel-friendly, said owner Sima Blue.

"Most of my customers travel a lot," Blue said. "They go back and forth to their second homes. They travel abroad. They want to look good when they travel."

Travel-friendly selections at Trillium include wrinkle-free raincoats by Mycra Pac, cashmere ruanas by Minnie Rose and wash-and-go T-shirts by Michael Stars.

"These clothes are great because they are great on the plane," Blue said. "They are easy to pack. And they don't take up a lot of room."

Frances Burress, owner of the Fells Point boutique Caviar and Cobwebs, carries Desiqual, a popular line of clothing based in Spain that happens to be wrinkle-free.

"The colors are bold and beautiful," Burress said. "They are washable, and they hold up very well."

She said the line has a distinct European feel that allows wearers to stand out in a crowd.

"They are contemporary, and they fit people," said Burress, who added that the designer has lines for men, women and children. "Their styles are for folks from 8 to 80."

Octavia II, a boutique in Cross Keys, carries Jude Connally, an American line that touts its wash-and-wear clothing.

"You can just throw them in your bag and go," said owner Betsy Wendell, who was wearing one of the designer's dresses. "They don't wrinkle. I've slept in this dress. It looked just the same when I got out of bed. They are perfect for travel."

In the past, customers would scoff at the thought of wearing wrinkle-free clothing, Wendell said. Those times have changed.

"The clothes have gotten much better," she said. "These clothes work into everyone's busy lifestyle."

Cosmetics companies have also made changes to their products, mostly as a result of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Since the Transportation Security Administration limits the amount of liquid passengers can take in their carry-on luggage, a number of companies — including cosmetics giant MAC — have launched travel-size products that meet airline regulations.

Travalo is a fairly new product that allows travelers to transport smaller amounts of perfume on airplanes. Other companies are offering new features aimed at protecting a product's pricey contents. Burberry, the luxury clothing line that also has a line of cosmetics, now offers lipstick packaged in magnetized gunmetal tubes to prevent spillage during travel.

Stylist Bradshaw likes the new offerings for cosmetics and clothing. She said the latest advances have left travelers with no excuses to look sloppy when they are on vacation.

"It's just as easy to put on a pretty dress as it is to put on your juicy sweat suits," said Bradshaw, who added that the days of T-shirts, sneakers and khaki shorts are over. "Why not chose to be pretty? Pretty is fun. It also communicates to the rest of the world how you feel about yourself."

Miles of style

Cockeysville stylist Stephanie Bradshaw suggests packing these fashionable and practical items for a trip:

Scarf: "I always carry a scarf with me when I travel," Bradshaw says. "Sometime you get cold on the plane." When you arrive at your destination, scarves are perfect to dress up an outfit. "You can put a scarf on any outfit and look chic in two seconds," she adds.

Sensible shoes: Pack the more flexible shoes, and wear the bigger shoes on the plane, Bradshaw says. She also suggests that you put any sparkly shoes in a plastic bag so that the glitter doesn't get on your clothing.

Fashionable bag with a comfortable handle: "I would like to take something a little more chic," Bradshaw says. Pick a bag with a supple, durable leather handle, according to Bradshaw. "It won't dig into your skin," she says.

A good cosmetics bag: Alicia Silverstone's eco-friendly cosmetics bag works because it's a good size for fitting everything for a weekend getaway, says Bradshaw. "It's not too big and not too small. The fact that it is fabric means that it can squish down in your travel bag."

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