The Travel Outfit That Will Let You Breeze Through Airport Security

After years of fine-tuning, I may have just mastered the art of dressing for airport security.

It wasn’t easy, mind you. For many years, my travel uniform consisted of jeans, a belt, a white T-shirt and sneakers. But my belt would always set off the alarm, my sneakers were cumbersome to slip off and my jeans made it difficult to get comfortable once I was onboard. Not to mention the stains that would build up on my crisp white tee after 36 hours of international travel.

Then there was the jeggings-and-boots phase. But try getting in and out of knee-high motorcycle boots while juggling a laptop and boarding pass. Not fun.

Now, my go-to travel outfit is comfortable, stylish and allows me to zip through airport security in the time it previously took to zip up those godforsaken boots. Here’s what it consists of.

Note: This post is geared toward women, but men may be able to glean some tips from it too.T-shirt dress
A long-sleeved t-shirt dress can keep you warm on cold flights, but adapts well to warm climates – perfect for that mid-winter getaway to the Bahamas. I wear the Holstee Dress in black, which is made from a comfortable blend of hemp and organic cotton and contains a handy pocket for my passport and boarding pass. Plus, the dress folds into its own pocket for easy packing later in the trip.

Black leggings
A great pair of black leggings is a travel essential. What other item of clothing transitions seamlessly from the airplane to the opera to a yoga class to bed? The Ibex Energy Tight is a splurge, but its blend of Merino wool, nylon and lycra is made for warmth and movement. Plus, it’s odor-resistant.

A versatile wrap
A great wrap can easily go from a hoop scarf for the airport to a blanket for the flight. The Versalette from {r}evolution apparel may just be the most versatile of them all, with buttons and drawstrings that allow it to be worn in more than 20 different ways. The Infinity Scarf from KCA by Fashioning Change, made in Los Angeles from a cotton-hemp blend, is another great option.

Slip-on shoes
Forget pesky laces and zippers. A great pair of slip-on shoes isn’t just comfortable, it also makes the security screening process much easier. TOMS are a great bet, and some of their new winter versions even contain a soft fleece lining for chilly flights.

Additional tip
When loading your belongings at the TSA checkpoint, place your shoes/belts/jewelry into the first bin, your laptop/toiletries in the second bin and your bags last. That way, you can redress while the rest of your items are still being screened.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user Inha Leex Hale, Holstee, {r}evolution apparel]

‘The Hop’ Takes Suitcases Hands-Free

Thanks to a new suitcase called “Hop,” lugging your carry-on bag around the airport could get a wee bit simpler. Utilizing the Bluetooth connectivity in your telephone, the suitcase can wheel after its owner all on its own. The suitcase robot even tells the owner if it has gotten lost; the owner’s phone will vibrate if the suitcase loses Bluetooth connectivity.

We think this is an ingenious idea, provided the suitcase can keep up with us running to catch a tight connection.

This isn’t the first robot suitcase to be developed, however. Now, if only it could lift itself into the overhead compartment as well.

[Thanks to @wanderlust13 for alerting us via Twitter]

MUJI To Open First West Coast Store In San Francisco This Fall

California design junkies rejoice: Japanese retailer MUJI recently announced that it will open its first West Coast location in San Francisco‘s SOMA district this fall. With 7,250 square feet of retail space, the new store will be the fifth and largest MUJI location in the United States.

MUJI has developed a cult following in the design community for producing simple, functional lifestyle items that are high on quality and low in price. The MUJI retail environment mirrors this streamlined approach, with spare design, soft lighting and Zen music in each of the chain’s four New York City locations.

While the store sells everything from notebooks to frying pans to organic cotton T-shirts, travelers will be especially pleased to find a wide range of well-designed travel accessories. The store’s assortment of bags, pouches, cases, bottles, containers and dividers will revolutionize the way you pack, as well as introduce a touch of Japanese simplicity into your travel experience.

[Flickr image via Stephen Spencer]

Charge Your Electronics On The Go With Your T-Shirt

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly on the go when traveling, never having time to charge your electronics? You won’t have to worry about missing that snapshot because of a dead camera battery again, as researchers from the University of South Carolina have discovered a way to turn everyday T-shirts into chargeable power packs.

The way it works is fluoride chemicals are baked into the material of the shirt in an oxygen-less atmosphere with high temperatures. This allows the shirt to hold electric energy, turning it into a portable charger. The research is being lead by engineering professor Xiaodong Li and post-doctorate researcher Lihong Bao, who says the process doesn’t change the shirts’ texture, and enables them to charge items thousands of times. Additionally, the charging method is eco-friendly.

“Previous methods used oil or environmentally unfriendly chemicals as starting materials,” said Li. “Those processes are complicated and produce harmful side products. Our method is a very inexpensive, green process.

The Next Must-Have Adventure Gear? The ‘Invisible’ Bike Helmet

Hate traveling with a bulky, plastic bike helmet? Say hello to the Hövding Bike Helmet, an ingenious invention out of Sweden that takes up only a sliver of space in your luggage and activates only upon impact, much like a car’s airbag.

Reminiscent of the zippered collar of an athletic jacket, the scarf-like Hövding contains a folded-up “invisible” nylon hood whose trigger mechanisms are controlled by sensors that pick up on the abnormal movements of the bike rider wearing it. The sensors are charged via USB port.Admittedly, the inflated hood does look a bit dorky, despite the lovely Swedish model wearing it. Then again, helmet head could become a thing of the past once the Hövding takes off. Another stylish aspect of this space-saving design is that its shell is interchangeable, allowing bikers to match the collar with their outfits.

I would run out and get a Hövding immediately, but there are two problems. One: it’s sold only in Sweden and the United Kingdom. Two: it currently retails for around $560.

Once the price comes down for the Hövding, do you think you’d buy it to augment or replace your travel gear? Tell us in the comments!