THERE was a time when the daily commute would imprint concertina-like creases down a neat A-line skirt.
Or the simple act of hanging your handbag over your shoulder would screw up a crisply ironed shirt. Not to mention the state your capsule wardrobe would be reduced to after a short trip in a suitcase.
But at last the fashion world seems to realise that busy women need smart, low-maintenance clothes that look as perfect at the end of the day as they did at the beginning.
So does new fabric technology mean you can toss the steam iron away? We put this new anti-wrinkle wardrobe to the scrunch test …
1. DRESS WITH FLARE
Black and tan dress, £139, winserlondon.com
This is cut to flatter the body — nipping in at the waist to accentuate curves. Part of Winser’s Miracle Collection of dresses that are designed to be worn all day without creasing, it’s made from stretchy jersey and has hidden pockets.
SCRUNCH TEST: Creases smooth away instantly.
2. SERENE IN GREEN
Ponte jacket, £98, and dress, £58.80, boden.co.uk
This emerald green jacket from Boden looks more expensive than it is, thanks to its ponte fabric (viscose, polymide and elastane mix) — a robust version of jersey. As the fabric is knitted, it springs back into shape.
SCRUNCH TEST: The jacket is instantly crease-free. The dress you’ll need to shake out and hang for an hour.
3. FROM DAY TO NIGHT
Aubergine lace detail dress, £99, winserlondon.com
A perfectly fitted, stretchy Italian ponte dress (viscose, nylon and elastane) with a Guipure thicker lace detail on one shoulder. Pleats across the tummy flatter, while the plum colour is perfect for work but smart enough for a cocktail party.
SCRUNCH TEST: Any creases disappear within a few minutes of wear.
4. PRISTINE SHIRTS
Polka dot shirt, £39, orvis.co.uk
UK company Orvis, which specialises in outdoor and country wear, has a range of wrinkle-free clothing. The shirts are made from a cotton poplin and wrinkle-resistant fibre mix which makes them breathable.
SCRUNCH TEST: Creases take a while to go, but super-comfortable.
5. CLEVER CREPE
Sky blue Alma dress, £265, thefoldlondon.com
CRUNCH TEST: The dress falls back into shape quickly
This crepe dress is made from a mix of 75 per cent triacetate and 25 per cent polyester, so any creases caused by sitting down soon fall out.
SCRUNCH TEST: The dress falls back into shape quickly.
6. TWEEDY TWIST
Tweed knit dress, £295, thefoldlondon.com
SCRUNCH TEST: It needs a shake, but once on, creases fall out
Imagine the joy of pulling this out of your luggage, shaking it and then slipping it on. Made from an Italian multi-coloured tweed cotton mix, it looks heavy but is surprisingly light.
SCRUNCH TEST: It needs a shake, but once on, creases fall out.
7. VELVET TOUCH
Crushed velvet dress, £25, topshop.com
Well, one way of guaranteeing a dress will look great is if the creases are meant to be. This slinky cocktail dress is made from polyester velvet. While more suited to a whippet-thin youngster, it would look elegant under a black jacket.
SCRUNCH TEST: Bullet-proof.
8. SPRINGS INTO SHAPE
Suit with trousers, £149 and jacket, £349, meandem.com
SCRUNCH TEST: Smooths itself out instantly
This smart navy suit has a zip-up jacket (polyester, viscose, elastane mix) which holds its form even when rolled up and shoved into a bag. The trousers are a lighter polyester and viscose mix.
SCRUNCH TEST: Smooths itself out instantly.
9. SMOOTH OPERATOR
Navy dress with red bow detail, £68.60, boden.com
Looks like stiff wool but is made from machine-washable ponte.
SCRUNCH TEST: Picks up a wrinkle or two when folded, but these fall out after half an hour of wear.
10. BE A DIVA IN RED
Skirt, £35, marksandspencer.com
Although M&S has no specific crease-free women’s collection, it builds hassle-free fabrics into all its ranges. This wool and viscose skirt is designed to shake out.
SCRUNCH TEST: Smooth it back into shape with your hands.
11. FITS LIKE A MIRACLE
Blue lace Miracle Dress, £189, winserlondon.com
This has an overlay of thick Guipure lace and beneath that a sleeveless ponte shift.
SCRUNCH TEST: The lace overlay shakes out, but the ponte shift needs to be hung before wearing.
12. SHAKE ’N’ SHIMMER
Sequined pencil skirt, £29.99, zara.com/uk
The sequins and metallic polyester fibres in this skirt are so fine, they fold into nothing.
SCRUNCH TEST: It fell into place soon after putting it on.
13. CRISP CASUAL LOOK
Floral blazer, £120, boden.com
This semi-fitted floral jacket is perfect to throw on over a T-shirt. The crease-free fabric, in a viscose, polyamide and elastane, means it will never look shabby.
SCRUNCH TEST: A quick shake and any creases simply fall away.
14. HEAVY-DUTY DENIM
Dress, £275, lkbennett.com
SCRUNCH TEST: This dress is bulky so needs to be shaken and hung for half an hour — after which it really is pristine
New denim fabric mixes can make the perfect holiday clothes. This button-through dress is smart enough for both day and night.
SCRUNCH TEST: This dress is bulky so needs to be shaken and hung for half an hour — after which it really is pristine.