- Totes Micro Umbrella ($12), I have 3: a black and white houndstooth check, red Asian print, and a leopard. These aren't the best umbrellas but at a convention I merely need something that fits in my purse to protect my hair during the mad dash between hotels.
- Glasses case: houses either my sun glasses (when I'm inside) or my regular glasses (when I'm outside). This leopard one I picked up at Ross for $5, I'm always looking for ones that aren't too big yet stiff for added protection.
- Scarf: I carry a small square headscarf for the same reason as the umbrella, only with wind in mind. During travel, I use it for packing my hats. I collect scarves from thrift stores, at this point I pretty much have one in every color. When desperate, they also work as a napkin.
- Mini sewing kit ($3). Since I wear vintage, it's necessary for me to repair on the go. A good kit from a hotel often works fine for travel, but I make up my own with extra straight pins, safety pins of variable sizes, folding sewing scissors (they seem to get through TSA) and a multi-thread braid I picked up at a boutique craft shop ~ different color for every repair.
- Breath mints, I like Altoids minis and lately I've been trying Kissing Elixir's vanilla mint spray. Not strictly fashion related but necessary. In my Altoids tin, I also include pain killers and an additional couple safety pins, as the tin comes out with me on my rounds.
- Mini clear nail polish top coat, for repairing nylons. I struggled to find a tiny one and ended up having to buy a sample kit just to get the really small bottle. It's worth it to avoid TSA and having to separate my liquids out of this kit for flight.
- Zip clip for badge ($4, but there are fancier ones). I hate hate hate badge lanyards at conventions. They are inevitably ugly colors and rest exactly over the Rack in a flappy inconvenient overly eye-catching manner. So I carry a zip clip, designed with a metal clip to go over a belt or pocket. I sometimes clip it to my neckline or, better, on my purse instead of my person. That way I can show it to people as needed but I can flip it to the back of the bag for photos. (I know, this defeats the purpose of a name tag. But I have yet to meet a convention that prints the name big enough to actually read as one struggles with small talk, so why mar a perfectly decent outfit?) Mine is actually loosing its snap, so I need to invest in a new one. That is is the biggest issue, much attention it put into the cip part, not enough into the snap. Bad designers.
- Necklace pen $20. I am rarely seen without it during daylight hours of a convention (and it gets lots of compliments).
- Necklace watch, similar $20. Since I don't wear a watch but I like to be on time to panels this one is usually on me (for steampunk events) or in my bag. (Occasionally I'll use my phone.)
- Cravat pin AKA stiff short hatpin. These are hard to find, I'm always looking for the really stiff sharp ones. What passes for hat pins in the dealers room of most steampunk conventions, I am sad to say, wouldn't hold down a dead butterfly. Mine are all vintage. This 1960s one is my favorite and most sturdy.
- Emergency emery board. Mine came from a hotel kit. But I've been known to break a bigger one in half and carry the end with me.
- Shoe blister kit. Contains blister band-aids, regular band-aids and back-up shoe inserts.
- Extra badge ribbons, collected from various cons and gifts from friends.
|Kingsley Silver Mesh Travel/Cosmetic Bag Set (3 Piece) $14|
|Travelon Set of 7 Packing Envelopes, Assorted Sizes $14|
Or the best of both worlds the mesh reenforced plastic storage bag:
|Set of Three Mesh Storage Plastic Bags with White Zipper (also with red zipper) $9|
- The obligatory Tide Stain Pen ($8 for 3). Yes I carry one, but it's in my everyday bag because I have it with me at all times. The most important thing to remeber with the Tide pen and vintage is that once you have used the pen on a stain, the garment should not be dry cleaned (the chemicals may react badly with stain remover) but laundered/hand-washed instead. Just FYI.
- Small bottle of Fabreze. I transfer to a tiny spay bottle that goes with my toiletries. I only use this in cases of emergency when it turns out I will have to wear a dress more than once in a row. In which case I turn the garment inside out, spray only smelly areas, and let dry on the hanger overnight before I wear it again.
- For longer trips I packa few Woolite Travel Laundry Soap packets, perfect for washing the smalls in a hotel sink.
- Small travel lint roller, or just a bit of masking tape.
- Spare gloves, especially if I'm wearing white ones. They soil so easily I usually include an extra pair for events. In daily life I carry a leather pair with me at all times, my hands get cold at the drop of a hat (pun intended).
Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.