this thing's incredible

The Travel Steamer That Lives in One Stylist’s Carry-On

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor, Getty Images

It is a well-known fact among my friends and family that I have an obsession (or borderline compulsion) with smoothing out wrinkles. I can’t stand a crinkled dress, sweater, or even a T-shirt. Sometimes, when no one is home, I even press my sheets (one day I will own a rotary iron).

An obsession with pressed clothes is an occupational concern, too — I work as a fashion editor and stylist — and this summer, after becoming fed up with travel steamers that never fully cleared wrinkles to my exacting standards on photo shoots, I decided to spring for a more serious version while prepping for a job on location at Bonnaroo.

After doing some research, I bought the Rowenta X-Cel Steamer DR8080 and have never looked back. It weighs a mere 2.2 pounds and has all the functions a versatile steam tool requires. Unlike wimpy versions that puff more than steam, the X-Cel sports a wide stainless steel head that blasts powerful bursts of hot mist. It’s got a fabric brush for releasing wrinkles from delicates like silk and cashmere, plus a lint pad to clear wool sweaters and suits of travel fuzzies. And on long shoots, you really appreciate its thumb-saving ergonomic design (unlike overhead triggers on flimsier models, the trigger on the X-Cel is positioned under the steam head for you to pull with your index and middle fingers). In the end, we had a full-size steamer at Bonnaroo but didn’t even need it. Now, I don’t travel without the X-Cel, though I do wish it came with its own travel pouch (I’ve been keeping it in a shoe bag). I’ve used it on everything from suits and silks for destination weddings to slipcovers and sheets at home — I’ve even broken it out to give jeans a little polish.

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The Travel Steamer That Lives in One Stylist’s Carry-On