While travel definitely isn’t as formal as it used to be during its heyday, there are still moments in which you need to channel your inner Justin Timberlake and suit up. If you’re packing a suit for work or a wedding, you need to ensure that it arrives as wrinkle-free as possible. After all, you might have to jump right into an event that requires your best formalwear, which doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to iron. And even if you do have time, the last thing you want to do after a long day of travel is more work. This why learning how to pack a suit can be absolutely critical.
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up four different methods of folding your suit to ensure it arrives at your final destination with as few wrinkles as possible. And to further help, we’ve rounded up a few products that provide just one extra level of protection. After all, if you’re going to suit up, you want to be sure to always look your best.
Keep reading to learn how to pack suits with as few wrinkles as possible.
1. Interior Fold Suit Folding Method
This method is probably the one you’ve heard of the most. Hold your suit jacket by the top, taking the left shoulder and turning it inside out. This helps to create a sort of pocket for you to then tuck the right shoulder into. Be sure that the collar sits neatly folded and you then fold the body of the coat in half. You can tri-fold your pants and place them inside the fold if you’d like. From there, it can fit nice and neat inside a garment organizer, like this one from Eagle Creek.
Simply lay your folded jacket, slacks and dress shirts inside the organizer. The sides fold together to securely hold your formalwear in place for travel. The entire bag can be placed at the top of your suitcase right before you zip it up.
2. Use a Garment Bag
If you struggle to avoid wrinkles no matter what you do, then it’s time to discover the benefits of a garment bag. In fact, this is our preferred method for packing suits. When women order designer dresses and ball gowns from delivery services like Rent the Runway, they arrive in garment bags like these, which are designed to protect clothing during transit and avoid wrinkles at all costs. When learning how to pack suits like a pro for long flights, this is the simple travel hack you’ve been looking for.
Garment bags come in a variety of sizes and fold either once or two times (a bi-fold or a tri-fold design). For most suits, a bi-folding garment bag will suffice. The best part about this method is you can leave your suit and pants on their hangers. Simply place them inside the garment bag and secure them with the packing straps, taking care to avoid creases. You can zip up the bag, which then folds up into a smaller package for travel. This folded garment bag can easily be placed in your carry-on luggage. You can also carry it by the handles.
3. The Tri-Fold Method
If you want to learn how to pack suits properly, the tri-fold method is the most basic option. Start by laying out the jacket on a flat surface with the front facing you. Button the top button of the jacket and then flip it around so you’re looking at the back of it. From there, smooth out any wrinkles before taking the righthand side of the jacket and folding it to the middle. You’ll want to make sure the sleeve is flat before doing the same thing on the left-hand side. Finally, fold the jacket in half so that the bottom of the jacket is just touching the top of the collar.
From there, the suit jacket, dress shirt and a folded set of pants will fit nicely into something like a packing cube, such as these from eBags. You may need to folding your suit jacket a few times to ensure the optimum fold. Once you’re happy with your work, gently place it inside a packing cube and place it inside your suitcase.
4. The Roll Method
The third way of folding your jacket starts in the same fashion as the first method: take the left shoulder of your jacket and turn it inside out, taking the right sleeve into the shoulder pocket. Now instead of folding it over itself, place it on a hard surface and roll it up like a burrito. However, do it with a medium amount of tension, as you don’t want it to be loose enough that it will come undone or tight enough that it starts to wrinkle. You can absolutely roll your pants into this as well. From there, you can put it into a stuff sack like this one from Sea to Summit and then place it into your bag so it stays together nice and neat.
Of course, if you pack your suitcase so tightly that the bag gets squished between your other items, your suit may get wrinkled despite your best efforts. The same goes for the other methods we discussed above. To avoid this, avoid overpacking your suitcase. Place your rolled or folded suitcase on the top of your other belongings; make sure there’s enough room left in the bag to avoid pressure once you zip up the suitcase.
Pro Tip: Use Hard-Body Luggage When Flying
Finally, we have one last tip: whenever possible, opt for hard-bodied suitcases when traveling with a suit. The more flexible your luggage, the more likely you are to get wrinkles in transit. A hard-shell suitcase will help prevent wrinkles from forming in your suit.
AmazonBasics makes a great, affordable hardside suitcase. As long as you don’t overpack, luggage like this will help avoid wrinkles while you travel.