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How to pack a suit for travel and avoid wrinkling

Do you know how to pack a suit for travel and not have it turn into one big wrinkled mess? After all, the last thing that we want, whether traveling for business or pleasure, is to arrive at our destination only to discover that our nice suit has been seriously wrinkled.

Ron and I have traveled with our suits for many years now. Unfortunately, the best way to travel with a suit is simply to not put it into any piece of luggage. Period! The best thing that you can do is to transport it in a garment bag and hang it from something. That’s why when we deliver our custom suits to our clients, they are always hanging on a hook in the car. But when most of us travel, it’s on an airplane, and not in first class, where there is typically room provided for passengers to hang their jackets or coats.

So, you usually have two options. Either you wear your jacket onto the plane and wear it while seated, or you pack your suit in a bag. None of us really enjoy wearing a suit jacket during a three hour flight, but if you did, I don’t think it’s the worst idea because you would probably only see minimal wrinkling. For a short flight, taking your jacket off, gently folding it in half, and laying it across your lap is a smart move.

But most of us will need to actually pack our suits at some point. Therfore, how should you do it?

When you have a great looking suit it can be hard to find the courage to stuff it into a piece of luggage. If you’re checking your bag, your best bet is to find a piece of luggage that folds over onto itself. This way, you’re basically just folding your suit once. This is Ron’s go-to strategy and he’s had great luck with it. Here’s a great bag by David King & Co that we like. Slightly more compact, is an innovative design by Biaggi. It’s a bit of a tri-fold design. I haven’t tested it myself, but it has some great reviews and will apparently work for carry-on, although it looks a bit large for my taste.

Personally, I always pack my jacket in my carry-on luggage and stow in the overhead compartment when I fly. There are quite a few different opinions out there on how best to fold/pack a suit jacket. What I’ve learned is that the best method really depends on the jacket fabric. What has worked best for me, with my Signature Line suit, is to lightly fold my jacket in half and place on top of my other things.

How to pack a suit for travel

How to pack a suit for travel

I have a soft-sided Tumi bag and so as long as no other flyer puts anything on top of my bag, or otherwise compresses it, I’m in good shape. Then when I land, the first thing that I do is remove my jacket and put it on. If you have a hard shell piece of luggage, there’s a good chance that your jacket will be compressed and come out pretty wrinkled.

how to pack a suit in your luggage

When you arrive at your final destination, the first thing you should do is to take out your suit and hang it up. Fine quality fabrics are likely to return to their normal lengths. You can also hang your suit up in the shower and give it a bit of a steam. And if you really, really, need some help, call up the concierge and have them give it a proper steam treatment. But the thing to remember is that even a badly wrinkled suit will normally come back to life overnight.

How to pack a suit for travel, other opinions:

From Business Insider: How to pack a suit for business

From GQ: How to fold and pack a suit

Related reading:

What is a dopp kit and how to shop for one.

Some smart options on luggage.

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