We’ve all gone on trips where we know we need to look our best. From important business trips to your sister’s destination wedding, sometimes you have to dress to impress. But there’s no point in carefully picking and coordinating your outfits if your suits will be rumpled when you reach your destination.
A wrinkled suit or blazer is more than a fashion faux pas—it’s a headache. Finding room in your suitcase for a suit is not easy, especially if you’re only bringing carry-on luggage. But even with check-in luggage and storage-conscious collapsable luggage, you can find yourself having to re-iron or steam it. This isn’t exactly how you dream of kicking off your trip in the tropics. But what if you didn’t have to?
In this guide on how to pack a suit, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to keep your suits crisp and ready to wear right out of your luggage. From turning your jacket inside out to using tissue paper, soon you’ll be packing a suit like a seasoned pro.
#1 Don’t Roll Your Dress Shirts
Rolling your clothes can seem like a no-brainer since most space-saving gurus recommend it as a tip to store your clothes more efficiently. But, in the case of nice clothes, rolling them tends to cause more problems than it solves.
While it might not be the most space-efficient option, the best way to keep your dress shirts from wrinkling when packed is to fold them the way you do for display since it helps them to hold their shape. To achieve this effect:
- Fasten all the buttons on your dress shirt before folding.
- Lay it flat on a solid surface with the sleeves out.
- Fold the sleeves towards the middle of your shirt from the halfway point of each sleeve.
- Then, fold both cuffs towards the middle as well.
- Fold your dress shirt in half, and you’re ready to go!
If you find your suitcase is a bit tight on space, you can fold the shirt again into quarters. Just remember that more folds can raise the risk of creasing.
#2 Store the Suit Separately
Unpacking your suitcase and discovering a mysterious new stain or smudge on your jacket can also be a real trip-ruiner. There are a number of obstacles in your suitcase that your suit may have to hurdle over in order to arrive safely—and stain-free. That’s why separating your suit from the rest of your belongings—like dirt-packed shoes or leaky, travel-sized bottles of shampoo—can be such a lifesaver. Learning how to pack shoes and other potentially threatening items like liquids is a challenge within itself.
The best ways to stop your suit or blazer from coming in contact with anything that could stain or ruin it during travel are by:
- Using a garment bag – If you're traveling by plane or bus and can store carry-on items, packing your suit in a garment bag is an excellent way to ensure it doesn't stain or wrinkle during the trip.
- Putting it in a laundry compartment – Choose a travel suitcase with a built-in laundry compartment that will allow you to put your suit in your bag but keep it separate from your other clothes, making sure it stays crisp and clean.
- Packing it in a dry-cleaning bag – If you don’t have a garment bag or can’t carry it on, you can always wrap your suits in the plastic bag from your dry cleaners before packing them up. It’ll provide a protective shell for your suit and a second use for an otherwise single-use piece of plastic.
Using these tips on how to pack a suit in a suitcase will stop you from stressing about all the little things that could happen to it, letting you relax and enjoy the journey.
#3 Use Tissue Paper
Believe it or not, the tissue paper stores sometimes wrap your clothes in is more than decorative. It helps stop the clothes from wrinkling when you carry them home, and it can do the same for your suits. Friction is the main culprit responsible for wrinkled clothing while you travel.1 So, naturally, less friction means less wrinkling.
That’s why expert suit-packers swear by using tissue paper. When utilized properly, it has the effect of:
- Stopping wrinkles or creases from forming
- Preventing your suit from becoming dirty
- Keeping your suit from moving during travel
To properly use tissue paper, first, fold your suit jacket or blazer and put it in your suitcase. Then, put the paper in the sleeve and shoulder areas to stop the suit from rubbing against itself and wrinkling.2 If you’re in a pinch and you don't have tissue paper at home, you can also substitute a dryer sheet—a perfect swap thanks to its anti-wrinkle properties.
#4 Wrap Your Suit Pants Around Other Clothes
Not everyone has the luxury of checking a huge bag. If space is a concern for you and you need to know how to pack a suit in a carry-on, tips that don’t consider space-saving won’t help.
Fortunately, if you are interested in learning how to pack a suitcase efficiently, there are wrinkle-free methods to pack a suit that keeps limited luggage space in mind. One such way is to wrap your suit trousers around the rest of your clothes instead of folding them. This goes hand in hand with the concept for rolling clothes for packing as opposed to folding your items. To tackle this approach:
- Drape your dress pants in the bottom of your luggage with the legs over the edge
- Pack your other clothes and necessities on top of the pants
- Wrap the hanging part of your pants back over the other clothes
If you’ve done this right, your pants will appear to be encircling your other clothes. This tip will keep your trousers fresh since there are no folds for them to crease along. And the lack of folding will help save space in your suitcase as well.
#5 Turn the Jacket Partly Inside-Out
On some business trips, you might find yourself comparing your well-polished colleagues to your rumpled blazer that won’t seem to cooperate. If you’re wondering if they know something about how to pack a suit jacket that you don’t, the answer to that question might be yes. But you can also make your suit jacket or blazer work for you once you know its secrets.
We know them, and we’re happy to spill.
Fun fact: Your suit jacket has a silky, naturally protective liner on the inside, but it won’t be of much help as long as it stays there. Turning your suit jacket partly inside-out before folding offers the following packing advantages:
- The smooth fabric stops wrinkles in their tracks
- You can tuck the shoulders together while folding to maintain the jacket’s shape
- Easier folding keeps your jacket sleeves from creasing
Once you've turned one of the sides inside out, fold the suit over and tuck the shoulders together. Then fold the suit in half lengthwise. Fold it in half again—the other way this time, with the liner facing out—and you have a wrinkle-proof jacket that will keep you looking fabulous.
#6 Fold Your Jacket and Pants Together
Big, clunky suitcases aren’t for everyone. Running to catch a bus, train, or plane is sometimes easier with a duffle bag rather than a roller suitcase thumping along behind you. To keep your suit in good shape for this type of luggage, you’ll want to follow a similar suit-hugging technique to the one mentioned above.
All you need to do is:
- Fold your jacket flat
- Lay your suit pants on a hard surface
- Put the jacket in the middle of the pants
- Wrap the top and bottom of your pants around it
Again, this method will prevent your pants from being folded sharply, making them less likely to crease and wrinkle in your bag.
#7 Use a Hard Suitcase
You’re likely familiar with waiting (sometimes impatiently) at the baggage claim or by the side of the bus while the driver unloads the luggage. But there's nothing like that sinking feeling—after waiting for what felt like hours—when you see your bag has been crushed or dented by a collision during the trip.
All your careful packing was for nothing since your belongings have surely shifted—or worse—been smashed to smithereens. There’s nothing you can do to avoid this possibility, right? Wrong.
Traveling with hard-shell luggage instead of a soft bag can have many benefits, such as:
- Stopping your clothes from being crushed
- Offering more pockets for packing
- Protecting against unexpected weather or dripping liquid
Using a hard shell suitcase can give you the confidence that your belongings will be protected from everything, no matter how you travel.
Always Look Your Best—Let BÉIS Help
When you have an important trip coming up, dress for success and keep your suit looking crisp. Whether you do that by using tissue paper or carrying your suit on with you in a separate bag, find whatever method works best for you and stick to it.
Want to turn heads whether you're traveling for business or pleasure? You pick the suit, and we’ll take care of the rest. Here at BÉIS, we offer trendy, effortlessly chic bags that pack one heck of a punch when it comes to practicality, too. From packing cubes that keep your belongings as organized as your latest spreadsheet to work totes that have pockets for laptops and lipstick, we’ve got you covered.
Pack with BÉIS for your next trip and reach a level of style and functionality that’s even more commanding than a power suit.
- Payne, Maxwell. “How to Fold Clothes for Travel.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 8 Feb. 2017, https://traveltips.usatoday.com/fold-clothes-travel-1491.html
- Kamin, Debra. “How to Expertly Pack a Suit so It Doesn't Wrinkle.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 27 Aug. 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-expertly-pack-a-suit-so-it-doesnt-wrinkle-11566922598