It seems impossible to pack a suit into a suitcase without winding up with a crumpled, sloppy mess.

Life would be so much easier if you could avoid the unwieldy garment bag and just grab a carry-on bag and go.

Fortunately, you can, even if you are bringing a suit along. There are ways you can gently fold your suit to avoid major creases and wrinkles.

No more worrying about baggage fees or waiting forever for the luggage to be unloaded from the plane.

Before Packing the Suit

One of the leading causes of a wrinkled suit after you’ve packed is overpacking. To prevent that, leave space in your bag so that your suit will have room to breathe.

plan your suit packing ahead

Therefore, the first step you should take when you need to pack a suit is to gather all the items you plan to pack.

This way, you can do a trial run of packing your bag, ensuring there’s plenty of space in your carry-on.

Your best bet is to leave the suit right on the top. That leaves less chance for your suit to get squished from the heavyweight of the other clothing.

Invest in a Good Carry-on Bag or Suitcase

It’s a good idea to have a good-quality suitcase as it will provide room to place the folded suit, along with other accessories.

If you are going with a bag over a suitcase, opt for a medium to a large-sized carry-on bag. The larger, the better, although be sure you stay within the airline’s guidelines.

invest in a good carry-on bag to pack your suit

Just be sure that you choose one with stiff sides. You’ll need this extra protection, not only for your suit but the other items you’re bringing.

Consider the Wrinkles and Creases

Plan ahead, thinking about the likelihood of your suit getting wrinkled.

leave your suit hanged after usage

Perhaps you’ll have room in your bag to include a small garment steamer; this will help remove small creases that accumulate while traveling.

Most hotels have standard irons that you’d be able to use, but a steamer may be the safer route for your suit.

how to use steamer on suit jacket

If you’re feeling wary about packing your suit and don’t trust yourself to keep it wrinkle-free, you might want to consider flying in your suit.

It may not be the most comfortable way to travel, although it sure is stylish. Remember when people used to dress up for travel?

But be aware that this will still cause some minor wrinkles.

If you decide to pack a suit, I’ll repeat this point because it’s so essential: carry your suit on top of the other clothes in your bag! It is the best way to avoid significant creasing.

How to Pack a Suit Jacket

Fortunately, you have a few options to choose from on folding your suit jacket.

Base your fold method on how much space you have, the construction of your suit jacket, and which way you feel most comfortable doing it.

Some folding techniques work very well with specific materials.

The Traditional Way

The traditional suit fold, a.k.a. the shirt-style fold, is the quickest and simplest method to fold and pack your suit.

how to fold the suit jacket: the traditional way

Keep in mind that the biggest issue with this method is the wrinkles since you’ll have to fold the suit jacket both horizontally and vertically.

  1. Spread out your suit jacket on a flat surface, facing down.
  2. Fold the jacket’s left shoulder inward toward the mid-point of the back, with the sleeves flat. This requires folding the sleeve back toward the outer edge.
  3. Do the same with the right shoulder. The sleeves should end up parallel to each other down the center of the jacket’s back.
  4. Fold the jacket in half from the bottom to the top, ending the hem just under the collar.
  5. Gently slide your hand under the suit and flip it over, lapel side up. You should have a tidy square.

Folding the Suit with a Dry-Cleaning Bag

The plastic prevents the fabric from rubbing up against other materials and itself, essentially giving your suit jacket a smoother ride with no friction.

how to fold the suit jacket in a dry-cleaning bag

It doesn’t matter if you use a cheap plastic bag from your dry cleaner or a more expensive cloth one; they both protect your fabric.

This method is excellent if you don’t have the time or patience for a more intricate fold.

  1. Hang your suit jacket inside a dry cleaning bag. Remember to use a wide, sturdy hanger.
  2. Fold from the bottom up to the collar line. Push air out from the bag without firmly pressing down on your suit jacket.
  3. Place the garment inside your suitcase. Quick and simple!

Fold the Suit with Shoulder Inside-Out

This method is very similar to the traditional fold but with a twist.

how to fold the suit jacket: shoulders inside-out method

It’s best for suit jackets and blazers with a satin or silk lining. It helps to keep the outside and the inside free of major wrinkles.

  1. Spread out your suit jacket on a flat surface, facing down.
  2. Fold the jacket’s left shoulder inward toward the mid-point of the back, with the sleeves flat. This requires folding the sleeve back toward the outer edge.
  3. Now the right shoulder should be turned inside out.
  4. Insert the left shoulder into this pocket created by the right shoulder.
  5. Bring the right sleeve toward the center.
  6. Fold the jacket in half down the center and fold the bottom up to the top.
  7. Pack the folded suit inside the suitcase. You can also move the folded piece inside a dry-cleaning bag before placing it inside the bag.

Fold the Suit with Tucked Shoulder

The tucked-shoulder fold combines the traditional and the shoulder inside-out methods.

how to fold the suit jacket: tucked-shoulder fold

It’s one of the best folding methods since it reduces the space necessary in the suitcase and the number of folds you have to perform.

  1. Hold your suit jacket up in front of you by the shoulders, with the back facing you.
  2. Turn one shoulder inside-out, toward you.
  3. Tuck the opposite shoulder into the other side.
  4. Push the shoulder as far inside as possible. That way, you will reduce the size of your suit’s jacket.
    Do not pressure the material. You’ll have to tuck in the shoulder gently to avoid creases and wrinkles.
  5. Fold the suit jacket in half from the bottom up to the top.
  6. Pack the suit jacket into your suitcase.

How to Roll Up and Pack the Suit

If you are looking for a space-saving way to pack your suit, check out this way.

how to fold and pack a suit by rolling it up

It may take some practice to be sure you are doing it without creating wrinkles, but this can work beautifully once you get it down.

  1. Hold your suit jacket up in front of you by the shoulders, with the back facing you.
  2. Turn one side inside out, toward you.
  3. Tuck the opposite side into the side that is inside out.
  4. Push it as far inside as possible, making it as small as you can.
    Remember not to force the material, however. That is a surefire way to cause creasing.
  5. Grab a shirt and roll it up lengthwise. You’ll use this as a tube to wrap your jacket around, creating stability in your roll.
    You can even pop your t-shirt roll into the shoulder of your jacket.
  6. Grip the suit up top around the shirt roll, and roll the suit down around it, creating a smooth cylinder. Keep a close eye on the fabric as it rolls to ensure it doesn’t fold over on itself.
  7. Place and pack the rolled suit into your suitcase.

How to Fold and Pack the Suit Pants

Although suit jackets tend to get more notice than suit pants, it’s still vital to keep your trousers wrinkle-free, too.

how to fold and pack suit pants

They’ll get plenty of unwanted attention if they look like a crumpled mess. Thankfully, folding dress pants are the easy part.

  1. Grasp your trousers by the ankles and hold them out in front of you upside down. Determine where the natural crease is down the front of the legs.
  2. Lay your pants on a hard flat surface along the crease, with one leg placed over the other. Smooth the legs along the crease line.
  3. Put your already-folded suit jacket on top of the pants, right in the center.
  4. Bring the bottom half of the pants up and drape them over the suit jacket.
  5. Bring the top half of the pants down over the bottom half. The waist should line up with the edge of the opposite side.
  6. Your result should be one square, tidy suit package.

How to Fold and Pack the Dress Shirt

Folding a button-up dress shirt is a more challenging task than a suit jacket, for sure.

However, it is also easier to quickly remove minor wrinkles from a dress shirt with nothing more than a steam shower.

You may want to remove the stays from the collar and pack them separately to avoid bending them.

  1. Spread out your dress shirt on a hard flat surface.
  2. Fold its sleeves up the middle toward the center.
  3. Fold approximately 3″ of each edge toward the middle
  4. Bring the bottom half up toward the top to fold the shirt in half horizontally.
  5. Repeat folding the shirt in half horizontally.

How to Pack a Suit Vest

Finally, an incredibly simple item to fold and pack!

how to fold and pack suit vest

If you want to pack your suit vest, all you need to do is fold it in half once vertically and one time horizontally. Boom – you’re done.

How to Pack Dress Shoes

Always load your dress shoes into your carry-on first. Then, when they’re on the bottom, they help balance out your bag’s weight and prevent wrinkling delicate clothing.

how to fold and pack dress shoes

Wrap each shoe separately in a protective plastic cover. Even plastic grocery bags will do.

The bags save the clothes from picking up dirt off your shoes and protect your shoes from rubbing against each other and making scuff marks.

How to Pack Ties and Accessories

The game is to make as much room as you can in your carry-on bag, so roll anything that can be rolled up, such as belts, ties, and even socks.

Then, stuff them inside your dress shoes to make even more room. Carry your smaller items and valuables in a separate bag, like pocket squares and cufflinks.

Alexander Stoicoff
Author: Alexander Stoicoff

Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.

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