For the modern traveller, the world is getting smaller – it’s easier than ever to fly to far-flung corners of the world. Unfortunately our luggage is also getting smaller and cramming everything you need into a small case or worse, your carry-on bag, is a nightmare. Especially if you have to pack a suit.
Whether you’re travelling for business or heading to a summer wedding, you don’t want your delicately woven masterpiece of tailoring – that cost you hundreds – to get stuffed into a duffel bag only to be man-handled by the baggage guys.
“We’ve all been there,” says Charlie Baker-Collingwood from London’s Henry Herbert Tailors. “We’ve all tried to squeeze in a suit at the last minute. You’ve got everything else in your bag, socks, ties and shirts, but when it comes to the suit you’re at a bit of a loss and a panic. Especially when it comes to unpacking at the other end and it comes out totally wrinkled.”
And it’s not just wrinkles and creases. Folding a suit incorrectly can actually cause damage.
“We get travellers coming in to see us relatively frequently,” says Baker-Collingwood. “They present their badly folded suits and damage has been done to the lapels and stitching. Often we’ll have to repair the lapels with a really deep press and do our best to repair any other areas. Packing badly is dangerous for your suit.”
Fortunately, there are ways to pack a suit in such a way that when you take it out at your hotel, your first thought is of the poolside bar and not the laundry service. These are our favourites.
How To Pack A Suit In A Suitcase: Four Ways
Henry Herbert Folding Method
This method comes directly from Henry Herbert, which Baker-Collingwood assures is the most concise method of the hundreds of variations you can find online.
- Lie the jacket flat, buttoned up facing you on a table
- Flip the jacket over so it’s facing down and brush away any creases
- Now fold each side of the jacket inwards so a quarter of the jacket is facing inwards either side
- Fold the trousers in half twice, so they’re a quarter of their size
- Place the trousers at the top part of the jacket
- Fold the remaining part of the jacket over the trousers so now you have the bottoms inside the folded blazer
- Remove any creases and flip over again, so the front of the jacket and its lapels are facing you
The Wraparound Method
This alternative approach also finds a way to bundle up jacket and trousers with an effective wraparound technique. This works for suitcases or even carrying your suit in a duffel bag.
- Lay the suit jacket flat and face down
- Take the left shoulder and fold it back
- Turn the right shoulder inside out and tuck the left shoulder into the right
- Fold in half lengthwise and then fold the jacket over horizontally
- Place folded jacket in centre of outstretched trousers
- Fold the trouser bottoms over the jacket
- Repeat with the top of trousers to make a bundle
The Easy Jacket Fold
This simple technique is one for beginners – a quick and simple technique that will fold your jacket neatly. Place it at the bottom of a flat suitcase to keep the wrinkles at bay.
- Lay the jacket face down on a flat surface
- Fold the left sleeve back so the the jacket is three quarters of its width
- Now fold the right sleeve back so the shoulders are slightly overlapping
- Fold the bottom half of the jacket up and tuck the bottom hem under the collar
The Rolling Technique
Rolling is the best method for space saving when packing luggage. It’s derived from a Japanese packing technique (Marie Kondo swears by it) and saves on both space and creases.
- Fasten the top button of the jacket and lay it face down
- Push the left sleeve and shoulder pad inside-out
- Fold the right shoulder over towards inside-out left shoulder. The two lapels should cross over a little
- Place your quarter-sized folded trousers on the top end of the folded jacket
- Don’t stuff too much in there or the roll won’t hold properly
- Roll from the top and continue rolling into a neat bundle
Bonus tips: If you don’t mind an extra piece of carry-on, you could also get yourself a Rollor, a mat that rolls with your suit inside and transforms into a piece of over-the-shoulder luggage. Or, try tissue paper.
James Fisher, Business Director of Globe-Trotter says: “With men’s jackets, it’s best to lay them flat with some tissue paper in between and the suit’s lapel should never be flat; they’re actually meant to be rolled, so roll some tissue paper up and place it under the lapel.”