For the modern traveler, 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 traveling 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 travelers 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 favorites.
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 on 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 jackets 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 center 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 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 the 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 Roller, 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.” Suit, Chester Barrie; suitcase, Globe-Trotter