How to Pack a Suit in a Suitcase | A Step-by-Step Guide to Avoid Wrinkles

Man packing a suit in a suitcase

Written by Sonia Su

Mastering the art of packing a suit in a suitcase is an essential skill for the modern traveler. Whether you're heading to a business conference or a special event, our comprehensive, step-by-step guide will walk you through expert techniques to ensure your suit arrives at your destination impeccably crisp, wrinkle-free, and ready to make a lasting impression.


light gray suit with pocket square

How to Pack a Men's Suit in a Suitcase

  1. Preparation: Gather your suit, dress shirt, suit hanger, garment bag (or a dry cleaning bag), packing cubes (optional), tissue paper, accessories, and a flat surface.
  2. Prepare the Dress Shirt:
  3. Fold the Suit Jacket:
    • Turn the suit jacket inside out at the shoulders to protect its shape.
    • Fold it vertically, aligning the edges and placing tissue paper between layers to prevent friction.
  4. Pants Folding:
    • Neatly fold the suit pants, considering any creases.
    • Lay them on the flat surface alongside the dress shirt.
  5. Packing the Dress Shirt:
    • Place the folded dress shirt on top of the folded jacket, aligning the collars.
    • Fold the dress shirt sleeves across its back to create a neat square.
  6. Dress Shirt-Jacket Ensemble:
    • Carefully lift the dress shirt-jacket combination and place them inside a garment bag, ensuring the collar alignment is maintained.
  7. Pants Placement:
    • Lay the neatly folded suit pants flat on top of the dress shirt-jacket ensemble.
  8. Hanger and Garment Bag:
    • Hang the garment bag with the dress shirt-jacket ensemble on a sturdy suit hanger, ensuring both garments are securely suspended.
  9. Suitcase Packing:
    • Place the hanger with the garment bag and pants on top of other items in the suitcase, ensuring the ensemble is layered in a way that minimizes pressure on the suit.
  10. Accessories and Packing:
  11. Unpacking Strategy:
    • Upon arrival, promptly hang the suit-jacket-shirt ensemble, using bathroom steam or a garment steamer to release any wrinkles from the dress shirt and suit.

By employing these strategies, you'll confidently navigate any trip, arriving with your suit looking its best and embodying the epitome of style and sophistication.

 

How to Unpack a Suit Strategically

Once you arrive at your destination, unpacking a suit strategically ensures it's ready to wear without wrinkles:

  1. Immediate Attention: Upon arrival, take the suit out of your luggage as soon as possible.
    dress shirts on clothing rack to hang up and avoid wrinkles
  2. Hang Properly: Hang the suit on a sturdy hanger in a well-ventilated area.
  3. Bathroom Steam: Hang the suit in the bathroom while taking a hot shower, allowing steam to naturally release wrinkles.
  4. Brush or Shake: Gently brush or shake the suit to help loosen any remaining creases.
  5. Hanger Technique: Straighten the suit on the hanger, making sure the shoulders and sleeves are properly aligned.
    Dress shirt hanging on a rack
  6. Time and Gravity: Let the suit hang for a few hours or overnight. Gravity will aid in smoothing out minor wrinkles.
  7. Final Check: Examine the suit and address any persistent wrinkles using a steamer or iron on low heat.

 

How to Remove Wrinkles from a Suit

If you do find that your suit has wrinkles after unpacking, there are a few methods to remove wrinkles from the suit. We go into more detail in our other articles on how to iron a dress shirt and steaming vs. ironing dress shirts.

Steamer Method

  • Hang the suit in a well-ventilated area.
  • Hold a travel-friendly garment steamer a few inches away from the fabric and gently steam, starting from the top and working downward.
  • Smooth out the fabric with your hands as you steam to encourage wrinkles to release.
    travel friendly clothing steamer

Shower Steam Method

  • Hang the suit in the bathroom while taking a hot shower.
  • The steam generated by the shower will help relax the fibers and release wrinkles.
  • After the shower, gently shake and smooth the suit.

Ironing Method

  • Set your iron to the lowest heat setting suitable for the fabric (always check the care label).
  • Place a thin cloth or pressing cloth over the suit to protect it from direct heat.
  • Gently press the iron over the cloth, avoiding excessive pressure.
  • Pay special attention to problem areas like cuffs, collars, and lapels.
  • Avoid pressing too long in one spot to prevent damage.

Iron and ironing board with dress shirt

Wrinkle-Release Spray

  • Use a commercial wrinkle-release spray designed for clothing.
  • Hang the suit and spray the fabric lightly.
  • Smooth out the fabric with your hands to encourage wrinkles to disappear.

Professional Steaming

  • Consider taking your suit to a professional cleaner or tailor for professional steaming.
  • They have the expertise and equipment to safely remove wrinkles while maintaining the fabric's quality.

Remember to always check the care label and test any method on an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire suit. In case of an emergency and you need a new suit, check out our guides on how to buy a suit and how a suit should fit.

 

The Best Of: Garment Bags & Packing Cubes

Garment Bags

A garment bag is a specialized bag designed to protect and transport clothing items, particularly formal wear such as suits, dresses, and coats. It typically features a long and narrow shape with a zipper or button closure. Garment bags are usually made from durable and lightweight materials, often with a clear plastic window for easy identification of the enclosed clothing.

These bags help prevent wrinkles, dust, and damage during travel or storage, making them an essential accessory for keeping formal attire in pristine condition.

Some well-regarded garment bag brands include:

  • Samsonite: Known for durable and functional luggage, Samsonite offers a range of garment bags designed to protect your clothing during travel.
    Samsonite Garment Bag
  • Travelpro: A popular choice among frequent travelers, Travelpro offers various garment bags with features like spinner wheels for easy maneuverability.
  • Tumi: Tumi is renowned for its high-quality travel products, including garment bags that combine style and functionality.
  • Briggs & Riley: Briggs & Riley is known for its innovative designs, such as garment bags with compression technology to minimize wrinkles.
  • Hartmann: Hartmann offers elegant and classic garment bags that cater to travelers who appreciate refined aesthetics.
  • Hooks & Albert: For a more stylish option, Hooks & Albert offers garment bags with a fashion-forward approach, suitable for both business and leisure travel.
  • Eagle Creek: Eagle Creek provides practical and versatile garment bags, often with organizational features that appeal to travelers seeking efficiency.

 

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are compact, lightweight, and rectangular pouches or containers designed to help organize and streamline the packing process. These cubes come in various sizes and are typically made from durable fabric with zipper closures. Travelers use packing cubes to categorize and store clothing, accessories, and other items within their suitcases.

By compartmentalizing belongings, packing cubes maximize space utilization, simplify unpacking, and keep items organized and easily accessible throughout the journey, making them a popular tool for efficient and neat travel packing.

Here are some reputable packing cube brands that offer quality options:

  • Eagle Creek: Known for their durable and versatile packing cubes, Eagle Creek offers a wide range of sizes and styles to cater to different packing needs.
  • eBags: eBags is renowned for their packing cubes with various organizational features, including compression zippers, mesh panels, and different sizes.
  • TravelWise: TravelWise offers affordable and practical packing cube sets with multiple sizes to keep your belongings organized.
  • PRO Packing Cubes: PRO Packing Cubes focuses on simple and functional designs that help maximize packing space and keep items tidy.
  • AmazonBasics: Amazon's own brand offers cost-effective packing cubes that come in different sets, suitable for different types of travelers.
    Amazon Basics Packing Cubes for Travel
  • REI Co-op: REI Co-op provides durable packing cubes that are ideal for outdoor and adventure travelers who need rugged gear.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Packing a Suit

Is it OK to pack a suit in a suitcase?

Yes, it's okay to pack a suit in a suitcase, but using a garment bag, folding techniques, and minimizing pressure can help prevent wrinkles and ensure it arrives in good condition.

How do you pack a suit in a suitcase so it doesn't wrinkle?

To pack a suit in a suitcase wrinkle-free, fold the suit jacket inside out at the shoulders, place tissue paper between layers to prevent friction, and pack it in a garment bag on top of other items with minimal pressure.

Can you fold a suit in a garment bag?

Yes, you can fold a suit in a garment bag by placing tissue paper between layers, folding the jacket inside out at the shoulders, and carefully folding the pants, all while ensuring the suit retains its shape and is protected from a wrinkled mess.

How do you pack a suit in a garment suitcase?

To pack a suit in a garment suitcase, fold the suit jacket inside out at the shoulders, place tissue paper between layers, fold the pants neatly, and use a sturdy suit hanger to keep the suit suspended in the garment bag section of the suitcase, reducing wrinkles during travel.