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 tableFlip the jacket over so it’s facing down and brush away any creasesNow fold each side of the jacket inwards so a quarter of the jacket is facing inwards either sideFold the trousers in half twice, so they’re a quarter of their sizePlace the trousers at the top part of the jacketFold the remaining part of the jacket over the trousers so now you have the bottoms inside the folded blazerRemove 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 downTake the left shoulder and fold it backTurn the right shoulder inside out and tuck the left shoulder into the rightFold in half lengthwise and then fold the jacket over horizontallyPlace folded jacket in centre of outstretched trousersFold the trouser bottoms over the jacketRepeat 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 surfaceFold the left sleeve back so the the jacket is three quarters of its widthNow fold the right sleeve back so the shoulders are slightly overlappingFold 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 downPush the left sleeve and shoulder pad inside-outFold the right shoulder over towards inside-out left shoulder. The two lapels should cross over a littlePlace your quarter-sized folded trousers on the top end of the folded jacketDon’t stuff too much in there or the roll won’t hold properlyRoll from the top and continue rolling into a neat bundle
Bonus tip: 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.