Whether you’re attending a college roommate’s wedding in Duluth, a business conference in Phoenix or a romantic getaway to Honolulu, you’ll probably need a suit. Unfortunately, some men have a hard enough time keeping their suits crisp when they go across town, let alone across the country or globe.
If you familiarize yourself with these tips on how to travel with a suit, you can walk into the restaurant, ballroom or banquet hall thousands of miles away and have the sharpest ensemble in the room.
1. Wear or Carry Your Suit En Route
One option is to bring your suit onto your plane, train or bus. It’s a choice that especially makes sense for short journeys.
If you’re not allowed or don’t wish to take a hanging bag, you could try wearing your suit as you head to your destination. That way, you needn’t worry about losing it if your luggage gets misplaced and you might impress the passengers sitting next to you. You might even feel a little like James Bond. You obviously have to be careful about not spilling something on it or sitting in a seat that’s dirty, though.
Maybe, and understandably, you don’t want to wear a suit on your trip. If that’s the case, do you have a really big suitcase somewhere in your home? (Such an item could make a great birthday or holiday gift!) If you do, you can leave your suit inside a suit travel bag. You just have to fold that bag in half lengthwise one time at the pant waist before you place it inside your suitcase.
2. Folding Pants Like a Pro
Of course, many people don’t own suitcases that large. If you’re in that camp, you’ll have to carefully fold your suit before embarking on your trip.
Let’s start with those pants. Fold your pants along the crease in the front as though you were about to hang them in your closet. From there, set them down flat on one side and fold them in half by grabbing the hems and bringing them up to the waist. Fold your trousers in half two more times, going in that same direction each time.
You might stick pieces of cloth such as towels into your folds. The extra cloth will keep the creases from getting too deep.
3. Jacket-Folding for Champions
The jacket is a little trickier. Set it face down on a flat surface, and pull one sleeve behind the back. Next, turn the opposite sleeve inside out. Then, pull the shoulders back until you’ve folded the whole thing in half. The shoulder that’s inside out should fit neatly into the shoulder that isn’t inside out. As a result, the lining should be facing out.
Starting at the top, slowly roll up your entire jacket. Alternatively, you could fold your jacket in half twice more: the first time vertically and the second time horizontally.
4. Fold Your Shirt Like a Boss
Folding your shirt is similar to folding your jacket. Button it all the way to reduce wrinkling, and put it face down. Bring the sleeves straight across the back horizontally, one on top of the other. After that, fold the sides of the shirt back so their tops are touching one another. Finally, fold the entire shirt in half vertically either once or twice ― your choice.
5. Protect Everything Inside Your Luggage
When you’re thinking about how to travel with a suit, don’t neglect your accessories. Place small items like studs, cuff links, pocket squares, belts and cummerbunds inside clean and sealed bags before you put them in a suitcase. Keep your wristwatches in watch cases, your neckties in tie cases and your shoes in shoe bags. Shoe inserts will maintain the structure of your shoes on long journeys.
How about those three crucial bundles: your folded-up jacket, shirt and pants? Try to pack them tightly between other objects in your suitcase. That way, they won’t shift around too much and get more wrinkled than necessary. Remember, too, that hard suitcases will keep clothes from wrinkling more effectively than soft bags will.
6. Buy a Portable Steamer
A travel steamer is a handy and easy-to-use device for eliminating suit wrinkles. It’s worth purchasing one if you travel with a suit at least once a year; it’s simpler than relying on an iron. Alternatively, you could stay at hotels that either rent steamers or provide steaming services.
To work a typical portable steamer, you’d just pour water into it, plug it in and wait for it to heat up. Keep in mind that you’ll have to do your steaming fairly quickly; you might only have about 10 minutes’ worth of steam at one time.
As a bonus pointer regarding how to travel with a suit, try to select heavier fabrics, which won’t wrinkle as much as their lighter counterparts. Wool, tweed and flannel are a few heavy materials, whereas lightweight options include linen, seersucker and chambray.
In the end, with attentive folding and packing and anything else you can do to keep those annoying wrinkles at bay, you’ll make the best possible impression when you arrive at your event.