For work, I need to travel a fair bit domestically. And I need to wear a suit when I’m at work.
I hate having to take check-in luggage because it costs extra a lot of the time, it can get lost and it’s great to be able to get out of the airport quickly (not having to wait to pick up luggage). I also hate the inconvenience of trying to manage a suit bag.
I’ve done some research and done some experiments and come across the easiest and best way to be able to pack my suit and a shirt into my back pack. These are the instructions on how to roll-pack a suit and a shirt.
The advantages of rolling the suit up is that it minimises creases that you get from folding and it makes it a lot smaller and easier to fit into smaller places.
Step 1 – Make sure the shirt is ironed. This saves a lot of hassle later as a lot of hotel rooms have really crappy irons – if at all.
Step 2 – Get a large flat surface to be able to easily lay out your clothes to roll. A bed is perfect.
Step 3 – Start with the shirt. Make sure at least half the buttons are done up and then lay the shirt face down on the bed with the arms stretched out. Try to smooth out any wrinkles before you start folding.
Step 4 – Take one arm and match it up with the arm on the other side so that the shirt is exactly in half length ways. The collar should be out and at the top. Again, make sure the wrinkles are smoothed out.
Step 5 – Bring the arms across to run down the length of the shirt. Try to get the arm to almost run down the button line.
Step 6 – Starting at the bottom, roll the shirt into a cylinder – not too loose, but not too tight either. Smooth out the wrinkles as you roll it.
Step 7 – When you’re finished rolling you should have a nice cylinder that has no wrinkles. Set it aside and get ready to do the suit jacket.
Step 8 – Lay the suit jacket down on the bed face up. Make sure all the wrinkles are out and that it’s ready to be rolled. Then pick the jacket up by the collar and push the right hand shoulder into the left hand shoulder. It should fit nicely in and basically fold the jacket in half.
Below is what it should look like once you’ve pushed the shoulder in and laid it back down on the bed. Make sure you line up the buttons and make sure the lapels are smoothed down.
Step 9 – Fold the arm across so that it makes a rough rectangle. Ensure the arm on the inside is not crushed or wrinkled, but runs down the inside of the jacket.
Step 10 – To ensure that the shoulder retains it shape and doesn’t get wrinkled, insert the rolled up shirt into the cavity where the shoulder is.
Step 11 – Next comes the suit pants. Grab the pleats and hold them together to lie the pants flat down on the bed.
Step 12 – Tuck the top part of the pants in so that the pants make a long rectangle that’s fairly even. Make sure that there are no wrinkles.
Step 14 – Place the pants onto of the suit jacket and shirt. Line up the bottom of the jacket with the bottom of the pants so that they lie flat.
Step 15 – Start at the top of the jacket (where the shirt is) and roll down towards the bottom of the jacket. Roll it up firmly, but not too tight. Smooth out the wrinkles as you roll it.
Step 16 – Find a plastic bag that’s around the same size as the suit rolled up. Make sure the bag isn’t wet or dirty. Place the suit roll in the bag.
Step 17 – Squeeze most of the air out of the bag and then tie it up. This will help if something spills in your bag. It may not be waterproof, but hopefully it will help to protect the suit roll in case of a problem.
Step 18 – Place it in the back pack or suit case and try not to crush it.
Step 19 – When you get to the hotel, immediately take it out of the bag and unroll it. Hang all the items up separately in the closet and let the wrinkles fall out. If there is no danger of it getting wet, exposing the them to some steam (eg hot shower) is sometimes good as well.
All going well, this technique should minimise the wrinkles and mean that the suit is wearable without having to iron anything. It also means that you can squeeze it into a backpack and avoid the check-in luggage hassles!
To complete the outfit, pack your socks into your dress shoes and then put them in a plastic bag under the suit in the backpack. If you’re wearing jeans when you travel, wear the belt you would wear with the suit to save having to pack it (or forget it). If you need to wear a tie, fold it and lay it on top of the pants before rolling.