How to Travel With a Suit

By A.J. Andrews

Looking sharp: 5 tips for traveling with a suit

How to Travel With a Suit

The first rule of traveling with a suit that you'll need soon after you arrive is don't wear it during the flight. If you travel first class, make use of the complimentary wardrobe and hang it in a garment bag. If you store your suit in luggage or a carry-on, fold it thoughtfully, focusing on economy of space.

Fold with finesse

Lay the jacket face-down on a solid surface.

A clean desk or table works. Button the top button before laying down the jacket.

Fold the left shoulder back.

The left lapel will face up. Next, fold the left sleeve over, so the top corner of the cuff meets the jacket front.

Turn the right shoulder inside-out and tuck the left shoulder inside it.

The interior of the right side of the jacket will face up after you turn the shoulder inside-out.

Fold the jacket in half lengthwise; then, fold it in half horizontally.

The left and right shoulders of the coat should align when you fold the jacket lengthwise. When you fold the jacket horizontally, fold the bottom under the top. After folding the jacket, slide it into the top of a dry-cleaning bag.

Lay the jacket in the center of the trousers.

First, set the trousers horizontally on the work surface; then lay the jacket on them. The jacket should cover the trousers midway down the leg.

Fold the trousers over the jacket.

Fold the trouser bottoms over the jacket; then fold the trouser's waist over the trouser bottoms. Pack the whole suit snugly in a second piece of dry-cleaning plastic.

Ward off wrinkles

Wrinkles take the panache out of any suit, be it a $3,000 bespoke or an inexpensive off-the-rack number, and say one of two things about the wearer – "long flight" or "who cares," neither of which make you or the suit look any better.

If you're traveling with luggage, pack the suit in a solid suitcase. This helps prevent creasing and wrinkling caused by overzealous baggage handlers or jostling during the flight.

If you prefer the carry-on only approach, set a piece of very stiff cardboard in the bottom of the bag; lay the folded suit on it and cover it with a second piece of stiff cardboard. Then you can place other carry-on items on top of the cardboard without applying uneven pressure to the suit.

Accommodating your accessories

Pack your ties in a rigid tie case when traveling to ensure they arrive in top condition. Tie cases usually have a zippered pouch for tie clips and cuff links and fit in roomy carry-ons. When packing ties without a case, roll them tightly and pack them snugly in a sealable plastic bag.

Insert cedar (or other material) shoe trees in dress shoes and pack them in a shoe bag. You can also stuff your undergarments and socks in the toes of your shoes to serve as makeshift shoe trees and pack the shoes in a plastic bag. Place the shoes in the bottom of the suitcase and pack around them.

Always keep valuables – cuff links, formal watch and tie clips, for example – in your carry-on.

Looking fly after you fly

  • Run a travel steamer over the suit as you unpack it and hang it. A few hours in the closet helps the suit air out and smooths out minor wrinkles.
  • Spot treatment works best on jackets. Steaming shoulder seams can affect the fit.
  • Laying the suit flat and applying a wrinkle-releasing spray helps smooth out minor wrinkles.

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.