Ask Esquire: How Do I Prevent Creases When Packing My Suit?

There are many ways to overcome the problem of packing.

Joe asks: “You guys look like you know what you’re doing. How should I pack my suit when traveling?” 

On a recent trip to somewhere, we experienced a brain malfunction about the very thing, but let us tell you the many ways you can preserve the integrity of your suit first:  

1| The Halfie (Which We Did) 

With the suit on the hanger and inside a garment bag, fold it in half and put it on the top of everything else in your luggage. That should work, right?  

2| The Popping (Which We Usually Do) 

Take the suit jacket and fold it in itself. You have to sort of pop one sleeve and slip it into the other. The jacket is now folded lengthwise. Fold it once more crosswise. Then put both trousers (folded around the jacket) and jacket on top of everything else in your luggage. This is what we usually do. See this video from Lifehacker:

3| The Hanging 

Better still, there are carry-on luggage that ensures minimal, even zero, creases when packing a suit. The Vocier has a garment casing (hang jacket and trousers in here) that wraps around your other stuff like a burrito to eliminate the application of pressure on the suit. (We tracked one down at Urban Traveller.)

4| The Carrying 

Or you can save yourself some coin, and just place the suit in a hanging bag (a handsome one in leather is better, but any will do) and then carry it on the plane and beyond. Ask your flight attendant to hang it, versus cramming it inside the overhead bin.  


5| The Wearing 

Or you can just wear the jacket while in transit. Your flight attendant can secure it in a special jacket place, while you figure out which five or six movies to watch in the next millions of hours in the air.

Pro: Wearing a suit or, at least the jacket, lends you an air of sophistication (versus the unwashed masses of T-shirt-wearing flyers), which will be helpful when navigating airport security, customs, and life. 

Con: Wearing a jacket means you have to suffer the indignity of stripping it off and then putting it on again when passing through airport security. Choose your own adventure. 

6| The Reality 

As with most things, experience trumps theory.

Our brain fart did not take into account the total travel time of almost 20 hours, which included a layover and the drives to the airports and hotel. Plus, on top of that, more hours waiting for the room to get ready, because, surprise, your hotel was not ready to receive you just yet. 

Anyway, after finally cracking open its aluminum prison, the suit appeared with terrible creases all over its body and elsewhere.

A call to the housekeeping was helpful: Yes, they can steam the suit and it costs so-and-so and, yes, they can rush the steaming so that you can have a suit to wear to dinner in about two hours, and it will cost 60 percent more. 


7| The Trick 

If this happens to you, and after you stop crying or cursing, do this:

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You hang the jacket and trousers, each in its separate hanger, in the bathroom. Turn on the shower to hot. Like very hot. Like so hot it fills the room with opaque clouds of steam. Take a walk or go to sleep. After half an hour or more, the creases melted away. Also works for shirts. 

This is not good for Mother Nature (sorry!), but very good for photos.

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Clifford Olanday
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