Suitcase Packing Tips for Carry-On Luggage

2023-01-04 04:11:43 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

If you're anything like me, your weekends are now occupied by weddings, while your weekdays are dominated by work. What is the proper attire for a formal event? When you have to go there, how do you handle it?

A suit can be easily packed away in a carry-on bag, contrary to popular belief. I once went to London for three weeks without ironing my suit and then flew back to the United States for a wedding wearing the same suit.

One last piece of advice before we get started. If you want to keep your suit, dress pants, and button-down shirt wrinkle-free, don't jam too much into your carry-on. If any part of the suit is crushed under pressure for extended periods of time, even if you fold and pack it correctly, you will get wrinkles. It's not worth the potential downside. When you need to pack a suit, leave the frills at home.  

The following instructions are for times when you do not have access to an iron, steam, or dry cleaner and your suit needs to be worn.  

Now, then, let's get down to business

Tips for Folding a Suit Jacket and Pants

Wearing larger items on the plane is typically advised over checking them as luggage. This is a popular choice for suits, and many people recommend it. However, your suit will get wrinkled if you wear it on the plane. It's even more dangerous to put it in the overhead bin. Despite the suit's bulk, it should be brought along in this instance.

Pack your suit carefully to ensure that it arrives wrinkle-free and looking great. There are two ways you can pack your suit.

Folding Technique

I used the fold method to travel to and from London because it is the most common and reliable strategy. It's so effective that even Brooks Brothers endorses it!  

I used what's called the "lining out" method, in which one jacket's shoulders are tucked into the other.

Here's a second approach that's very much like the first, except that the final result looks like it could be sold in a shop. Keep watching until the very end of the video for a clever way to use an air-filled plastic bag as a cushion. Having that extra bit of air around will act as a cushion, keeping your suit from getting crushed or wrinkled.

The Use of a Used Dry Cleaning Bag

The dry cleaner bag method is the quickest and easiest way to travel with a suit coat and pants that are nearly wrinkle-free if you don't have much else to pack in your carry on.

The suit can be folded in half horizontally, kept in the dry cleaner's bag, and hung up on a hook. Folding your jacket in this way ensures that it stays safe inside your suitcase, rather than getting crushed in the airplane's open overhead bin. The GQ website has a helpful tutorial with animated GIFs.

Putting your clothes in a dry cleaning bag is a waste of space. The fold method is preferable if you need to pack for a longer trip and have items other than just a suit to bring along.

Instructions for Folding a Dress Shirt

In terms of difficulty, packing a shirt is probably the most challenging task. The above video concludes with one method that will have your shirt looking like it was just taken from a department store rack.

You can also read our dedicated "how to" article if you need more guidance. I'll try to summarize this article's main points in a few words.

  • Please fold your shirt instead of rolling it.
  • Spread the shirt out flat and fold the sleeves in towards the middle, about halfway up the body.
  • The shirt should be tucked in at the sides by three inches, folded in half from the bottom once, and then again for a tighter fold.
  • Fabrics like merino wool and polyester are naturally resistant to wrinkles, making them superior to "spray on" chemical coatings found on non-iron non-iron fabrics.

One extra hint I use to keep the collar wings from getting bent is to remove the collar stays.  

Tip Two: If you're bringing along more than one shirt, layer them so that the fronts are facing in different directions.

Suit Accessory Packing Guide: The Waistcoat and Cumberbund

A three-piece suit can look great in the right setting, just as a cumberbund can be essential in others. Those events are typically more formal than business-related suit-worthy events, so packing a suit for them can be more of a hassle.  

Neither of these things is difficult to pack, which is good news.

  • Waistcoat: Fold in half vertically along the back seam, then in half horizontally (there are only two folds).
  • A cumberbund is something you roll up instead of folding and then tuck into your shoe.

Dress Shoe Packing Tips

The only part of your suit I would wear on the plane are the shoes, and I think that's a gamble. Throw on some sneakers instead That way you can rest assured that your footwear will be in good shape upon arrival. Also, a pair of shoes is much simpler to maintain than a full suit.  

Dress shoes, if being packed, should be stuffed to prevent folding and creasing. Dress socks, a rolled-up tie, or your cummerbund are all good things to use to stuff them.

Tips for Storing Underwear, Shoes, and Jewelry

A perfectly ironed suit can be undone by a wrinkled tie or other accessory. To achieve a stunning appearance, you must pay close attention to every last detail.

Putting together a bag for your extras is simple. Tuck in your shirttails and belts You can fold your socks however you like. Stuff everything you need into your shoes.

Accessories for your suit, such as the pocket square, cufflinks, and suspenders, should be kept in a small, easily accessible bag.


Avoid wrinkles by not packing your suit in a bag that is too full. If you have a few minutes, check out the videos above to learn some sophisticated techniques for folding and packing. To prepare your belongings for travel, iron out any wrinkles and then pack them. I recommend taking your time. Spending a little more time in the beginning will save you a lot of time and effort later, when you should be relaxing and having fun on your vacation.

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