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How To Pack a Suit in a Suitcase

Whether you’re heading to a conference or a formal event, packing a suit in your suitcase is non-negotiable. But how do you do it properly?

If you’re headed out on a business trip or to a formal event, figuring out how to pack your suit in your suitcase can be a bit of a headache. You want to avoid wrinkles and creases, but you also don’t want to have to leave other necessary items behind to make room for what can be quite a bulky item when laid flat in your carry-on, particularly when you’re flying.

In addition to keeping items like toiletries that could leak separate from your suitcase in a designated toiletry bag, we’ve got some tips for how to pack a suit in a suitcase. Let’s break it down from the best suitcase for your journey to three different methods of packing your suit.


Choosing the Right Suitcase

When it comes to packing properly, how you pack individual items is only half of the battle. The other half is packing it in the proper luggage. When your luggage is designed to work with you rather than against you, it makes every other aspect of the packing and travelling process easier.

One of the trickiest situations to navigate with formal wear is flying with just a carry-on, especially if you want to arrive wrinkle-free and looking your best. Our Carry On is the best way to get everything you need to your destination safely.

Not only does it come in a variety of stylish colours that will complement your formalwear or business attire perfectly for days when you’re running straight from the plane to an event, but it’s designed to hold the absolute maximum amount you’re allowed to bring inside the cabin with you, so if you’re trying to fit formalwear into your pack along with everything else… our Carry On has you covered.

It also comes complete with an ejectable battery that’s approved for flying on all major airlines, so whether you’re jetting off to a destination wedding and need your phone to make the journey with you, or need to keep your devices powered through a networking event at a conference, or just want to ensure you can take as many pictures as possible at a gala across the country, our carry on can do it all… while keeping your suit safe, too. 


Preparing Your Suit

Before you set off, there are some steps you should take to ensure your suit is in the best possible shape once you arrive. The first thing honestly has nothing to do with packing — it’s a life pro-tip that will serve you well: try your suit on.

We’re not judging you, but seriously, we all change sizes all of the time. Especially if it’s a designated wedding or formal event suit that you’ve only put on once or twice, and the last time was in high school, it’s a good idea to get it out early and make sure it still fits. Ideally, do this far enough in advance that you can get it tailored to fit if it doesn’t. 

But even if you do it last minute, at least you’ll have time to find a suitable replacement before you leave. You just don’t want to arrive at your conference or event and realise that your suit doesn’t fit whatsoever.

Then, you’ll want to get your suit cleaned. If you’re dedicated to dry cleaning and wear your suit regularly, this step may already be done. But if you haven’t bothered to clean it since your last event, or if it’s been hanging in your closet for a year or more, it’s a good idea to have it properly cleaned and pressed to ensure you look your best.

If you’re really concerned about wrinkles or wear from packing, you can also look for a trustworthy dry cleaner near your destination, as long as you have enough time between arrival and your event to get it done.

Lastly, double-check that you have all of the accessories you need for your suit. A tie, pocket square, cufflinks, lapel pin, belt, shoes, socks — and whatever else you need to complete the outfit. It’s easy to get so hung up on the suit that you forget all of the pieces you need to complete it, so get this done early.

You could even use one of our small Packing Cubes to hold your suit accessories. Pack them up and put them in your suitcase first thing, so you don’t have to worry about it.


Option 1: Garment Bag

The first and potentially simplest option is transporting your suit in a garment bag. It’s ideal if you’re able to use a garment bag as your carry-on item. American Airlines and many other domestic flights allow this, so just double-check what the requirements or restrictions are before you fly. That way, you can keep your suit relatively smooth and separate from your other items while you travel so it arrives at your destination in the best possible condition.

This works also if you’re packing your suit in a larger checked bag which will allow the garment bag to lay flat. 

But readers beware… 

While a checked bag may give you more space to lay your suit flat and therefore avoid creases or wrinkles, it does leave you at risk of lost luggage. It’s not likely that you’ll lose your luggage per se, but based on statistics from the Bureau of Transportation, over 470,000 bags were lost or mishandled in 2022 alone. So, it’s maybe better to keep something as vital as your suit on hand while you’re travelling.


Option 2: Folding a Suit

Folding your suit allows you to make the most of your carry on space while still looking fresh upon arrival. The one downside with folding is that it is possible you’ll find some creases when you shake it out. So if you know you won’t have access to an iron or steamer and you have minimal turnaround time when you get where you’re going, it’s a good idea to test this method first, or maybe go with option one or three.

The first step when folding your suit is to lay it on a flat surface. Then you’ll fold the left shoulder back, while turning the right shoulder inside out. Tuck the left shoulder into the right, and then fold your whole jacket in half lengthwise. It should look pretty narrow horizontally now.

Place your trousers on the same flat surface, fully extended, and set the folded jacket in the centre of your trousers. Then, you can fold the trousers in half over the jacket, and fold them in thirds with the jacket in the centre. 

The result should be a fairly compact bundle that keeps your suit safe and orderly.


Option 3: Rolling a Suit

Rolling your suit may be right for you if, first of all, rolling your clothes, in general, is your packing go-to. 

It’ll help your suit sit easily amongst your other items and allow you to organise your carry on in a way that’s most comfortable and intuitive to you. If you roll carefully, it’s also possible that rolling your suitcase will help you avoid the hard-to-remove creases that might settle in when you fold it.

To roll your suit jacket, you’ll follow the same steps as you would to fold it — but instead of setting it in the middle of your trousers, once your jacket is in that narrow horizontal state, you’ll start at the bottom and roll it tightly until you have a compact tube.

To roll your trousers, fold them in half so they’re leg over leg, and then roll them as you did your suit jacket.  You’ll want to pack it tightly among other clothes, whether that’s in a packing cell or in your suitcase. You could also fasten it with something elastic, like a hair tie, so it doesn’t unfurl in transit.


Dress for Success

When it comes to packing your suit in a suitcase, there are a lot of things to keep in mind in order to do it properly. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination and having no time to steam or iron your suit. Nothing will eat at your confidence all day or night than knowing you look like you’ve been through the wringer due to the state of your suit.

But with these packing tips, you’ll be able to successfully transport your suit in your suitcase stress and wrinkle-free. And since some studies show that it is indeed true that clothes make the person, it’s important you’re able to make the best possible impression, even when you’re on the go.

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