What’s the best way to travel with a suit?

Over the holidays, you might be travelling home via plane, train or automobile (or bus) and planning to attend a swanky event such as a black tie New Year’s Eve party. Or you might simply be a frequent flyer who makes lots of business trips throughout the year.

If that sounds like you, we’re sure it’s important that you attend your special event or regular business meetings wearing a great-looking tux or suit. The only problem is that travelling with a suit can often lead to it becoming more wrinkled than Gordon Ramsay’s forehead.

That’s why HKT has put together this handy guide for you. It offers lots of helpful information on how to pack your jacket, pants and shirt, and what to do if they do become wrinkled during transit. Enjoy!

I’m travelling with a full-size suitcase

If you’re travelling with a full-size suitcase, we recommend that you leave your suit on a hanger, put it in a hanging suit bag and fold it at the waist. Lay this on top of all your other items and make sure don’t place any heavy items on the suit bag, such as a laptop or shoes, as they will put pressure on the folds and increase the risk of creases. Other than that, you’re good to go.

I’m travelling with a hanging suit bag

Hanging suit bags are specifically designed to carry suits, so they’re exactly what you need when you’re travelling. However, they can be a little cumbersome to carry around, and especially if you’ve got other luggage with you.

If you do go the hanging-bag route, simply hang your suit and accessories, such as a shirt and tie, in the bag and try to hang it up in your vehicle of choice or keep it as flat as possible. If that’s not possible, most of these bags fold in half and can be easily stowed away. All of HKT’s garment bags fold in half.

Top tip: if travelling by plane, speak to your airline about their carry-on luggage rules regarding suit bags. They might also have an area on the plane where you can hang a suit.

I’m travelling with a carry-on suitcase / weekend bag

Your jacket

If you’re travelling with a carry-on case or weekend bag, we recommend you follow these steps to keep your tux or suit jacket as wrinkle free as possible:

Step 1: hold up your suit jacket and pop both of its shoulders inside out.

Step 2: Fold your jacket in half lengthways so the lapels touch.

Step 3. Fold your jacket again but this time horizontally.

Step 4. Place your jacket in the lid of your carry-on bag (usually the left-hand side), as this will help to prevent creasing. Some bags’ lids even have zip-up compartments for separating garments from the other contents of a case.

Step 5. When you arrive at your destination, unfold your jacket and pop its shoulders back into place. Voila, you’re ready to impress!

Check out the second half of this video from GQ (they use a weekend bag) for a demonstration of this technique.

Top tip: turning your suit inside out like this will help to prevent creases and keep the front of your suit clean if any spillages occur in your bag.

Your pants

Step 1: Lay your pants flat on their side with the centre crease running at each side.

Step 2: Fold your pants in half or in thirds (half being preferable, but it may depend on the size of your bag). Between each fold place an item such as a T-shirt to soften any pressure.

Step 3. Place your pants on top of your jacket. Alternatively, at step 3 of the jacket guide above, place your pants on one half of the jacket and fold the jacket in half lengthways to sandwich your pants in between.


Your shirt

Step 1: Make sure your shirt has been properly ironed and it has no creases in it to begin with.

Step 2: Fully button up your shirt from top to bottom.

Step 3: Lay your shirt flat on its front and fold the right sleeve straight across at its shoulder.

Step 4: Fold the right sleeve up towards your shirt’s collar in an L-shape.

Step 5: Fold down the right sleeve’s cuff towards the hem of your shirt.

Step 6: Repeat steps 2 to 5 for the left sleeve.

Step 7: Fold the right side of your shirt to the middle and repeat with the left side.

Step 8: Fold the bottom third of your shirt up and then fold up again. You should be left with a neat little package. Flip over and pop in your bag.

Getting wrinkles out of a suit

Inevitably, even after all your hard work, you may arrive at your destination with a suit that has a few creases in it. If so, you have a number of options:

  1. Get your hands on a steamer – this might be a handy bit of equipment that the person you’re staying with has, or it may be something you can use for free or rent at your hotel. It should only take 10 minutes or so to use and it will leave you looking extra sharp.

Top tip: if you are a frequent flyer, you could think about investing in a portable steamer.

  1. Create your own DIY steamer – place you suit on a hanger and head to your nearest bathroom. Turn on the shower to boiling hot and leave to run. This should create a mini sauna in your bathroom which is perfect for easing out creases in your suit. Once your suit has had a good steaming, retrieve it and hang it somewhere to dry. Although do make sure you avoid severe heat when drying it, eg don’t hang your suit over a radiator.
  2. Iron or press your pants – ironing your pants is something you can do, but make sure you place some type of cloth, such as an unfolded cotton handkerchief or T-shirt, between your iron and the fabric of your trousers. This will prevent any shiny sports from developing. Also, make sure you use the right setting for the fabric of your trousers. Importantly, avoid using an iron on your suit jacket. It can cause more damage than good.

Top tip: don’t get your suit dry cleaned and pressed to remove wrinkles from your suit. Dry cleaning usually involves the use of aggressive detergents which can lead to your suit deteriorating a lot quicker. Ask your dry Cleaners to just Press your Suit.

Wear your suit on the plane

One very feasible alternative to packing your suit is to wear it when you travel. This is most appropriate if you’re catching a short-haul flight. If it’s warm enough, you could take off your jacket and ask a flight attendant to hang it up for you, or you could carefully lay it across your lap. However, if you do lay it across your lap, or you keep your suit jacket on, be extra careful when you tuck into your in-flight meal or complimentary peanuts. You don’t want to turn up at an important meeting or your sister’s wedding covered in morsels of food.

If you carless with food, ask us about the I-travel Cloth from Italy, a water, wine, coke and coffe, practically stain resistant cloth for the gentleman on the move!

So there you have our super handy guide to travelling with a suit. Hopefully you’ll use it to take care of the custom made suits, pants and shirts we enjoy creating for you. And as always, if you’re looking for something new to add to your wardrobe (or should we say suitcase), please get in touch with us for a free style consultation. Just give us a call on 770-458-8682 or email our team at team@hktclothiers.com Happy travels!