Hi Simon,

First of all let me say I’m a massive fan of your blog. In fact I’ve even cancelled my GQ subscription because of your blog. Doesn’t mean you should start charging us though! I was wondering if you could do a post on how to carry your suit while travelling? My Samsonite has a ‘suit compartment’ which is pretty much a zipped closure on the lid of the suitcase but the suit always come out crushed at the end of the journey. Look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Joe


Hi Joe,

In the same way as previous reader questions asking for practical advice on such things, I’m not going to describe in detail how to pack, but rather give my experience of different techniques.

My first point would be that if you can avoid packing a jacket, do so. If I’m just travelling for a night or two and don’t need to many changes of formal clothing, I will usually take my travel blazer or a suit and not pack it up. No matter what technique you use, there will be some small creases. Wear your jacket to the airport and take it off when you’re on the plane, either hanging it on the hook on the seat back or putting it in the overhead compartment.

If you do pack a jacket, make sure to fold it carefully whatever technique you use. Don’t get it trapped when you close the lid; take things out of the pockets; pack it at the top of the suitcase; and smooth it out as you do.

You can use a suit carrier, either a small one or a big one that also allows you to pack shirts and shoes etc in it. While this will cut down on the creasing a lot, it is one extra thing to carry and I usually can’t be bothered.

If using a suitcase, the basic method is to just lay the jacket on its back, making sure the collar and shoulders are far enough from the sides, and fold up the bottom half. You need a case that is as wide as the jacket.

Louis Vuitton, in its Art of Packingseries, recommends folding like this but putting things like socks in the tops of the sleeves, and a sweater and trousers from the suit inside the jacket, before folding it over. This makes sense as it reduces hard creases and also works well if you fold shirts around each other. I can never be bothered to be this intricate, however.

The main alternative technique is to fold the jacket lengthways, but turn it inside out first. This is illustrated quite well on a video here. The biggest advantage of this method is that it protects the material of the jacket from nicks or pulls. I haven’t found it has many benefits in terms of creasing, but it is the technique I normally use. Again, it helps if your case is as long as the jacket, so you don’t need to fold up the bottom at all.

Some tailors when making visits overseas even use this inside-out technique and then roll the jacket up. In my experience this only works on softer jackets, in terms of both cloth and construction. Don’t do it with worsted, but with a cashmere jacket for a weekend away, this can even be ok in a holdall.

Finally, hanging the jacket in a steamy bathroom does have some benefits. But it’s only marginally better than hanging the thing up in a wardrobe overnight. Look after your jacket, don’t leave it on the floor and brush it down.