How To Pack a Suit in a Suitcase: Complete No-Nonsense Guide

Wondering how to pack a suit in a suitcase properly? Here are the main methods you can use, plus some extra tips to make it as easy as possible.

It sounds obvious, but suitcases used to be actual cases for suits.

They were designed for upper-class folks who needed to lug (hence the word luggage) their fancy dress suits from A to B.

It’s different nowadays, though. You don’t usually need to know how to pack a suit in a suitcase unless you’re travelling on a business trip or have a wedding to attend.

That’s why my go-to strategy to date has been to stuff my suit in a backpack and try not to think about the creases…

Unsurprisingly, there are better ways to do it!

I owed it to my one nice suit to investigate them. If you’re wondering how to travel with a suit properly, this guide should help!

In this first section, I’ll go through four different methods I found for packing a suit jacket in a suitcase. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

How to Fold a Suit Jacket

Travelling with a suit is tricky, mainly because of the jacket. How do you fold it in a way that a) avoids excessive creasing and b) doesn’t take up too much space in your case? Here are a few packing hacks:

Option 1 – Two Inverted Shoulders

One way people pack a suit in a suitcase is by turning both shoulders inside out before folding it in half. This packing method protects the suit’s exterior from creasing. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lay the jacket flat, with the front (button-side) facing up.
  2. Turn it inside out by inverting both shoulders. For example, hold the jacket’s right shoulder with your left hand and its right lapel with your right hand, then pull/fold that side of the jacket around to the back. Repeat for the other side. When that’s done, you should be looking at the suit’s inner lining and the holes your arms go into.
  3. Reread the last point because it probably made no sense (don’t worry, I’ll link to a video of the process in a second).
  4. Fold the jacket in half on the long side so its lapels are touching/aligned. You shouldn’t be able to see the sleeves, and the inner lining should be on the outside.
  5. Now fold the jacket in half (or into thirds) down the short side.
  6. If you want to get fancy, fold the trousers around the folded jacket to make a neat little suit parcel.

See it in action:

Option 2 – One Inverted Shoulder

Here’s another way to fold your suit jacket that involves inverting a shoulder. However, I think this one’s simpler – even though it’s harder to describe (apologies in advance if this makes no sense)…

  1. Start by holding your jacket in front of you, buttons pointing outward, as if you’re about to put it on somebody else.
  2. Invert one of its shoulders so the lining is on the outside, and you can no longer see the sleeve.
  3. Next, slide the other shoulder beneath this one. This effectively folds the jacket in half. It’ll be inside out, with the outside of one shoulder tucked under the other. If it’s done right, you’ll only be able to see the lining.
  4. You can then fold it in half or into thirds down the short side

See it in action:

Using a plastic suit carrier from the dry cleaners is another way to pack your suit in a suitcase. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Option 3 – The Plastic Suit Carrier

A third option is super simple but requires an extra item. You know the plastic suit carriers that dry cleaners put suits in?Put yours in one of them, then fold it in half along the short side (so the suit’s bottom touches its collar).

The plastic should enable you to squeeze the air out and create a “vacuum-packed effect” that saves space (just be careful of squeezing creases into the materials). It’ll also protect each item from spillages and so on.

Option 4 – The Standard Fold

No plastic suit carrier? No worries. This last way to pack a suit into a suitcase involves no fancy folds or extra materials.

This method lacks protection from the plastic, and creasing is more likely because it isn’t inside out, but it’ll do the job!You’re basically folding the suit how you’d fold a nice shirt…

  1. Start by laying it flat. Your suit should be face down (buttons underneath), with the bottom closest to you.
  2. Fold one side of the jacket backwards so the sleeve is slightly over the centre line and the lapel is now facing up. Make sure the sleeves are as flat as possible.
  3. Repeat the previous step for the other side of the suit. It should now be roughly a third of its usual width, with the sleeves overlapping, lapels facing up, and everything flat and parallel.
  4. Now, fold the folded jacket in half along its short side to create a neat square. The lapels should be facing up when you pack the jacket into your suitcase.
Next up: how to fold your dress shirts to pack them properly. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

How to Fold Your Dress Shirts

One benefit of wearing a suit jacket is that it hides any creases on your shirt.Nevertheless, it makes sense to pack your dress shirt properly, too. Fold it correctly, and you’ll stop it from creasing in transit. Here’s how:

  1. Button the shirt up to the very top.
  2. Lay the shirt face down, with its bottom closest to you.
  3. Fold each sleeve backwards from the shoulder crease, keeping them as straight and flat as possible. They should lay diagonally across the back, crossing in the middle.
  4. Fold each sleeve up so the cuffs touch the collar. The sleeves should look a bit like the letter “W.”
  5. Next, fold the shirt sides inward so they meet in the middle.
  6. Finally, fold the shirt into thirds, starting at the bottom. It should make a nice square shape. Turn the folded shirt over and put it into the suitcase with the collar facing up.

See it in action:

How to Pack Dress Shoes

Two quick tips for your dress shoes:

First, consider putting them in a proper shoe bag before popping them in the suitcase. It’ll keep the surface scuff-free and stop any grime from rubbing onto other clothes.

Second, stuff them with socks.This will save space in your case and also stop the shoes from getting squished. It’ll maintain your shoes’ shape, prolonging their functional and aesthetic life.

Extra Tips On How to Pack a Suit in a Suitcase

You should now have a nicely folded jacket and shirt (I haven’t talked about trousers because you can just fold these as usual, trying to keep everything flat and wrinkle-free – fold along the seams).

From here, you can lay your suit in a suitcase, piece by piece.

However, if you’re going to go through all this trouble to keep it in good condition, why not invest in some packing cubes?

You can use these handy travel accessories to compress your packed suitcase and keep your suit away from other travel necessities such as deodorant, chargers, and a toothbrush.

Travelling with a small suitcase or carry-on luggage only?

Prioritise your suit! It’s tempting to cram everything in, but a jam-packed case creates creases. Take less of everything else if possible, pack light and thin clothes, and wear larger/thicker items while travelling.

Let’s finish with a couple of alternatives to consider when travelling with a suit. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

How to Travel With a Suit: Alternative Solutions

Knowing how to fold a jacket properly is a crucial piece of the puzzle when travelling with a suit.But there are other packing tips that make life even easier. Here are two considerations:

1. Use a Garment Bag

You could buy a garment bag to avoid folding a suit altogether.The downside of this is having extra luggage to carry. The upside is that it’s specifically designed for transporting fancy clothes, like suits!

Stick the suit on a coat hanger, pop it in the garment bag, then zip everything up. There’s often a loop of material at the top and bottom, allowing you to fold it in half to carry more easily. You may even be able to zip it up in this position.

Some garment bags even have storage pockets for shoes.

Of course, if it fits, nothing is stopping you from putting this suit-filled garment bag into your suitcase! Assuming it’s laid flat, you should avoid creases. More on this idea next…

2. Buy a Suitcase Where You Can “Hang” Clothing

Some suitcases come with removable suit-storage features. This usually involves having a garment bag that’s specially designed to fit inside the case. It offers the best of both worlds – purpose-built suit storage without the hassle of carrying luggage in a separate bag.

When you’re not travelling with a suit, you can take the bag out to create more empty space inside. When you are, you can pack the suit away neatly, keeping everything flat and crease-free, and enjoy the convenience of travelling light with a single case.

Time to Start Packing Your Suit Properly

That brings this guide on how to pack a suit in a suitcase to an end!I hope it’s been helpful. Keep the methods and tips in mind, and you should be sporting (and transporting) wrinkle-free suits in no time.

Know of any other methods for keeping a suit free from wrinkles? Drop a comment to let me know, and I’ll add them to the list.In the meantime, check out these 80 essential things to take on any trip.

Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including and news sites across the US.