We all travel from A to B the whole time. For business or pleasure, from short journeys to long journeys, from over nights to weeks away – getting our clothes around is a challenge and doing it without creasing is even harder! Let’s be frank, your clothes will crease in transit but there are ways to minimise the effects. One of the first things to make sure is that you have a decent travel case. If you are a flyer and need to check your luggage in, you would be wise to buy a case that has a hard shell. Luggage handlers are notorious for the way they move bags and cases around, but also it will stop any further disruptions to its contents. Also be aware of the restrictions you may need to know about for your hand luggage. Some carriers have changed their parameters so make sure you are in the know. You don’t want to turn up to the airport and have a ‘situation’ on your hands!
Before you put anything into anything – do two things: check the weather for your destination and draw up a list of the items you will need. This will really help you minimise taking items that you don’t need to take. When you have them laid out, firstly make sure they are fully dry and put them on your bed so you can see what you are dealing with.
It’s really important to make sure all your fresh laundry for the trip is dry. Leaving washing until the last minute is not a good idea because you don’t want to have to pack damp clothes. With your shirts especially, they should be dried naturally so don’t put them in a drier. Why? Because tumble driers not only cause shrinkage to the shirts but can lead to further damage to the collar tips as they churn round and help make the buttons more brittle.
With everything you are about to pack, bar your underwear, it is worth giving it a quick iron. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but what it does is minimise the problem once you arrive and unpack.
How do I pack a suit?
If you won’t want creases then the simple truth is don’t pack them and carry them in a suit carrier, keep them on a hanger and unfolded. However if they are destined for the suitcase, pack them like this and make sure they at the bottom of your suit case to avoid them moving around in transit:
- Firstly, fold the suit jacket completely inside out so that all the lining in showing and even the shoulders have been popped inside out.
- Secondly, fold the jacket in half down the centre back seam.
- Finally, fold the jacket again from the collar to the tail.
Press them then roll them. Once you have a crease pressed down the front of them, tightly roll the legs up tightly from the bottoms to the top.
Unpacking your suit
As soon as you are able to, unpack your case. Remove your suit and hang it on a hanger. If you reach the hotel and have a shower on arrival, then place the jacket and trousers on separate hangers and put them in the bathroom. The room will be hot and damp which will help the cloth hang out.
As mentioned, before you travel it is worth giving them an iron. They are notoriously the hardest clothes to keep crease free but the best way to give them any chance of surviving is to fold them with dry cleaning bags positioned in between the layers of your folding, making sure that all buttons are done up. The collar should be turned up and not down. When you arrive, again, unpack and hang the shirts out as soon as you can.
If you are making use of a hotel laundry facilities, remember that chances are they won’t value your shirts to the same degree you do. They will be washed and dried (drying unnaturally not being good for the cotton). They will then have them pressed on machines that are likely to be on and very hot for the majority of the day resulting in too much heat being applied to the collar. This leads to a shortening of the shirt’s life. It is often practical and necessary to use the services available but consider the point.
These are simple. Roll them up and put them inside your shoes. They are better stored in that way. There are various retailers offering very attractive tie cases in leather but on a practical level that is just another accessory you don’t need to take with you.
When you arrive unroll the ties and let them hang out. If they need a hand, boil the hotel kettle in your room, and taking care, put some steam into a tie to soften it. When it’s still warm put it straight on a flat surface and press and tap it flat with your hand. Even better would be to hover above a tie getting steam into the silk.
Never iron your tie. Doing so will flatten the lustre, it will making it more shiny up the shaft – helping define the interlining and will lose its plumpness.
Notoriously tricky to keep in good shape, you are better off carrying it. In a suitcase it is better to store it upside down and pack other items around it to secure it. Then fill the head space with t shirts and other soft items. This will help a hat travel reasonably well.
When you arrive at your destination your hat can be rescued by the tools you will find in your hotel room. All you need is the kettle again. Simply use the steam to soften the straw, remould it and allow to cool and dry out.
Depending on the purpose of your trip away, consider the shoes you will actually need and ditch the ‘would be nice to haves’. Shoes are not only a difficult shape and size for a suitcase, but too many of them will add to the weight of your case. It is worth considering this if you are party to a weight restriction for your flight. Pack what you need, not what you might need.