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Wrinkle-Free Suit Roll-up

Here I sit in a hotel room in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our team is presenting to a company up here tomorrow and heading back to Indianapolis. I bought a new suit for the trip – it was on sale for about 70% off and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s chocolate brown – almost black – and quite comfortable. I haven’t bought a suit in quite a few years so I treated myself to an entire outfit – including slip-on shoes.

Case Logic Messenger BagAt Midway Airport I got into a conversation with another traveler and I mentioned that my suit was packed in my carry-on bag. The guy couldn’t believe that I had a suit in my bag.

In fact, I had my entire trip in a Messenger Bag – change of clothes, laptop, magazine, etc. I wore the slip on dress shoes with my jeans so I looked like a nice traveler – it was really just to save space. And – they’re slip-on so I can make it through security quicker. The Case Logic Messenger Bag I have has a padded rear compartment that my MacBookPro fits in perfectly, so I need not disturb my packing to access the laptop!

When I lived in Denver, I watched a morning show where a guy showed how to roll up a suit so that it’s wrinkle-free. Folks usually bring a big garment bag or fold it up. The problem is that the garment bag gets folded, and folding it up causes wrinkles. If you roll up the suit correctly, you wind up with no wrinkles at all and you can fit it in almost anything.

I’m a big guy – so you can imagine how much space a suit should take up with me.

Roll Up Your Pants

To roll up your pants, be sure that the pants are laid out with the pants on their side and the creases lined up so the pants are perfectly flat. Starting at the waist, roll the pants neatly until they’re in a nice roll. Lay them in your bag or luggage in a soft corner where they won’t get scrunched.

Roll Up Your Jacket

Rolling up your jacket takes a little more finesse. You’ll want to gently bend, not fold :), your jacket so you bring the shoulders back to touch themselves. This way, any fold occurs directly in the middle of the back and looks natural. Gently place the sleeves diagonally down one side of the jacket. You don’t want to fold them as much as bend them. The end of the sleeve should wind up below the bottom button on the jacket.

Starting at the shoulder, roll the jacket up – but be sure that you don’t wrinkle it as you go. It should form a thicker roll than your pants, but will keep well in the travel! Don’t shove things into the bag around it, just lay it in there with socks, undershirt, etc. on top.

Unpacking Your Suit

As soon as you get to your destination, be sure to unpack the bag, unroll the suit, and hang it up. You should find it in perfect condition! Sorry I don’t have pictures to match – I’m actually on the road so a cell phone camera just doesn’t cut it.

NOTE: I don’t seem to have as much luck with dress shirts – I usually wind up ironing them at the hotel.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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  1. Forget those tips about better blogging or various widgets for the WordPress application, this is truly useful knowledge! 🙂



  2. Doug, I love fashion and suits, yours sound jazzy, how is the fit? I get much of my stuff made, I am 6ft2in and 260 lbs. A man of your profession should have no less than 3 nice suits for business, a blue blazer, trench coat, grey slacks and black, and a very hip outfit for your hot dates, The roll up thing, I have to be convinced

    1. My taste in clothing is much more than my budget to buy them, JD! This particular suit is not off the rack – so I need to get it into a tailor. The sleeves are about an inch too long, but everything else is beautiful. I do wish the slacks had a silk lining, my other suit has this and it’s nicer to wear than an old pair of jeans.

      The roll up works! I promise 🙂

  3. You former military man, you! I learned this packing gem when I was out in CA visiting my best friend who was stationed there at the time. I was packing my bag to go home and it really irritated him. He took over and rolled all of my clothing and it ended up fitting into about a third of the space that I had taken up. I think it’s a military thing b/c the only people I know that pack this way have either been in the military or had that influence in their lives.

    Regardless, I’ve folded by rolling everything since. I always arrive with no wrinkles (which are the bane of my existence) and plenty of room for other sundries. Dress shirts, though, yes, have to usually be touched up with an iron.

    Good post, and very valuable information to have as a business person.

    1. I must be getting old… back in my day it was ‘fold & stow’. We didn’t roll anything, but there were practically creases in our clothes from folding them! I do still fold towels as I did in Boot Camp and can’t stand them folded any different. Sad!

  4. Must try rolling the suit and see if it works better than the suit pack I use now. Next trick – getting shirts to my destination without them looking like I slept in them. Any tips for that, anyone?

    1. I buy no-iron shirts from lands end and roll them. If there are any wrinkles or creases, one swipe of the iron is enough. If I know I am going to wear a jacket, I don’t even bother ironing. The creases come out within 30 minutes if I am wearing a suit jacket.

  5. another way – pull one arm of the jacket inside out, and continue so that you have one shoulder inside out. Put the other arm through the inside out arm. Shoulderpads should be stacked. Then roll up the jacket.

    Brooks brothers wrinkle free shirts are the best – they don't get wrinkled.

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