How to Fold a Jacket for Travel – Reader Question

A few weeks ago a reader commented on another article with a question regarding how to fold a jacket for travel (specifically, an unstructured jacket). It’s a question which comes up semi-regularly, so I thought it was time to cover it properly.

Most articles or tutorials I’ve seen give an overview of how to fold the jacket (it’s fairly straight forward) but neglect to mention equally important things like choosing the cloth for a jacket you’re going to be travelling in, how to eliminate having to fold it at all or other things you can do to a folded jacket to reduce/eliminate creasing. I’ll try my best to address that here.

There’s nothing unique which needs to be done to fold an unstructured jacket, compared to a structured jacket, you’ll just want to take a bit more care to try to eliminate creasing, but stopping a jacket creasing is largely down to the cloth, not the structure.

I’ll start with how to fold a jacket properly, as that’s what the article is about, and then cover the other points mentioned above.

Press one of the shoulders so it’s inside out (don’t pull the sleeve through, just push the shoulder inside out. In the image above you can see the creme lining of the shoulder which has been inverted.

Press the other shoulder into the shoulder you just inverted so one shoulder effectively nestles inside the other. This image doesn’t do a great job of showing it, but one shoulder is now sitting inside the shoulder you can see. At this point the jacket is basically folded in half down its length.

This step always gets overlooked in other articles I’ve seen; Place another item of clothing so that the bottom of the other item sits on the line at which you will fold the jacket. Obviously you’ll want this to be a piece of clothing you already planned to pack. In summer, a polo. In winter a jumper or cardigan.

Fold the jacket in half over the sweater. This ensures the jacket won’t crease along the fold line, which usually happens if there’s nothing there to act as padding.

This is additional option will stop the sleeve head being crushed or creasing. When you slide one shoulder inside the other, place a pair of socks inside the sleeve head. This does the same thing as the sweater along the body and stops creasing. It goes without saying to pack the jacket on top of everything else in your bag, so there’s nothing to compress it.

Other Considerations: 

Whilst listed as “other” considerations, these should be primary as they may avoid you having to fold the jacket at all.

Suit Bag and Check-In: The times where I’ve flown internationally with a jacket I’ve always been able to put it in a suit bag and give it to a flight attendant when boarding, then collect it when leaving the plane. You can’t guarantee there will always be space available, but I’ve never had that come up as an issue.

Choose the Right Cloth: As mentioned above, the cloth your jacket is made from is the primary determining factor in how much it will or won’t crease. A high-twist wool like Holland and Sherry’s “Crispair” is damn near impossible to crease and makes for a great summer-weight travel jacket cloth. I almost chose this when I had my trousers from Ambrosi a few years ago, in large part for the fact that it’s ideal for summer and refuses to crease. In that instance we ended up with a Sharkskin fabric from Vitale Barberis Canonico and it’s been amazing in hot weather, with creases falling out almost instantly. Mohair (goat) is also great for crease resistance.

Winter weight cloths are less likely to crease anyway, as there’s so much body to them and any creases will typically fall out quickly once the jacket is hung up for an hour or so.

On the other side of the coin, linen, cotton and a lot of standard wool cloths will crease with ease, so if a crease free travel jacket is a priority, then these are best avoided.

Bags: 

A bag designed to carry a suit will go a long way to eliminate/reduce creases.

Bennett Winch recently completed their SC holdall with Simon Crompton of Permanent Style, designed to be a weekender which could also carry a suit safely (ideal for a weekend away at a wedding). I haven’t used it personally, but neither Simon or Bennet Winch would have put their names to it unless it’s both very good quality and functions as intended. On a related note, I’m a huge fan of their leather weekender bag which has been so thoughtfully designed and I’ll try to get one in brown, when they’re released in the months ahead.

Rimowa also now make their “3-Suiter” bag, which is designed to carry multiple suits (along with your other items) without creasing. Well worth looking at if you plan to check baggage and need something hard wearing, which Rimowa are famous for.

Summary: 

In short, prioritise the cloth a jacket is made from and the bag in which a jacket is carried. If neither of those lend themselves to a crease free experience, the folding technique listed here will ensure a largely crease free experience anyway.

One final note; don’t stress too much over creases. It’s just a jacket and clothes which looked a little lived in are far more attractive and stylish than anything which is too perfect. That said, there’s always a hotel with an iron which will get you out of any trouble, in the end.

Andrew is an Australian born writer, covering the world's leading bespoke tailors and craftspeople in menswear, with a focus on authentic quality, over branding. He spends most of his days running his successful (god knows how) consulting company and travels frequently to Europe for work and writing. He's a passionate cyclist, former trainee professional golfer and lover of all things Cocker Spaniel. He's married to his best friend and significantly better half, Mehri.

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