One of the most important steps to pack a suit (or anything else) in a garment bag is choosing the right bag. While the basic design of garment bags are the same overall, there are somethings that set some apart including better features and exterior material.
Choosing a Good Garment Bag
Start with a clear budget keeping in mind how you are planning to use the garment bag. Obviously you should be willing to invest more for a bag that is going to be used for travel vs. one that is going to be used to store items in a closet. The more frequently that you travel, the more durable the bag will need to be. The two most important parts of the garment bag then are the material that it is made of and the zippers. Read reviews online keeping in mind that some of the overly flattering and positive ones might be paid for especially if you are getting a lot of similar sounding negative reviews for the same item.
If you have the ability to do so, look at a few different garment bags in stores so that you can test them out. Once you find one that satisfies your needs, shop online for a better price if possible.
The Right Type of Bag
When choosing the bag make sure that you are considering how it will be used. For instance, if you only travel by car from place to place you can opt for virtually any type of bag because you have full control over it. If you are traveling by plane you will be bound by size rules and the limitations of storage space in the passenger area of the plane. For most airlines, the bag should be the folding style meaning that you do run a slight risk of some light wrinkling no matter how carefully you pack your suit.
If you are going to need more than a single suit at your destination, make sure that the bag can hold more because the more that gets stuffed in to the garment bag the more deeply your items will crease.
Choose the best garment bag for suits here.
Packing Your Suit Like a Pro (And Saving Space While You are at it)
While you do not want to over pack the garment bag you are still going to want to bring the essentials with you. Keep items that could leak separate from everything else with a pouch. Remember that there are regulations about liquids and how they should be carried, so pack accordingly. You don’t need to have your items pulled out after you spent time carefully arranging it to minimize wrinkles.
Socks, under garments including tee shirts and even sleep wear can be used to your advantage. Roll these items up and slide them in to suit sleeves to hold them out and to minimize the wrinkling. Be careful not to overstuff the sleeves or you will get the opposite effect. Your dress shoes can be placed at the bottom of the bag if you don’t have a separate compartment for them.
Packing the Actual Suit
Unzip the bag fully and lay it across a flat surface like a table or bed. Drape the pants over the hanger using the crease as the guide to where and how to fold them if you are very tall. If your pants will fit in the garment bag without folding, clip them to the hanger’s bar by the hems. Using padded clips will minimize any dents that may appear. Next, slide the dress shirt onto the hanger. If you are wearing more than one suit and plan on changing dress shirts, you can layer the shirts one over the other being mindful of how you place them on the hanger. Button each shirt fully which allows you to not only secure it to the hanger but also lets you see if there are stains, missing buttons or other issues that would damage your appearance.
Holding the cuff of the shirt sleeve, slide the suit jacket over making sure that the sleeves are not bunching up as you go. Repeat on the opposite side. As with the dress shirt, you will fasten the buttons on your suit jacket, inspecting it as you go. You can repeat this step with a second suit jacket if the material of both is fairly light and you do so with great care. Keep in mind that your suit will probably still need a light steaming when you reach your destination.
Be wary of adding additional items to your pockets as they will pull the pockets down. If you need to pack another case, do so unless you enjoy ironing after a flight.
Finally, once you have reached your destination hang the garment back up and unzip it so that your items can air out. If you need a quick touch up for minimal wrinkling, you can hang the suit in the bathroom while you take a hot shower otherwise you will need to break out the iron.