How To Pack It: The Dress Shirt

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Take one sleeve and fold it over, keeping a straight line where it's folded at the arm hole.

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Fold the sleeve so the cuff meets the collar.

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Fold the other arm over, remembering to keep a straight line at the arm hole fold.

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And fold the other sleeve up.

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Carefully fold one side of the shirt about one-third of the way over lengthwise.

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Then do the same on the other side.

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Now fold the bottom of the shirt one-third of the way up.

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And a second fold up to the top...

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Et voilà! That was fun, wasn't it? Do it again!

When you’re packing for travel – whether that’s a weeklong vacation, a weekend getaway, or a quick overnighter – it’s important to make the most of the space you have in your suitcase, carry on, or duffle bag.

And in addition to optimizing space, you also want to do your best to keep your clothing – especially those nice pieces – safe and as wrinkle-free as possible.

Traveling as much as I do every year, I’ve pretty much dialed in a method and routine. And we’re kicking off a brand new How To Pack It series to share those tips with you.

First up: how to fold and pack a dress shirt. Flip through the photos above for the step-by-step play-by-play.

how to pack dress shirt in suitcase carry on wont wrinkle

Step 5 of 10. Halfway done! Use the slideshow for the full monte.

And here are a few common questions answered…

Is it possible to pack a dress shirt so it doesn’t wrinkle?

Unfortunately, no. It doesn’t matter what method you use – folding as illustrated above, another way, or rolling – the hard truth is that when you’re stuffing a piece of clothing in a small space against a bunch of other stuff, it’s going to wrinkle. Your only option is to use the iron at the hotel or to invest in a travel steamer.

How long does this method take?

About one minute.

Is it worth the effort?

Absolutely. I used to lamely fold my dress shirts and waste a ton of space in my luggage as a result. This folding method is extremely compact and saves a ton of space. Plus, it’s extremely symmetrical – the resulting small square is very easy to situate in a suitcase, carry-on, or duffle bag.

Chime in: share your dress shirt folding and packing tips below!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Photography by Rob McIver Photo


Chime In

  • Tobias

    Nice and good article, as always :-)

    However, folding clothes in general is one of the reasons I like travelling with a car (whenever I can obvisously), since I can put the suite or the dress shirt on a coathanger in the car..

    Whenever I’ve to take the plane, I make truly sure I am booking a hotel with an iron / ironboard available, simply due to the fact that airline personell (no offense here) might not be THAT careful with your luggage while loading or unloading the airplane :-)

  • Roberto José Villarraga

    Very useful article, thank you, Brian! Folding your dress shirts like this saves a lot of space in your suitcase, for sure, especially on an airplane trip.

  • George V.

    This is EXACTLY how we fold them in the shop where I work. Retail uses it for a reason — it lets you pack a shit ton of shirts into a small space, be it for shipment or display.

  • vlaanderen

    I have a luggage type garment/suit bag, it holds three or four full suits, I put the shirts inside the suits, and they don’t get wrinkled, it also holds two set of shoes and anything else. It’s really a great alt. to the big duffle.

  • Somia

    This is such a good article! i always find hard to fold or packs shirts. Thanks for sharing it.
    somia |

  • Reead

    Thank you 😜 !

  • david calvinpersonal

    Realised how we were doing it wrong all this while. Thank you for the share! Also, stumbled upon some really cool, comfortable and uber stylish looks @ . This American Lifestyle Brand, unveils an exciting collection of denims, pants, knitwear, shirts, hoodies along with everything classic & timeless for men.

  • Harri

    Very good article. Now winter season start and also all favorite Festival season. Every one want to look stunning to other. So this season Manhattan Tailor, Hong Kong best Tailor bring a new range in affordable price. Wear new designer bespoke suits and make your party amazing and unforgettable with bespoke suit effect.

  • Cjay Montealegre

    I’m so lame in packing my clothes, good thing i found this article, learned how to pack and fold my gears, thanks. I want to recommend this site as there are lots of nice apparels to choose from, cheers!

  • Jonathan

    “Bundle” packing significantly improves your odds of having wrinkle free garments at your destination. This is solid too, though.