How To Fold a Dress Shirt for Travel

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Traveling can sometimes be tough, not only for you but for your clothes as well. However, out of all the clothes you may have in your luggage, your shirts probably suffer the most.

The chances are that you have to deal with ruffled shirts every time you travel. If this is the case, it’s probably because you don’t quite know how to fold your dress shirts properly. Don’t worry, we completely understand. Plus, it’s not just you. 

Of course, traveling should be associated with taking a rest, lying down next to a pool, taking in the sun, or maybe just climbing a mountain. Whatever your idea of a perfect trip is, it may be quickly stained by a suitcase full of wrinkled shirts.

This could turn a relaxing trip into one where you have to spend hours ironing your shirts before putting them on. It’s even worse when you travel to attend important business meetings where you have to look formal and neat.

That’s the main reason why we decided to walk you through how to fold a dress shirt for travel. We want to make sure that on your next trip, you won’t have to worry about unpacking a bunch of wrinkled shirts.

Now, you might be wondering, “why only shirts?” Well, dress shirts arguably have the most complex and challenging folding processes.

Important Things to Know Before You Begin Trying to Fold a Dress Shirt for Travel
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Before thinking about how to do the best folding on your clothes, we want to give you some tips. They should help you keep your clothes neat and unwrinkled for longer periods during your trip.

  • Get your shirts dry cleaned before the journey. This will give extra stiffness to clothes, making them slightly more resistant to wrinkles.
  • Focus on packing as much as folding. You might have the right technique for folding your clothes. But, if you pack them poorly, you’d still end up with a bag full of crumpled clothes. For clarity, packing involves everything from arranging the clothes properly to picking a suitcase that’s the right size for the quantity of clothes you’ll be carrying.

Now that you’ve made sure that the clothes are dry cleaned and you have an idea of how you will accommodate your clothes in your suitcases, it’s time to start folding each piece of dress shirt.

There are many ways to fold a dress shirt for travel. However, we’ll be highlighting just three effective methods that are also the most common. Using any of the three recommendations on our list should help you optimize space in your suitcase while keeping your clothes wrinkle-free.

The Dress Shirt Folding Method
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This may be the most recommended way to fold a dress shirt for a trip. Summarily, you have to fold the shirt into a square or rectangle. This substantially decreases the risk of wrinkling.

Step #1 – Find a Flat Space to Work

Trying to fold your shirts on a bed or a sofa is not the best idea. Instead, you should always go for a flat and hard surface like a table, or even the same floor – clean, of course. This will prevent your clothes from being molded to the surface’s wrinkles.

Step #2 – Button Up Your Shirt

Make sure you close all the buttons on your shirt, not just the middle or top ones. Doing so will ensure that no shirt accidentally opens up in the suitcase during the trip.

Step #3 – Fold the Arms

This step should be done one sleeve at a time. While working with the first sleeve, fold your shirt along the crease where both the shoulder and the rest of the shirt meet. Always make sure that the sleeve looks straight. This way, you can avoid any unnecessary creasing.

Repeat the step described above on the second sleeve. Be careful to apply the same pattern of the first sleeve to the second.

Step #4 – Make the V Shape

Now that the arms are folded, focusing on the middle point of each sleeve as a guideline, you’ll grab their end and take it to the collar of the dressing shirt. This technique is about cross folding the sleeves and making the shape of a ‘V.’

Step #5 – Fold the Sides

The last step is to take the sides of the shirt in. This will assure you that the shirt fits the right size to be packed. To do this, take the shirt and fold the left, right, and bottom side onto the center. In the process, try to set them where your shoulder blades will be when you wear them.

The Dressing Shirt Rolling Method
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Some doubt that this method is great for preventing wrinkles. However, if done right, it can help you save space at the very least and keep your clothes neat as well.

Step #1 – Find a Flat Surface

Just as you did in the first method, find a flat surface to work on. This ensures that you won’t get any extra wrinkles that would normally appear when working on a non-flat surface.

Step #2 – Make a Parallel Fold

Grab the bottom of the shirt. Next, fold it up about 4 inches. You must make sure that the sides of the shirt’s front and the back part lay parallel to each other.

Step #3 – Fold the Sleeves

Fold the right and left sleeves onto the shirt’s center at the back of the shirt. Make sure that each sleeve touches the other, and fold them evenly.

Step #4 – Start Rolling

Starting with the collar part, begin to roll the shirt. Focus on rolling parallelly so that no side will go out of the roll. Keep in mind that you should roll to the bottom where you created a pocket of 4 inches in step #2.

Step #5 – Time to Pack it Up!

After rolling up your dressing shirt, pack it into the suitcase. Make sure you place the rolls at the bottom. This way, you’ll get an even surface where you can store some other clothes or objects for your travel.

Folding Dressing Shirts Together
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This may not be the most popular method. But it can still come in handy. We’ll explain to you what it is about and how to do it properly.

Step #1 – Start With a Flat Surface 

Do this for all the reasons mentioned earlier.

Step #2 – Use your Fingers

Place one of your fingers at the neckline and fold the sleeves. This way, you’ll get a straight line that goes all the way down through the edge of your shirt. This works as well on short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts.

Step #3 – Begin with the Left Side 

Drag the left sleeve to the line of the folding made in step #2. This way, your sleeve will be folded on the back of the shirt.

Keep in mind that if the shirt has long-sleeves, it will fold aligned in the length of your shirt. But, if it’s short-sleeved, the sleeves will fold onto the top third of the shirt.

Step #4 – Fold the Right Sleeve

Just as you folded the left sleeve, now fold the right one. Both sleeves must be lying in a flat position on the back of the dressing shirt.

As a tip, smooth out the surface of the shirt. This will help you to get the shirt perfectly free of wrinkles.

Step #5 – Time to Place a Shirt Into Another

Find a second folded shirt, and place it on top of the shirt you were already folding. Place the second one in the bottom of the first shirt. Always keeping a margin of 3 to 5 inches at the shirt’s tail.

Step #6 – Making a Shirt Sandwich

Once both shirts are aligned up, fold the first shirt around the second one. Make sure the second shirt is now between the top and bottom half of the first shirt.

Step #7 – Flip it!

Flip both shirts so that they face the front towards you. Then, pack both shirts into the suitcase. This technique, as well as the common folding way, cuts the wrinkles to a minimum, relieving you of the need for a pressing iron while traveling.

To Roll or Not to Roll
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While trying to decide on the best way to fold a dress shirt, you’ll likely get stuck between deciding whether or not you should roll.

Many people agree that while both folding methods are okay and can provide great results, the best option for you depends on the clothes you’re packing. 

Even though rolling will save you a lot of space on your bags and suitcases, it is more likely to wrinkle. Plus, it might give you an extra hard time when unpacking your dressing shirts in your hotel. This is why folding has more fans than rolling.

So, when it comes to dress shirts, the best way would be to fold them. But if you’re not carrying many dressing shirts, rolling will be the best choice for you. At the very least, it’ll help free up space for your casual clothes.

Extra Tip: How to Remove Wrinkles Without an Iron!
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Most hotels give you the advantage of having an iron on your room for obvious reasons. But what happens if your hotel doesn’t have this amenity?

Here are a few tips to help under those circumstances:

  • First, hang your shirt somewhere the water won’t touch it in the bathroom. Then, close all doors and windows in the bathroom. Once done, take a long, hot shower. The steam from your bath will help reduce your cloth’s wrinkles.
  • If you have a blow dryer, set it to high and hot, and zap the crinkles until they’re gone. Make sure to not hold it too close to the cloth to avoid charring the shirt.
  • You can also use a hair straightener device as a flatiron if you really need your clothes unwrinkled. Do not forget to clean the plates before using the flat iron. In addition, don’t set the temperature too high. Instead, adjust it gradually until you get the results you need.
  • This is more of a preventive measure, but try getting a bigger suitcase. With a larger suitcase or bag, you have more space to store your shirts without needing to squeeze them in uncomfortably. By doing this, you’ll be stopping the wrinkles before they even happen.
  • Finally, be sure to store your shirts properly once you get to your destination. That is, hang them in the wardrobe appropriately or fold them as best as you can instead of simply leaving them lying carelessly across the room. That way, you will not defeat the purpose of painstakingly folding them in the first place. 

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Final Thoughts

We know as well as you do that folding your clothes can sometimes be a hassle. This is especially so when you have to do it while dealing with all the other stressful aspects of traveling.

But, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Our guide should point you in the right direction on how to fold your shirts properly when traveling. 

If you’re having trouble figuring out which of the methods to use, consider a few key factors. For starters, will you be packing a lot of dress shirts? If so, you certainly should be rolling them all as that can lead to several wrinkles. Instead, try folding them in a separate suitcase if you can afford to do so. 

If, however, you’ve only got a few dress shirts, you can roll them up to create space for your casual clothing items. Whatever the case is, simply remember to have fun while you do it. You’re folding shirts, not creating a drug to cure all diseases. No pressure. Good luck on your travels!