The other day Susan provided a must-have list for business travel. (You should go check it out – she’s right on target.) Through multiple careers and endless amounts of travel for both long- and short-term engagements (my ex-consulting life is showing there) I have learned it is not only WHAT you pack, but HOW you pack as well.
Back in college I had a roommate that worked for the Gap. All of her clothes were meticulously folded a la retail display style and I marveled at how neat and tidy her shelves and closet looked. She was kind enough to teach me the Art of the Fold and later I came to realize that this approach is great for not only the aesthetically pleasing closet, but for traveling as well.
I’ll show you two different shirts – both with different fabric weights, but also different cuts.
Shirt one: Grey Banana Republic Polished Cotton with Fitted Waist
STEP ONE: Turn shirt over and lay flat.
Note: Because of the fitted waist and stiff collar, it will not lay perfectly flat. This is okay. Don’t panic.
STEP TWO: Slightly past the arm seam, fold the sleeve backwards diagonally across the shirt.
STEP THREE: Do the same for the other sleeve. Cross over the first sleeve.
Note: This shirt has French cuffs and will not lay flat or aligned because of how the sleeves are pressed. No big deal. Let the shirt lead you – it will be fine as long as it’s pressed well.
STEP FOUR: Starting at the arm seam, vertically fold that side of the shirt to meet in the middle.
STEP FIVE: Do the same for the other side. The sides should meet evenly vertically in the middle.
STEP SIX: Fold the bottom half of the shirt upwards to meet the shoulders.
This is not unlike origami for clothes, no?
STEP SEVEN: Flip folded shirt over. Voila! It’s like you live in a boutique.
Here’s one more example with a more squarely constructed shirt and a thinner fabric. It’s a thin cotton tunic that wrinkles if you look at it funny, but I love it. This is just to show you it works for many, many options. I’ve done this with an organza shirt and it traveled perfectly wrapped in a little tissue.
Now there is one more fold you can successfully do to allow for more room in your suitcase:
This cuts down tremendously on space in my suitcases. For the record, this folding technique works on sweaters as well – but can add to bulk in your suitcase. Use at your discretion based on the weight of your items.
Happy packing and happy travels!