Fold, Roll, or Layer?

Each method of packing has its fans who swear it’s the only way to go, but done correctly, all will leave your clothes relatively wrinkle-free. Always pack your suitcase full enough to keep clothes from shifting, but not so full that you have to force it closed.

The folding method (the author’s preferred method). Always fold horizontally, so when you hang up your clothes upon arrival, gravity will help pull the creases out.

To fold a jacket, shirt, sweater, T-shirt, or blouse: Button the item and lay it facedown. Fold sleeves horizontally across the upper back and fold the body horizontally in half. Longer garments can be folded in thirds. Fold skirts horizontally in half or thirds. Fold slacks along the crease line first, then horizontally in half. Stack folded clothes in the suitcase like layers of a sandwich, putting jackets in last, and alternating their collars in opposite directions. Stuff collars with hosiery or undergarments to keep them from being crushed. Place shoes—stuffed with socks and hosiery—and irregularly-shaped objects on top of the folded clothes.

The rolling method. JCK senior fashion editor Carrie Soucy is an avowed “roller.” Dry-cleaning bags are essential to this method, she says: Put each garment into a dry-cleaning bag before rolling. To roll pants, fold on the crease or however they are pressed. Lay them flat, in the bag, then roll the garment and bag together like a Fruit Roll-up. To roll jackets or shirts, fold once along the back seam, bag and all, then lay flat and roll. Clothes should be loosely rolled, not squashed like a sleeping bag. To pack, stack rolled garments on end in the suitcase, like paper towels on a supermarket shelf. If they don’t fit that way, lay them down and stack like logs. When using this method, shoes and heavy objects go at the bottom of the suitcase.

The layering method. This is done by placing the bottom half of each garment in the suitcase with the top half draped out over the sides of the suitcase, alternating directions for each piece. When all of the garments have been piled in, begin folding the top halves over one another in alternating layers, like an accordion.


Your attire while traveling should be presentable for a business meeting. A track suit may be more comfortable, but unless you know you’ll have time to shop upon arrival, err on the side of caution in case your luggage gets lost. Even with today’s carry-on baggage restrictions, a clean shirt, some undergarments, and a few toiletries should fit into your bag, briefcase, or purse.

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