I love to travel, but I hate to pack. When I do travel, it’s usually not for business, but if you do, a sport coat or suit, some ties, and at least one crisp dress shirt are usually in the line-up. Homeland Security rummaging through your bag and messing everything up notwithstanding, if you want to ensure that your dress shirts arrive without having to suffer the death of a thousand wrinkles, here’s how to fold them.
1) Find a large, flat and clean surface to fold on. If need be, lay down a clean towel first.
2) If the shirts you plan to take are a little wrinkled, iron them first using a small amount of spray starch. If you dry clean your shirts and they come back on hangers, you can skip the ironing.
3) Starting from the collar, button the shirt all the way down. This helps keep the fabric from creasing and the shirttails from being pulled apart and/or wrinkled by any other items that may jostle around in the bag during your trip.
4) Place your shirt on the folding surface with its back facing up. Take the right sleeve and fold it across the upper back so the cuff falls near the edge of the opposite shoulder. Now do the left sleeve. Make sure that the sleeves and cuffs are lying flat, and the fabric is smooth.
5) Grab the right side of the shirt by placing one hand on the shoulder to secure the sleeve, and your other hand at the bottom end of the seam. Fold it across the back of the shirt so that it lines-up at the center of the collar. Do the same for the left side. The side seams of the shirt should now be touching each other forming a straight line down the center of the shirt.
6) Place your hands on the shoulders of the shirt. Using your fingers, apply some pressure just below the collar. This will keep the sleeves from slipping. Pull down the top half of the shirt and fold it in half, lengthwise, so that the collar meets the tail or extends a little past it. The front of the shirt will now be flat and facing-up.
7) Since you’re packing for a suitcase rather than a drawer, fold the shirt in half again, bringing the bottom edge of the first fold up the back side to meet the collar.
Also: Make sure to pack all of your shirts together. Try not to put heavier items like shoes, shaving kits, etc. on or around your dress clothes. If your bag has luggage straps, use them to help keep your shirts in place during handling. Finally, when you unpack, be sure to hang your shirts in the closet.