Life Hacks Lifestyle

How To Fold A Dress Shirt For Travel

folded shirts

How do you pack dress shirts? Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, packing the right way is essential. More importantly, you need to pack a dress shirt (but don’t forget your pants). Situations can be unpredictable, and you never know when you will be required to dress up.

Remember, dress shirts are delicate. You cannot stuff them in your suitcase or duffle bag or fold them like you would a t-shirt. That would leave your dress shirt wrinkled and not looking crisp. Picture a kid in junior school who forgot it was picture day.

Undoubtedly, carrying an iron is no option. The solution is to fold your dress shirt so that you can wear it right out of your travel bag (you can also find wrinkle-resistant shirts).

Find out the nitty-gritty details on how to fold your shirt for travel, allowing you to unpack, dress up and show up to any occasion without breaking a sweat. 

Firstly, what should you look for when picking a travel shirt?

How to Find the Best Dress Shirt for Travel?

hanged shirts

Dressing for the weather and the occasion is an attribute you should never lack. Whether it is hot or cold, a wedding or business meeting, it is necessary to look outstanding. There are a few things to look out for when selecting a dress shirt to bring along with you on a trip.

These features include:

1.    Quality Material

A travel shirt’s material is everything when it comes to comfort and visual appeal. You have to make sure you select material that will not tear or stain easily.

Remember, you will be out of your comfort zone since you are away from home. Therefore, you won’t have the chance to run to your house, look inside your wardrobe and grab a better dress shirt.

You need to find the best material for a dress shirt. A combination of spandex, polyester, and nylon works well.  On the other hand, cotton shirts are comfortable, but they absorb and retain moisture and sweat. Cotton shirts are most likely to leave you reeking of sweat.

However, if you love cotton, pack dress shirts with lightweight cotton material.

2.    High Performance

Not all shirts are great to pack when traveling. Some have a killer design but zero performance. For a travel shirt, look for a wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, stain, UV, and odor-resistant shirt.

3.    Versatility

Packing a few shirts when traveling is admirable. This is a trait that’s not common. Many people tend to overpack because they just can’t make a decision.

Packing light will reduce your luggage size, and that will give you an easier time carrying it around. A lighter suitcase can be achieved by carrying versatile dress shirts. In line with this, you should also bring versatile pants. You won’t regret it!

A shirt that would look good in a casual setup and also great for a meeting or dinner is thus, priceless. You should look presentable and simple at the same time. Avoid shirts with big printed logos or writings and offensive images.

Well-designed, fitting, colored shirts will work perfectly in all settings to make you feel in place.

4.    Durability

Your ideal travel shirt should withstand the harsh experience of travel and washing. Natural fabric such as merino wool has excellent durability. Synthetic ones like polyester and nylon can also stretch, so you don’t have to worry about ripping your shirt when your range of motion increases.

5.    Lightweight

When you pack dress shirts, the last thing you need is weighty clothes. The lesser the weight, the more enjoyable and less stressful your trip will be! Consider packing shirts that are lightweight for your travel.

You should also always pack light to save space in your travel bag because you never know if you’ll do some shopping while you are away.

If you are going to a cold area, you can keep warm by layering. With all the movement you will be doing, carrying a lightweight shirt with a fabric that allows a regulated body temperature is a smart move.

Look for polyester, high-thread-count cotton shirts. Merino wool is very advantageous as it can be worn at any time of the year.

Once you have locked down the shirt to carry along, you need to know how to best fold dress shirts.  

Steps To Take When Folding a Dress Shirt

folding a shirt

The secret to unpacking a wrinkle free dress shirt is to fold it properly.  Here’s how you should fold dress shirts properly to reduce wrinkling.

Step 1: Button the shirt from the top button at the collar.

Step 2: Lay the shirt flat on a hard surface that should also be smooth, like a table. The front should face down.

Step 3: Spread the sleeves to the side and ensure there are no wrinkles. If there are wrinkles on the sleeves, flatten them out. The whole point is to avoid wrinkles even as you fold.

Step 4: Fold one sleeve lengthwise (inwards towards the middle of the shirt’s back, halfway up the sleeve) without folding the seam on the side.

Step 5: Fold the sleeve to the middle.

Fold the sleeve so that the side seam is in a straight line from shoulder to bottom edge, and it forms a V-shape under the collar, where they meet.

Repeat this same process, step by step, for the other sleeve.

Step 6: Fold the shirt in half.

Fold the shirt lengthwise in half with two hands from the bottom edge up. The bottom part of the shirt should rest below the collar. You can fold once or twice, depending on the size of your shirt and your packing space.

Flip over the folded shirt and pack.

If you want to fold more than one dress shirt, it is advisable that you lay the second shirt on the first dress shirt as you fold. Ensure you use both hands so that your shirts can look nice and nest. Pay attention to the sleeve area since it’s most likely to crease.

The first shirt covers the second shirt like a sandwich.  

Which Is Better: Folding or Rolling Shirts?

man holding a shirt

Many people prefer rolling their clothes, military-style. It saves up a lot of space since the items remain compact. Sometimes, this rolling method reduces wrinkling.

While the military style is cool, rolling button-up dress shirts is particularly hard as they are bulky because of the sleeves. They are even more prone to creasing as rolling the fabric gets it bunched up.

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method to prevent your dress shirt from wrinkling completely.  Stuffing a cloth in a tiny area where there is a bunch of other items guarantees some amount of wrinkling, no matter how well folded or rolled up it is -hard truth.

Benefits of Rolling Clothes

Many theories purport that when you fold your clothes, you get more space. However, whether or not added space is achieved is up for debate.

Undeniably, rolling has some incredible advantages. They include:

  • The best part of rolling when you pack is that you get to see clearly what you have and where it is without much struggle. Quick and easy access prevents dismantling the arrangement and therefore keeps your items intact until you can unpack and place them somewhere clean and wrinkle proof.
  •  Rolling makes it easier to pack. It’s much more fun because the neatness and uniformity is visually appealing. 
  • That’s not all. Rolling ensures that you make the most of and utilize properly the space you have. You might be bringing with you a carry on, which definitely doesn’t have the luxury of capacity compared to a suitcase.   Rolling is perfect for items that roll easily, are wrinkle resistant, and with medium weight fabrics.  

Unfortunately, dress shirts do not fall under these categories. They most definitely do not roll easily and are prone to wrinkle easily.

Benefits of Folding Clothes

Anyone that prefers folding to rolling is particular about keeping their clothing wrinkle free. Whereas rolling might be fun and less stressful, if you are packing hard to roll clothes, you might have to adopt folding clothes.

A woolen sweater and some other clothes, for example, will take up more space than you would wish if you roll them. The key idea behind not distastefully throwing your items inside your suitcase is to save space.

Carefully and systematically folding clothing helps preserve space and keep your clothes wrinkle free.

Folding guarantees you less wrinkled clothing once you reach your destination.

That’s why folding dress shirts is the better way to keep your dress shirts looking smoothened and crisp.

Honestly, you might not be able to spot everything you packed, but you won’t be calling room service for the hotel iron once you check in.

What Determines The Extent Of Wrinkling?


Wrinkling does not happen to all your clothes. There are determining factors that predispose some of your dress shirts to wrinkle compared to others.

These factors include:

  • The weave and the fabric that makes up the shirt. Some materials used to make dress shirts wrinkle more than others. Those are the weaves and fabrics you should steer clear of.
  • How long is your clothing packed? The longer the period, the more the wrinkling. Immediately you get to your destination, unpack and hang your dress shirt where it won’t get wrinkled.
  • How tightly packed is your clothing? Having a lot of other clothing means they will be tightly packed — the lesser the luggage, the lesser the wrinkling. Adopt a minimalistic packing approach to eliminate wrinkling from over packing.

So, how do you ensure you don’t attend a business meeting or a dinner date with a shirt that is as wrinkled as a prune?

How to Fix Up a Wrinkled Dress Shirt


It would be silly to assume that a shirt would still be perfect when unpacking. Anything can happen on the plane or with luggage handlers. Hanging your dress shirt as you take a steamy shower s does not work as it should, so don’t try that.

However, there is no need to cry over spilt milk. To pack a dress shirt, you need expertise, and if you cannot hack it, here are some solutions:

Refreshing Wrinkled Shirts

If you are running late or you are in a new town, finding and rushing to a dry cleaner might not be a viable option. Paying for laundry services at your hotel may also be out of your budget.

However, if you can access an iron, then your problem is solved already. Nonetheless, the previous user may have left some gunk on the iron. Just try it out on another cloth before pressing your shirt.

Suppose you can’t access a hotel iron. Hang the dress shirt on a hanger, and then spritz some water on the wrinkles. Finally, taut the fabric by pulling. You can then dry the area with a hairdryer and enjoy a wrinkle-free day!

Get Non-Iron Shirts

Pro tip– There are wrinkle resistant or non-iron dress shirts available in stores, which do not require ironing. These non-iron dress shirts will save you the stress of thinking about folding dress shirts or finding an iron when you get to your destination.

It is recommended that you carry more than one wrinkle resistant dress shirt since anything could happen to your first shirt.

Non-iron shirts are readily available; all you have to do is choose those that fit your style. 

Acquire Folding Accessories

Luckily, thanks to inventions and many people not understanding how to fold a dress shirt, there are packing accessories in the market. A good example is a packing cube.

You can place your dress shirt on it and fold it over. It crosses your shirt’s sleeves in an x-shape and does all the heavy work for you. With this cube, you will eliminate wrinkles and enjoy wearing a wrinkle free dress shirt upon arrival.

Always Pack More than One Dress Shirt

You might have hacked the rolling technique or the dress shirt folding method. However, it does not hurt to carry in your suitcase a second shirt. The first shirt might stain or wrinkle. You can never be too sure.

However, do not go overboard with other stuff since it’s still vital to keep the luggage light.

Pack Using Tissue Paper or  A Dryer Sheet

Believe it or not, tissue can save you a lot of wrinkling. Anyone that has packed a cocktail dress in their suitcase and used the tissue paper method can attest to this.

This is how to use tissue paper to keep your dress shirt in shape:

Step 1

Get some tissue paper. Be careful not to get the type that’ll flake and leave tissue grains all over your dress shirts.

Step 2

Get your buttoned up dress shirt and place it on a flat surface. The flat surface will best help you with wrinkle prevention.  

Step 3

Stuff the tissue between the front and back of the dress shirt also referred to as the torso (do the stuffing from the bottom edge of your buttoned shirt).

Don’t put too much in. You have to ensure there is an even tissue layer in there. No bumps or lumpiness. 

Step 4

Proceed to stuff the sleeves as well. One sleeve to the next. If your dress shirt is short sleeved, you can still stuff the bit of sleeve that is there.

Dress shirts with long sleeves must also be stuffed wholesomely. Remember to place an even layer of tissue all through.

After you are done stuffing, you can fold the dress shirt and place it in a travel garment packaging material carefully. This keeps all the tissue intact, thus protecting your clothing from wrinkles.

If you are wondering what the tissue paper does, then I have some good news for you:

  • Tissue prevents your dress shirt from folding on itself. It makes your shirt slightly look like a puff jacket.
  •  You can be assured that your dress shirt will hold its shape with tissue paper even after you fold it. Your dress shirt will be kept wrinkle free and ready to wear upon unpacking.
  • Dryer sheets, like those you’d use in the washing machine, prevent static and friction. Friction is the main cause of wrinkles, so they generally prevent wrinkles.


packing shirts

Unlike pants and t shirts, dress shirts require a bit more love and attention. Folding them properly saves you space as well as the stress and shame of wearing a wrinkled dress shirt.

Whether you’re facing flight delays, issues with hotel reservations, or traffic, at least wrinkled dress shirts are no longer your worry. Practicing on folding your dress shirts will spare you a lot of trouble. Even if there are little creases here and there, you can comfortably refresh them. If you cannot achieve folding a dress shirt, then get non-iron shirts or wrinkle resistant shirts instead.

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