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How To Pack A Dress Shirt

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    Jonathan Chum

Are you wondering how to pack a dress shirt? Business meetings, destination weddings or just wanting to look put-together, there are many reasons you might want to include a nice dress shirt on your next travel destination. Even if you are a "jeans and t-shirt" kind of person, having at least one shirt with a collar in your list of things to pack is always a good idea, just in case.


How To Pack A Dress Shirt

Knowing how to pack a dress shirt without wrinkling it will save you time and money. You won't have to search for an iron when you arrive and you won't have to hire someone to do it.

After all, what's the point of packing a shirt for yourself if it ends up extremely wrinkled. Packing a dress shirt without wrinkling it is going to go a long way towards looking like you have everything together on your next destination.

There really is no silver bullet for packing wrinkle-free. This applies to t-shirts, travel shirts and yes, dress shirts. When cramming clothing into small containers, wrinkles are expected. Over time, even the most meticulously packed bags will tend to settle. This means your clothes will develop some creases. However, your dress shirts are kept tight and put-together with this method.

This is really the best thing you can do for letting your tightly-folded formal should keep its shape. This method is the simplest method of packing a dress shirt tightly for traveling. It won't be perfectly wrinkle-free, as nothing is. However, it does come close. This method is how department stores fold dress shirts for display, more or less.

Steps For How To Pack A Dress Shirt

  • To pack a dress shirt without wrinkles the first step is to button the shirt fully.

  • On a hard, flat surface, lay it face down. You can do this on a table.

  • With sleeves to the side, spread out your shirt completely.

  • Fold your shirt horizontally with its sleeves inwards towards the middle. This should be around halfway up the sleeve. Do the same to the other sleeve.

  • If you want a dress shirt with no wrinkles, you also have the option of using a dryer sheet. A dryer sheet is a good thing to put in at this point. It will give your shirt interstitial suspension so there won't be bundling up happening when you pack your shirt. It will also help make your bag smell great.

  • Next, fold both sides of your dress shirt inwards three inches towards the middle again. If you do this step correctly, a V-pattern will most likely appear at the shirt's top back part.

  • From the bottom upwards, fold this in half once. If you really need the space or just want a tighter fold, do another fold in half once more.

Rolling Versus Folding

Most people have heard rumors about a military tight roll that keeps everything free of wrinkles. While there is no doubt that military rolls will help you save space, you won't get a wrinkle-free dress-shirt if you roll it. The sleeves are just too long and there is just too much fabric scrunched up in a small roll. Folding applies only to dress shirts, however.

Let's be honest. It feels natural to fold your clothing, and it isn't hard to understand why this is most people's default when packing for a trip. Most of your clothing is probably already folded and ready to plop into your luggage. It takes second to fold clothes.

If you want to pack a combination of different clothing such as bathing suits, underwear, and exercise equipment, rolling these while keeping the dress shirt folded is the way to go. Some travelers sear that rolled clothes are the best method possible, but dress shirt aficionados are going to want to insist on the folded method.

To fit more into your bag, use a combination of both rolled and folded clothing. If you are fully packed but still need space for other extra items, you might consider a compression sack for sweaters and other bulky items. Compress your things using a vacuum sack or packing cubes. You will get a lot more space freed up when you equip yourself appropriately.

Wrinkle-Resistant vs. Non-Iron Dress Shirts

The debate between wrinkle-resistant and non-iron shirts is for traveling seems neverending. These two characteristics are all about how the dress shirts are treated to repel wrinkles.

Typically, non-iron shirts are made from pre-treated fibers with formaldehyde and other chemicals. This works at the expense of breathability, shape, and softness. Just think of these shirts as if they are regular shirts with a coating of wrinkle-free sprays. These shirts are too stiff for any wrinkles to appear.


Usually, a wrinkle-resistant dress shirt feels and looks like a regular shirt primarily because they rely on the fabric quality of polyester, lycra or nylon and the weave's thickness to be wrinkle-repellent. During the finishing process, some shirt-makers treat the shirts with chemicals. These shirts breathe more and feel softer, generally speaking.

Note that not all shirts that claim to be wrinkle-free are made with chemicals. Some shirts are free of formaldehyde as well. Depending on your preferences, it will take a bit of trial and error but once you find the most wrinkle-free shirt you possibly can, and it feels comfortable to wear, at least the search for the best dress-shirt to travel with ends here.

Through Thick Or Thin

The reason chunky sweaters made of wool never wrinkle is that they are too thick. In the same way, wrinkle-free shirts won't wrinkle either, since they are thicker than average. Thin dress shirts wrinkle more easily. Also, dress shirts with higher thread count wrinkle better.

While the chambray paper-thin collar shirt in your closet may look awesome in your closet, a six-hour layover to New York is going to result in a completely wrinkled shirt. Try on a variety of travel shirts to see how they breathe, move, and fit and whether they really are wrinkle-proof.

Wrinkle-Free Shirts

Many dress shirts these days claim to be wrinkle-free. However, real travel dress shirts will have similar things in common including fabrics made of carbon weave, polyester, lycra, or nylon. These are the hallmarks of a truly wrinkle-resistant, great dress shirt. Check WHen you check a brand new shirt for its wrinkle-ability and want to make sure it really is wrinkle-free, crush the shirt corner and see if it smoothens out. If it does, then you have hit the jackpot.

Pre-Flight Care

Most non-iron shirts can be washed by machine and you can check the shirt tags to check exact care instructions. Use mesh laundry bags and button up your dress shirts before you launder them to prevent collar os sleeve damage when you put them in the dryer.

Use a spin-dryer to prevent any kind of wrinkle from happening. If you hang your dress-shirt out to dry, use a thick hanger that matches the shirt's width. Use your hands to stretch out the wrinkles and align the shirt to the size it was originally. Keep in mind this shirt will dry in the shape it was when you took it out of the machine so straighten it out if you are not going to use the dryer.

These types of shirts require almost no ironing. There are times when you want a crisp collar that lasts the entire day. However, setting your iron too hot is not a good idea when ironing shirts that have non-iron on the label. Medium temperatures are recommended. Before you begin to iron, check the labels for care.

For the same reason, it is also not a good idea to have your non-iron dress shirts laundered at the dry cleaners. This is because dry cleaning tends to use high temperature when cleaning shirts. Hang your shirt up properly before you begin to pack so that when you fold it for packing, it is completely wrinkle-free.

Upgrade to Packing Cubes

More and more people are getting enthusiastic about packing cubes. Once you start using packing cubes, you'll never go back to folding. These cubes help in compressing your clothes, organizing outfits, and enables you to isolate clean clothes from dirty clothes. It becomes super easy to organize your clothes when you use packing cubes.

There are various sizes to select from and you can corral your clothing in seemingly endless methods. Find what item you want and move things around as you see fit. The best part is that you won't ever fear clothing falling out of the bag. This is convenient when you want to grab a sweater on your flight to carry on and don't want everything else falling out of your bag.


A mix of rolling, folding, and using packing cubes is the best way to travel with your dress shirts. When you roll, fold and use packing cubes you get the best that these three techniques have to offer. Fold your pants, dresses, and jeans. Roll your dress shirts and formal jackets. Packing cubes can be used for storing rolled clothing to keep everything extra organized.