Never has a marketing
campaign been so incredibly bold in its attempt to fool the mass market as the “Wrinkle-Free
Clothing” campaign set forth by Levi Strauss (Dockers) and others. As I sit here, the only wrinkle-free clothing
I can imagine is a Lycra body-suit or a neoprene wetsuit. So… unless you’re Lance Armstrong, or you’re
plumbing the depths ala Jacques Cousteau, I can scarcely imagine that either of
those outfits would be considered “appropriate” at your next business
meeting. They might be highly
entertaining… comfortable even, but hardly appropriate.
The only thing I hate
worse than the forced presupposition that clothing will refuse to wrinkle, is
ironing the very clothes I foolishly spent the extra money on to remain flat
and smooth. I have worked long and hard
to build myself a system to avoid it.
I’ve packed my clothes 100 different ways, I’ve spent money on various
textiles and a vast array of garments, I’ve used no starch, extra heave starch,
and every starch in between. Just before
I gave up, threw my hands in the air, resolved to iron, and randomly tossed my
clothes into the suitcase, I stumbled upon the answer.
Don’t fold your clothes
when you pack them… Roll your
clothes when you pack them!
Let’s say you’re traveling
somewhere for a five day business commitment.
You have at least three pairs of pants and four or five good shirts (or
blouses). What you want to do is take
all of those clothes, still on their coat hangers, and lay them on the bed on
top of each other. I stack the shirts
first, then the pants on top. Cross the
arms of the sleeves over the top and what you’re left with is a pile of shirts
that appear to be “hugging” your pants. Then fold down the coat hangers, and fold
them over again, then a third time, taking care to smooth out the wrinkles as
you roll. Whichever shirt was on the
bottom of the pile should now be rolled around the bundle (I use a t-shirt for
this, to protect the “good” shirts against any shoe polish that might
share the space in the suitcase). When
you get to your hotel, just unroll the bundle and hang the mass up in the
closet using your own hangars! If things
wrinkle a little, just hang them in the bathroom, turn the shower on HOT, and
close the door for 1/2 hour.
If you have a suit, they
can be rolled just as easily. Just fold
the shoulders inside out, then lay the jacket out as flat as you can. Put some balled up socks in and around the cavity
in the neck and around the shoulders, then roll down toward the bottom of the
jacket. Roll your pants with the rest of
the pants in your bundle. The Men’s
Warehouse stores sell a “rolled suit bag” for traveling if you have a
very high quality suit that you want to pack on its own. It’s a giant tube, but it works very well for
suits and you can carry it onto the plane.