Butler Charles MacPherson knows how to get his clients, and himself, to out-of-town business meetings looking sharp. With more than three decades experience, packing a suitcase so clothes remain crisp and creaseless comes naturally to him. We asked the author of The Pocket Butler’s Guide to Travel for his wrinkle-free packing advice.
Pack to Avoid Wrinkles
MacPherson says one mistake business travellers make is folding their pants or skirts before packing them. “Place your pants in your suitcase unfolded, with part of the pants hanging out,” he says. “Place shirts or jackets on the pant legs and then fold the top of the pants over the items.”
Keep Shirt Collars Crisp
There is a simple method to ensure your shirt collars don’t lose their shape, MacPherson says. After folding your dress shirt, roll up your belt and place it inside the neck opening. The rigidness of the belt will help the collar keep its shape while it’s in your luggage.
Create a Work Uniform
Less means more when it comes to business travel. MacPherson suggests creating a “work uniform” using monochromatic colours. “What I love is that it allows you to mix and match, without feeling you have to wear the same thing every day.” When he is travelling, MacPherson will wear a pair of black jeans and black dress shoes with a button-down shirt or a T-shirt. Those shoes can then be worn with his suit and he can pair the jeans with a dress shirt after work. “Only pack things that can go between business and casual,” he says.
Fold your Jacket
Holding your jacket facing toward you, place your hands in the shoulders and bring your hands together (as though you are going to clap). Then, turn one of the shoulders inside-out and place it over the other. The butler says you can then fold your jacket lengthwise or even roll it.
Use your Hotel’s Laundry Service
If you are travelling for more than a week, and only want to take a carry-on, use the laundry service at your hotel. It will cost a few dollars, but it’s worth it to have fresh and clean clothing for the rest of your business trip, advises MacPherson.
3 Packing Methods Charles MacPherson Loves
The butler recommends using cubes—one for shirts, another for socks and underwear—when you are travelling to multiple cities on a business trip. You can remove the cubes from your suitcase and place them on the dresser in your room. “You have your walk-in closet right there,” he says. “It can then all go back in your suitcase easily.”
This is good when you are going to one location for a week. Instead of simply folding your pants, dress or jacket, place other pieces of clothing inside the fold. “There is no pressure to create creases,” says MacPherson. “The first thing I do when I get to the hotel is open my suitcase and hang everything.”
MacPherson says if you are travelling for a special event, such as a wedding, tissue paper can be used to fill the dress or tuxedo so it does not wrinkle or crease. This method may mean you need to use an extra bag. “The problem with the tissue paper method is that you are using a lot of space, because you are creating a lot of volume,” says MacPherson.