Whether you are hanging up your dress pants in a closet or packing them for a trip, knowing how to properly fold them will help keep them from falling off the hanger or getting wrinkled. If you are traveling for an important work meeting or just simply want to stand out, having a clean, pressed pair of dress slacks on hand is a good idea. Keeping them as neat as possible from the get-go is key in case you do not have the time or facilities to re-iron them. In this post, I will provide you with step by step instructions on packing dress pants plus explain the Savile Row trouser fold.
Method 1: Packing Dress Pants
1. First always read the care label on your pants for ironing instructions. Use an ironing board and hot iron, and smooth out the wrinkles. Use the steam function and gentle pressure rather than the back-and-forth motion that is common in ironing. If the pants are creased, make sure to iron along the crease rather than across it.
Tip: If the care instructions suggest “dry-clean only,” take your pants to a professional cleaner.
2. Lay the pants out on a flat surface, like the floor or table if you do not own an ironing board. If you floor is carpet, then do not iron on the floor. Ironing on carpet will prevent you from getting smooth folds. Use hardwood floors or a large table so you will have room to work.
Tip: Take a minute to smooth out the inside of the pockets so they are lying flat.
3. If there is a crease, fold the pants along the crease. If you are having trouble finding the crease, pick up the pants and hold them by the cuffs. When you see where the creases start on the cuffs, align the pant legs so that the creases will be on the outside of the pants, rather than poking up in the middle.
Tip: Make sure that the bottom of the pants matches up and are even to one another to guarantee there will be no wrinkles.
4. If there is not a crease fold pants in half at the zipper or button front. Fold one leg of the pants over so it is on top of the other leg. Use your hands to smooth the fabric out, pushing away any potential wrinkles. The side seams of the pants will be on the edge now.
Tip: If the button is bulging out, unbutton the pants and smooth out the waistband so it lays flat.
5. Grab the bottom cuffs and bring them up to the waistband. Keep the cuffs flat and aligned with the crease if there is one. Use your hands and smooth out the fabric to get rid of any wrinkles in the fabric. Put your fingers in between the fold and make sure none of the leg fabric got caught underneath itself.
Tip: If the fabric is delicate, like silk, place a sheet of tissue paper in between each fold you make.
6. Bring your first fold up to the waistband for a more compact fold. Make the pants into a square or rectangular shape, depending on how wide your pants are. Make the line of the first fold even with the waistband, as this will help keep the fabric straight and reduce the chance of wrinkles. Check to make sure the fabric did not get caught underneath itself during your second fold.
Tip: If you notice that there are wrinkles you cannot remove by smoothing the fabric out with your hands, try starting the folding process over. Taking a little extra time to make sure your pants are folded correctly will save on extra ironing time later.
7. Always place pants into a plastic dry-cleaning bag to protect them. Whether your are traveling or storing your pants in a dresser, keep your pants in a plastic bag if you can. You can add one to two pairs of pants per bag. After you put them in the bag, press down to squeeze out any excess air before you seal it.
Tip: If you are packing, put the bag into your suitcase last on top of your other items.
Method 2: The Savile Row Trouser Fold
1. Iron your pants before hanging them if they have wrinkles. Use the steam function and gentle pressure to smooth out any wrinkles in your pants. If there is a crease, iron alongside the crease, rather than on top of it.
Tip: Check the care label on the pants before ironing. If they require dry cleaning, then take them to a professional cleaner.
2. Lay your pants out on a flat surface. Use a table, hard wood floor, or a large desk. Avoid using your bed or a carpeted area, as the material of the pants could cling to a softer fabric and make it harder to fold your pants neatly.
Tip: Wipe down your folding surface before using it to clear it of any dirt, hair, or dust.
3. Fold the pants along the crease or the zipper. If your pants have a crease, fold them in half lengthwise so that the crease lays on the outer edge of the fold (the crease will not be in the middle of the pants). If your pants do not have a crease, simply fold them in half lengthwise along the zipper area.
Tip: You may need to unbutton the pants so that the button does not stick up and press into the fabric when it is folded.
4. Slide the bottom of a clothes hanger in between the legs of your pants. Pick up the top leg on your folded-in-half pants and put it through the hanger.
Tip: Make sure to use wooden or plastic hangers and not the wire hangers.
5. Place the hanger so the hem of the top leg is at the bottom of the crotch. Hold the hanger up in your hand and let the top leg of the pants drape over the bottom of it. Slide the hanger, with the leg of the pants folded over it, and stop when the bottom cuff reaches the bottom of the zipper of your pants.
6. Lay the hanger down flat, creating your first fold. Set down the hanger so that the top of it is closest to the hem of the bottom pant leg, rather than the waistband. Use your hands to smooth out the fabric of the leg that is now folded.
7. Bring the bottom leg through the hanger so it is on top of the pants. Use your hands to smooth the fabric out to prevent any wrinkles. Lift the hanger and give it a few gentle shakes to check the stability of your Savile Row fold.
8. Hang your dress pants up in your closet or in a garment bag. When hanging your pants in a closet, leave a little bit of space in between each garment to help prevent wrinkles. If you are traveling, hang your pants in a garment bag, and consider placing a dry-cleaning bag overtop of them.