fold or roll dress
Bring a nice dress without creases and wrinkles with the right packing method – Tamara Bellis (unsplash)

In the process of planning your trip, you need to make time for packing. This may sound fairly easy but it turns out that there is more than one way to pack regular clothing items. To roll or to fold, that is the question, especially when it comes to bulkier and longer items, like dresses.  

The best way to pack your dresses is by neatly rolling them. It is a better option than folding because it saves you a lot of time, space, and effort. Plus, if you do it right, it can prevent unwanted creases and wrinkles. 

Keep reading if you’d like to know more about the advantages of each packing method, and why rolling is the best choice for dresses. Plus, you can expect to find the best packing method for dresses made of different materials. If you don’t want to roll or fold your dresses, we’ll also cover some alternatives. 

The Advantages of Folding Dresses 

There are some great advantages that come with folding instead of rolling your dresses. These include: 

1. Folded dresses stack better 

There’s just something about a folded stack of clothing that gives a suitcase a neat look. By folding all of your dresses in the same size squares, you can create a tidy stack in your suitcase. 

2. Folding can save space 

You can save some space in your suitcase if you fold your dresses right. This only applies to some types of material, like cotton and linen. Other materials, such as wool and corduroy, can be bulky when folded. 

3. Folding prevents wrinkles 

If you straighten out your clothes before folding, you can prevent wrinkles from forming during your trip. Plus, if you fold along the existing creases, you can avoid new creases.  

How to Fold a Dress for Travel

  • Lay your dress out on a flat surface.
  • Start by smoothing out all of the creases by brushing over the dress with your hands.
  • Hold it by the straps (or the sleeves) and fold the bodice toward the middle.
  • Use your hands to smooth it out again. 
  • Fold one side inwards and remove the creases.
  • Fold the other side inwards to make a rectangular shape.
  • Use your hands to brush out the creases for the last time. 
  • Lastly, fold the dress into equal parts until you have a small rectangle. 

The Advantages of Rolling Dresses 

Rolling dresses also come with a lot of advantages as opposed to folding. These advantages include:

1. Rolling is better for upright storage 

If you’re traveling with a top-loading suitcase or backpack, rolling is the way to go. Rolled dresses stay put during transit and it is much easier to pack them into your bag. 

2. Rolling can be faster 

Unless you are a pro folder, rolling is the faster method of the two. If you remove all the wrinkles and creases beforehand, all you have to do is just lay your dresses down and roll them up. 

3. Rolling can save space 

Folding your clothes into squares may look neater, but it leaves a lot of unused space in your suitcase. By rolling your dresses, you can utilize these spaces by propping them into empty corners. 

4. Rolling prevents wrinkles and creases 

If you remove the creases and wrinkles before rolling, this method can prevent wrinkly dresses. This is especially true for materials like satin, fleece, and rayon.  

5. Rolled dresses display better 

While this isn’t such a big advantage if you will be unpacking at your destination, it’s still something to consider. When you roll your dresses and lay them out neatly in your suitcase, you can see all of them, and grabbing the one you need is much easier. 

How to roll a dress for travel

  • Lay your dress out on a flat surface.
  • Take the straps or sleeves to fold the bodice inwards. 
  • Remove all of the creases with your hands.
  • Fold one side toward the middle and brush out the creases again.
  • Fold the other side over the previous one to make a rectangle.
  • Remove the creases for the last time.
  • Start at the top and roll the dress toward the end of the rectangle until you have a cylindrical shape. 

The Best Option for Different Materials 

Did you know that there is a right packing method when it comes to the material that your dress is made of? 

Materials that wrinkle easily 

Dresses made of these materials all need to be folded because they have a much bigger chance of getting wrinkles in your suitcase. 

  • Cotton 
  • Linen 
  • Hemp 
  • Chiffon 

Wrinkle-resistant materials

On the other hand, dresses made from these materials are very resistant to wrinkling, and you can choose any way to pack them. Rolling would be the better option because some wrinkle-resistant materials are bulky when folded. 

  • Denim 
  • Polyester 
  • Wool 
  • Satin 
  • Fleece 
  • Corduroy 
  • Rayon  

The Verdict: Rolled or Folded? 

If you want an honest answer, rolling is by far the superior packing method. Especially if you consider the fact that it has a lot more advantages than folding. And if you are worried about avoiding wrinkles and creases by not rolling right, most dresses are made of wrinkle-resistant materials. 

Alternatives to Rolling and Folding 

Contrary to popular belief, rolling and folding aren’t the only packing methods. While they may be the most popular, there are four other options that you can consider for packing your dresses on your next trip. 

Travel hangers and garment bags 

Travel hangers are a favorite amongst brides and people working in fashion. This is because it is the best way to travel with clothes to prevent wrinkles, friction, and damage. If you have space in your car, you could always hang your dresses and cover them with garment bags. 

Packing cubes 

If you’re a very organized packer and traveler, you should consider using packing cubes for your dresses. They are made of plastic or fabric with mesh tops and zippers to close them. With packing cubes you’ll still need to choose between folding and rolling, but your choice should be easier as you can pack each dress in its own cube. 

Packing cubes (suitcase dividers) are one of the items that we mention in our travel essentials for women list. So, be sure to check it out for more things that you shouldn’t forget to pack on your next trip. 

The bundling or wrapping technique 

The bundling or wrapping technique involves laying out all of your dresses on top of each other in your suitcase. In the middle, you can pack all of your undergarments or other soft and loose items. Then, start folding each side into the suitcase until nothing is hanging out anymore. This method is usually meant for full outfits, but it works well for dresses and other items of clothing. 

Compression bags 

Compression bags are very much like packing cubes but they compress the air out of your clothes. This gives you much more space in your suitcase, especially if you have bulky dresses that need compressing to fit.

Check out more alternatives in our article about how to pack dresses into your luggage.

Now that you know the best way to pack your dresses, find out what to pack and what to consider for your trip. Here are our top guides for 5 days and 3 weeks packing list.

Best way to pack dresses: roll or fold?
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