How to Buy a Garment Bag

You could travel your entire life without using a garment bag. But if you travel regularly for business or other public engagements that require a smart, wrinkle-free wardrobe, the right garment bag helps protect your clothes and keep them organized at the same time. Buy the right garment bag and it might even become your single best piece of go-to luggage for business travel.


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    Lay out the clothing you intend to pack in the garment bag. This narrows down your shopping considerably because if your clothes just won't fit in a given bag, there's no point in even considering the purchase.
    • Pare your packing list down to the bare essentials by eliminating any major wardrobe piece that doesn't go with at least three other pieces you've packed.
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    Set a budget. As mentioned above, there's no point in even considering a garment bag if it's simply out of your reach.
    • Any decent bag should last for years of regular use. If you're going to be stuck with anything for that long, you might as well pay enough to get something that works well--so invest as much as you reasonably can in a good garment bag. To a certain point, you get what you pay for.
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    Decide whether the garment bag will be your only piece of carry-on luggage, or whether you'll use it as supplementary luggage.
    • If you're only using the garment bag to transport a few delicate options, consider a literal garment bag that folds into your primary suitcase. The bag protects the few garments you place in it, but you don't have to deal with the inconvenience of hauling a separate piece of luggage just for those garments.
    • If the garment bag will be your only piece of luggage, look for one that has small interior or exterior pockets for storing toiletries and other sundries.
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    Check the bag's hanger capacity. If you can't efficiently store your clothes on the allowed number of hangers, you need a larger bag.
    • Also take note of how the garment bag secures hangers. Ideally, the hangers should clamp or strap in place; there's nothing worse than losing a hanger and the garment on it down the middle of your carefully packed bag.
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    Consider the bag's size.
    • Every airline has specific regulations about how large and heavy a bag can be carried on the plane. Regulations may vary between domestic and international flights on the same airline. As a general rule, your garment bag must be able to stow securely under the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin if you carry it on.
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    Evaluate the bag's carry mechanism.
    • Possible options include: a stand-alone wheeled garment bag, a shoulder strap or hand-carry garment bag, or a garment bag that "piggy backs" atop another piece of wheeled luggage.
    • Try the bag out before you buy it. Slip it over your shoulder and stroll around the store, or take a wheeled bag for a roll. The shoulder strap should ride comfortably without slipping off, and wheeled bags should roll smoothly over both carpet and hard surfaces.
    • Some garment bags fold two or three times; take time to fiddle with the folding mechanism and make sure it won't become a frustrating hindrance on the road. The bag should have sturdy zippers and clasps, too.
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    Consider what the bag is made of. This is, to a large degree, based purely on personal preference. Leather is extremely durable but also tends to be expensive, and may be objectionable to vegans or vegetarians. Nylon and vinyl are also common manufacturing materials.


  • Check the bag's label for warranty information. Most good-quality garment bags will come with a lifetime warranty.

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Categories: Fashion