Are you going to attend a professional conference or a workshop for a few days? Or are you invited to a wedding or a classy dinner with important people? In this garment bag buying guide, you can find what we consider to be the best garment bags, and a few tips on features to look for when buying a garment bag.
Even if you have an ordinary day at the office, but you would like to wear a cozier outfit after work, you might need one of these garment bags. Wearing suits all day is not healthy or comfortable in any age and any body condition.
What is a Garment Bag?
Our jobs and situations might differ, but one thing is for sure: if we often have to carry a suit or a dress with us, we need some magic: we need a professional bag to protect our suits and dresses. To put it simply, these so-called garment bags are specifically designed to protect our valuable clothes (such as suits or dresses) and related accessories, while allowing us to carry our luggage with ease.
Types of Garment Bags
After a thorough research of the market, we were able to make a list of the best garment bags. These are the best bags for your suits and dresses, able to protect your clothes from both serious damage and pesky wrinkles.
Finding the best garment bags can be rather time-consuming because of the many different types and brands available on the market. Therefore, we hope this guide will help make your purchasing decision a lot easier.
Hanging Garment Bag
If you rarely need a garment bag, and would be satisfied with even a minimalist bag, a hanging garment bag may be a good choice. These garment bags are lightweight and you can store them everywhere with ease, as a lot of them can be folded into smaller packs. In addition, these are the cheapest garment bags on the market that were specially developed for suits.
Their disadvantage is that there isn’t much extra space in the bag to pack other belongings, you will therefore need to bring another bag for the rest of your stuff. You’ll end up traveling with at least two bags this way, which is sometimes uncomfortable to manage.
Besides this, you can’t put these bags on the floor because they will collapse. You have to hang them up on something.
It’s also important to note that if you store smaller electronic devices or accessories in these bags, the soft side does not protect them completely from shocks.
Wedding Dress Garment Bag
Wedding dress garment bags – as their name suggests – are specially designed for wedding dresses and longer ladies’ dresses. These bags are cheap, light and perfect for carrying your clothes, but they have to be handled with great care.
The package is very high (and long) and does not stand by itself unless you hang it somewhere. There is no way to store any other item besides the clothes, and the bag is not able to your garment from serious shocks.
Weekender Garment Bag
In contrast to hanging garment bags, the design of the weekender garment bags is more complex: these bags function as full-fledged bags. So a weekender garment bag can provide you enough space for a smaller trip.
These bags are still lightweight, but a bit heavier than a simple hanging garment bag. In exchange, you’ll get ample room and they can be left on a table or on the floor without any harm.
If it’s important for you to have an elegant look, you will love these bags: they are not only practical but also have a beautiful, elegant design. In addition, these bags can be used as an average bag for everyday life or for a shorter, average weekend trip.
Like hanging garment bags, they can usually be stored in small places when you’re not using them.
One of the disadvantages of these bags is that if they are fully packed, you have to carry a lot on your shoulders or in your hands, so the journey can become tiring and strenuous.
Another disadvantage comes from the soft side: it does not fully protect your stuff from impact, so electronic devices, and shoes can get damaged.
Rolling Garment Bag
We prefer these garment bags because they are great for keeping your suits and other belongings organized, and because you can carry your items with ease thanks to their construction. Carrying a lot usually means back pain, weariness and sweat, but not with rolling garment bags: because of the wheels, you have to use very little force to move the bags. Plus, a good rolling garment bag also helps improve your posture, which can be really important if you want to make a good first impression.
Besides the wheels, they have other considerable advantages as well:
Personal Convenience: Rolling garment bags win hands down for their ease of use. You’ll hardly break a sweat while maneuvering them through any airport.
Health: Not everyone is physically able to carry a handbag or a shoulder bag, but even if you are, why would you want to force your back to carry unnecessary weight? Rolling garment bags spare your arm and shoulder muscles and spine, making sure you will arrive safe and sound.
A Sweat-Free Back: Self-explanatory. No matter if you’re a businessman or just an average guy trying to flirt at the airport, the importance of a first impression is indisputable, even when you’re traveling.
Professionalism: If you’re traveling for business, an elegant garment bag can lend you a prestigious and professional look. Besides the casually professional appearance, in a rolling garment bag you can transport your business clothes and accessories safe and wrinkle-free.
The drawbacks of these rolling garment backs are simple: even when they are empty, they need more space to store them and they tend to be pricey.
Special Features of Rolling Garment Bags:
Roller (2 Wheels) or Spinner (4 Wheels)
One of the most important aspects of rolling garment bags are the wheels. Both types have advantages and disadvantages: 2-wheeled versions can be maneuvered less accurately, but their wheels are more stable and lighter. With 4 spinner wheels, you can quickly and precisely move in tight spaces and you can pull or push the bag. Although, the spinner wheels can break faster and they are a little heavier than their 2-wheeled siblings.
The handles should be sturdy and retractable, that’s not even up for debate. Besides these features, you have to find out the size of the handle you need.
The handle can’t be too short because it will hit you on the heels as you walk, but it shouldn’t be too long because as you drag too far behind you, it will annoy other travelers. Keep this in mind as you try out a few handles.
Padded handles increase comfort and you can choose from single- or double-handle options. A single handle is lighter and looks good, but double handles are usually sturdier and make maneuvering easier.
How to Choose the Best Garment Bag?
Garment bags come in a wide variety of styles, features and colors, so you can easily choose the best for you. Here are the most important aspects to think through:
Material: Leather, Canvas, or Polyester
Leather is beautiful and gives your outfit a really professional look. As time goes by the material and color of the garment bag will change, making it even more elegant and prestigious. For the utmost professionals, those who want to look like a boss (or perhaps you are one) and make the best impression either in business meetings, job interviews or on your daily commutes, a top quality leather garment bag should be the priority.
On the other hand, canvas or polyester is lighter than leather, and more durable: it won’t show wear and tear. True, it doesn’t look as elegant, but there are some good-looking polyester garment bags, so they’re worth checking out. You may see a number followed by a letter “D” (e.g. 1680D) when synthetic polymers are mentioned. The “D” stands for denier, which is basically a measure of a fabric’s linear mass density. The higher it is, the more durable the material.
If you want to maximize the protection of your clothing, it’s worth choosing water-proof or water-resistant garment bags.
While some cheap carry-on garment bags feature a compartment only for suits, the best carry-on luggage features specific compartments for the suit as well as your belt, shoes and a few other necessary items.
A feature that I consider to be essential no matter your occupation, is a quick-access exterior compartment that allows you to keep items that you need quickly, such as your mobile phone or plane tickets.
Besides the pockets and dividers, straps are a great help in keeping your belongings organized. The stretchy, adjustable straps are especially helpful when you need to deal with bulky items.
Side and top handles come in handy when you need to lift your garment bag. The handle should be durable, because it has to withstand the weight of your belongings. There are special garment bags with rear straps to allow you to use your garment bag as a backpack, like with the example below:
Sturdy zippers are crucial. Check that all zippers run smoothly before purchasing any piece of garment bag. Also, broken pulls are inconvenient and annoying, so make sure you choose a garment bag with pulls made of a tough metal or a durable plastic.
This is purely personal preference. I think it’s really practical when you can’t roll or carry your garment bag in your hands. When I need to use the stairs, or the quality of the road is bad, I prefer to carry my bag on my shoulder instead of in my hand.
When it comes to travelling, packing space matters a lot. Therefore, we always want to look for luggage that allows us to pack a few extra pairs of socks and underwear. Some of the best garment bags feature side expandable pockets as well as interior expendable compartments to allow you to pack more clothing when needed. So, it’s a good feature to look for in your garment carry-on bag.
Chances are, the more money you spend on a garment bag, the longer the warranty period will be. This shows that the manufacturer has confidence in their product. I wouldn’t be too skeptical about garment bags that only have a few years warranty if they’re not too expensive. However, if it has no warranty or just one year, I would avoid it unless they have a solid reputation for quality.
Some of the garment bags can be quite pricey, others are unexpensive.
If you’re a long-term traveler, keep in mind that a garment bag will be your portable closet for the duration of your travels. That’s why you need a garment bag which is durable, fits your needs and has a great price.
There are various reasons why a garment bag is more expensive than others. The 3 most common ones are quality, design, and branding.
Price usually reflects quality, and if you’re a serious professional, you need a high-quality garment bag. Often, these high-quality garments bags come with a warranty, which is a big advantage.
Another reason why prices can get high is the design. If you choose a designer garment bag, you may have to pay double as you would for an average garment bag, but if the design is important to you, then why not?
If you choose some of the leading companies’ garment bags, you can’t really go wrong there. It’s not a coincidence that they have a lot of satisfied customers. Yes, they’re not always the cheapest option, but why take a risk when you can get the best garment bags from professionals, right?
Where to Buy a Garment Bag?
Here are some tips and options to choose from:
If you visit a physical store, it will allow you to test the bag before purchasing. This way you can experience which style and size suits you the best. Buying in the physical store is fast and easy, but you can get great deals if you buy online. Also, you may have more color or size options to choose from online.
If you’re online shopping, order your item well in advance so you can return it if it’s not the perfect fit for you. Look for a retailer who offers free returns, so you can order several bags to see which you prefer, returning the others free of charge. Out of the many online shops, Amazon is my favorite because there’s an abundance of items with free returns and they tend to have the best prices.
You can also sign up for email updates from online retailers who sell your favorite brands. They often send out discount offers by e-mail.
You can just easily shop for seasonal sales and get the best bargains. Maybe you can’t choose from a wide variety of colors, sizes, and features, but if they have what you need, then why not, right?
So these are the most important aspects. It’s time to choose your garment and enjoy your user-friendly, stylish travel companion.