How to Arrive at Work Wrinkle- and Stain-Free

How do I keep my work clothes from getting wrinkled is a question I have been asked a lot regarding run commuting.  Each run commuter carries different items to and from work depending on their access to showers or enough storage at work (e.g., TRC posts: Josh & Kyle).  In this blog post, I’d like to share with readers my technique for making it to my work cubical without looking like I ran in.

Each day, I carry my work clothes, heels, undergarments and, often, lunch to work in my backpack.  The solution to keeping my clothes wrinkle- and lunch-free is a combination of laundry garment bags and an extra plastic bag around the food container.  Laundry garment bags are light-weight cloth bags used to protect delicate items in the wash. They are inexpensive and can be purchased in almost every super market near the laundry detergent.  An alternative to the garment bags would be to use other cloth or plastic bags.

wrinkle-free clothes
My work attire typically includes dry-cleaned slacks, work top, cardigan, undergarments, and a pair of shoes.  The clothes packing process follows this order, as pictured:

step 1 – obtain laundry garment bags

step 2 – lay out clothes

step 3 – roll clothes up like a stromboli (e.g., Kyle’s TRC post)

step 4 – wrap the clothes roll in the garment bag

I have even carried a suit jacket using this method and arrived at meetings wrinkle-free.  Rolling the clothes and placing them in a garment bag helps to give the clothes more strength and form, so they do not crumple in the backpack.  Additionally, the garment bag adds a bit of protection from spills in the backpack if you’re carrying toiletries, food, or from an unexpected rain soaking.

Shoes don’t really wrinkle, but I still place them in a shoe bag.  The bag was free and protects the shoes from potential spills and protects my clothes and lunch from my dirty shoes.

lunch-free clothes
Pick a sturdy container to put the food in, wrap it up in an extra plastic bag, and place it at the bottom of your backpack.  If the container spills, gravity will help the food stay away from your clothes.  If the container is on top, gravity will do everything to get the food all over your clothes.
Yes, this is soup.  I have successfully run commuted with soup in my pack.

final stages
This is what my daily backpack load looks like:

All my shower needs are pre-staged at work, so I shower and pull myself all together.  Here’s the final product, at work and wrinkle-free:

Taking this photo was the most difficult part of this blog post.  It was hard for me to look at the mirror and click the button at the same time, so hard in fact, I forgot to smile!  Here’s what you missed:   :D

I hope this post helps a few ladies and gents stay stylish at work without sacrificing sportiness during their commute.

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4 Comments

  1. Susanna Boxall March 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    This is very good advice. I have a good collection of packing cubes and Eagle Creek Pack-it folders, which I use for travel and commuting. They take up very little room and keep the clothes wrinkle-free.

  2. stephaniedevlin March 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    thanks Susanna. packing cubes are a great idea!

  3. loofa April 21, 2012 at 1:53 am - Reply

    Placing a plastic bag between the clothes when you roll them up also helps prevent wrinkles.

  4. The Run Commuter March 19, 2014 at 9:30 am - Reply

    […] has told us how she packs her clothes for the commute; Kyle wrote about cleaning up in Part 5 of our Getting Started series; and, Anna […]

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