Buying Guide for Garment Bags
Why buy a garment bag?
Garment bags (aka suit bags) are large containers made of flexible, protective material that fit over clothing. They’ll either have their own built-in hanging hooks or have a small slot at the top for the hook of a clothes hanger; this ensures the garment bag will stay on even when the outfit inside is hanging from a closet rod or being carried. The primary purpose of garment bags is to protect clothes from the elements and spills during travel, so they don’t become stained or dirty before needing to be worn. (Dry cleaners will typically send cleaned clothing home with a customer in a garment bag for this very reason.)
Garment bags also prevent clothes from becoming dusty, wrinkled, and creased, both during transportation and when they’re simply hanging in the closet. If the bottom is enclosed, it can also prevent clothes from dragging on the ground by mistake and helps keep bugs out—especially handy if your garments are made of a material like cashmere or wool that moths love to eat.
Garment bags are typically used for fancier, more expensive clothing like wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, or suits, but there’s no reason you can’t use them to carry or store more casual clothes, too.
What should you look for in garment bags?
- Material: The most common material for garment bags is plastic; if you’ve ever taken clothing to be dry cleaned, it has probably come home in a plastic garment bag. Plastic is effective at keeping rain and moisture off clothing, and it allows you to see the clothes inside since it’s transparent. Garment bags can also be made out of vinyl or water-resistant cloth like nylon or polyester. Some people prefer these types of garment bags because, unlike plastic ones, they often have zippers and closed bottoms. They’re also longer-lasting and more durable. These won’t be see-through like plastic, but some models have built-in windows to peek inside. If you do pick a cloth model, be sure to check that it’s either naturally water-repellent or has been treated to be so. Regardless of the material type of the garment bag, look for the thickest material possible; the thicker, the more protective.
- Length: Ideally, a garment bag should cover all of or most of the clothing inside it. Most garment bags will be somewhere between 40 and 72 inches in length. If you’re unsure of the dimensions of your clothing, you’ll want to err on the side of caution and go with a longer garment bag. The same goes for the bag’s width.
- Pockets: Garment bags with some sort of inner or outer pocket can be invaluable, especially if you’re traveling for a wedding or interview. Shoe pockets are useful since shoes take up a lot of room in luggage, and this will also help keep your nice suit shoes or heels from becoming dirty. Smaller external pockets can be useful for jewelry, cufflinks, phones, wallets, or keys.
Is there anything else worth looking for in a garment bag?
Consider the quantity of garment bags you need. You may only require one or two garment bags for special items like a wedding tux or prom dress, or you may need a dozen or so if you have to wear fancy suits to work every day. Fortunately, plenty of garment bags are sold individually, in sets of three or four, and in bigger packs of 10 or 12. You shouldn’t have any issues finding the quantity you need. Some garment bags can fit multiple outfits per bag, too.
If you opt for a non-plastic garment bag, consider zipper placement. There may be a zipper up the sides, which makes removing clothes easier than simply lifting and pulling the bag up and down over them. The zipper may be vertical or diagonal. Diagonal zippers are considered the better choice since they’re easier to pack and often allow for a large access point. There may also be a zipper along the bottom, which gives you the option of fully encasing your clothing or leaving the bottom open to let a long, trailing hemline hang free. Just be careful not to snag your clothing in the zipper.
Our Picks for the Most Protective Garment Bags
Simple Houseware 60-Inch Heavy Duty Garment Bag
This classic garment bag is suitable for most clothing and available in multiple sizes.
Pros: While the standard garment bag can hold up to three dresses or suits at once, this model offers even more room. Depending on the bulkiness of the outfits in question, you can store up to five or six garments in this bag without issue. It has a clear plastic window, so you can easily glance and see which clothes are inside. The external metal eyelet makes folding the bag simple. You can buy this garment bag as a pair or with a pocket in all three sizes.
Cons: Though it does offer some protection against the elements, it’s worth noting that this garment bag isn’t 100% waterproof or water-repellent. If you get caught in a large enough rainstorm or inclement weather, water may seep through and get into your clothes.
Bottom Line: It doesn’t get much more classic than this black garment bag. Whether you want to store bridesmaid gowns or prom dresses, work suits or puffy coats, costumes or uniforms, this garment bag will shield them all.
ZEGUR Carry On Garment Bag for Travel
This modern garment bag stands out by virtue of being designed to keep your nice clothes wrinkle-free while traveling.
Pros: Most frequent travelers can tell you what a hassle it is to keep clothes wrinkle- and crease-free when traveling, be it by car, bike, train, or plane. This is an especially big problem when you’re on a business trip, going to a wedding, or any other place that requires formal clothing. That’s where this garment bag comes into play. It functions exactly like a traditional garment bag but was designed specifically with travel in mind. You can carry it like a briefcase or sling it over your shoulder with the detachable shoulder strap. It’s waterproof, has room for at least three suits, has several interior pockets for shoes, ties, and other accessories, and features three interior ties that hold your clothing in place to prevent crumpling and wrinkles. There’s also a nice exterior pocket on the side for items like electronics and business documents. You can use the strap to sling over a rolling suitcase’s handle and attach it to your other luggage.
Cons: Specialty products often come with a higher price tag, and this traveling garment bag is no exception. This single bag alone is more expensive than most multi-packs of more traditional garment bags. And the zippers, especially the interior ones, aren’t the most durable.
Bottom Line: This tough, roomy garment bag is a frequent traveler’s dream. Not only will it fit into overhead airplane compartments and keep your clothes from becoming wrinkled during travel, but it’s easy to carry and has plenty of space for items along with your nice clothing.
MARMINS Dress Bags for Gowns
Designed with long dresses and gowns in mind, this pair of garment bags feature a clear window to keep an eye on the clothes and accessories inside.
Pros: You get great bang for your buck with these two garment bags. Each bag is equipped with a clear window, so you can easily peek in and see which item of clothing is inside, and the bottoms are solid to keep hemlines from dragging on the ground. They’re water-repellent and dustproof, they protect against creasing and pet hair, and they feature zipper buckles that hold the zippers in place when closed. As a bonus, the bags are washable by hand should they ever get dirty.
Cons: There are only two length options available for this bag (43 and 65 inches), so your sizing choices are a bit more limited than most. And they’re really only designed to only hold one dress or suit at a time, unlike most garment bags.
Bottom Line: Keep your clothes dust-free and safe from moisture at a great price with this pair of garment bags. While made with long dresses in mind, they’re perfectly suitable for other clothing items as well.
Perber Clear Hanging Garment Bags
These garment bags are both partially see-through and durable, allowing you to get the best of both worlds for a great price.
Pros: Though flimsier than cloth garment bags, some people prefer plastic bags (like the ones you get at the dry cleaners) because they’re totally see-through, allowing you to see which clothes are inside or instantly notice if a tie or vest has slid off the hanger. This pack of garment bags allows you to strike a nice middle ground between the two. Though not 100% see-through, they are translucent, so you’ll have an easier time making out which clothes are inside, especially if they’re brightly colored. They’re sturdier than most plastic models and closed on the bottom. They’re also water-repellent, dustproof, and available in a wide range of sizes. You also get a set of 10 bags, making this an excellent option for people with lots of clothing to protect.
Cons: Though definitely sturdier and harder to rip than most plastic garment bags, the material of these still is thinner and a bit less protective than a cloth or vinyl bag. Many users noted that the zippers are on the flimsy side and can become dislodged easily.
Bottom Line: Plastic garment bags are great for those who want see-through bags, but they aren’t as strong or long-lasting as those made of cloth. This value pack of garment bags gives you better translucence than sturdier models yet is more durable than flimsy plastic ones.
KIMBORA Suit Bags with Gussets
Whether you want to keep more clothes protect or better organize your closet, these gusseted garment bags have you covered.
Pros: These garment bags are deep and gusseted, so you’ll be able to store more clothes inside them. You can fit up to three thick coats or five sweaters per bag. And you get five bags with your purchase, making them an excellent option for families and people with large wardrobes. The zippers are nice and sturdy; they won’t break or go off track easily. The PVC material is not only odorless and breathable but sturdier than most plastic models. Other than the black or white siding, each bag is totally transparent, so you can see inside without having to open it up.
Cons: These five garment bags cost a little more per item than many standard models. And the five-pack is your only option; you can’t order larger or smaller sets.
Bottom Line: If you have multiple suits to protect, old clothing to store away in the attic, or thick coats that need to be stored during the warmer months, this set of five garment bags will suit your needs nicely. They’re also great for daily closet organization due to their extra interior space and see-through bodies.
People from all walks of life and professions can benefit from owning at least one good garment bag. Even if you aren’t someone who owns a lot of fancy clothing or travels a lot, these garment bags are still a worthwhile investment to protect your finer clothing.