Suit fabrics explained
22 May 2015
So, you’ve opted to go for a tailored suit, but the real question is: which fabric do you choose? Of course an expert tailor will lead a new customer through the possibilities and make sure that the client leaves with the perfect fit for their body and the occasion. This is the very essence of tailored clothing.
The material makes a big difference to the look, feel and warmth of the finished suit and here are just a few fabrics that you can choose from.
Merino wool, famed for its softness and quality, is one of the choicest fabrics for a fine suit. Wool is preferred thanks to its durability, its ability to breathe and of course the hang. For the absolute best, look for Super gauge, which refers to how fine the yarn is. Super 210 is the market-leading cloth, but Super 100 can provide a fine finished suit and most tailors opt for Super 130-150 for their premium ranges.
Worsted wool is produced slightly differently to traditional wool, as the fibres are combed into strands, rather than spun, to create a smooth and more durable fibre. Worsted is commonly used to produce flannel and tweed that are the staples of country fashion and, therefore, have to survive the rigours of the outdoors.
This fine grade wool is generally offered as a blend for traditional wool as, used on its own, it can create a rather unnatural shine. When harnessed in the right way, cashmere can add a real touch of luxury to a suit.
Another common blending fibre, silk is a breathable fabric that retains heat in cold weather and also gives the suit a natural sheen that is simply unmistakeable. It is often seen in the finest tuxedos and high-fashion suits from the leading designers.
The stalwart of the casual summer suit market, lightweight linen is famous for helping a gent keep his cool in the blazing heat. Traditionally worn at garden parties and in foreign climes, a linen suit is more casual than a traditional suit and used to be a rarity at the office. It has relaxed lines, but also creases easily and requires regular cleaning.
Cotton suits move and breathe well, but they lag behind wool suits when it comes to fit and finish. Cotton suits, especially in lighter hues, are ideal for summer wear, but they are not everyone’s cup of tea.