Choosing a suitable fabric is important, and can come across as daunting especially when walking into a tailor shop and being greeted by hundreds of swatches and over thousands of fabrics. A well-chosen fabric should reflect a gentlemen’s preference in texture, weight, lifestyle and the level of maintenance needed.
It can be an enjoyable process choosing the right fabric for your suit especially when there are different fabrics for different occasions like work formal events, charity galas and even weddings. There are a wide range of fabrics to choose from when tailoring a suit, despite them looking similar. This guide will help you choose the perfect fabric for your suit and learn how to identify the various fabrics’ unique features and differences.
How do I choose the right fabric for me?
Nobody likes to be in warm clothing especially in Singapore’s humid weather – we love wearing clothes that are breathable. Thus, choosing breathable fabric that minimises perspiration will be an important consideration.
It is important to consider how often you will wear your suit as it determines the type of fabric used. If you wear suits every day, you might want to consider a more robust material that is more resilient to wear and tear and less prone to creasing.
If your intention is to wear only for important meetings/events, on alternate days or once a week, you might want to consider a material that has more finesse with a luxurious finish. However, these fabrics tend to be softer and more prone to creases.
If you are someone who perspires easily, we will recommend going for natural fibres instead of synthetic materials. Natural fibres are like pure wool, pure linen, pure cotton, wool silk linen blends, etc.
Synthetic materials are like polyester, wool poly blend, linen poly blend, cotton linen blend, etc.
Natural fabrics are more breathable, does not trap perspiration, and tend to feel softer and smoother to the touch. Synthetic materials are less breathable, traps perspiration more easily than natural materials, and tend to be rougher to the touch.
Types of suit fabrics
(Worsted wool fabric. Image by Loro Piana.)
(Image by Common Suits)
(Image by Common Suits)
Worsted wool is a popular fabric choice in men’s suits in this day and age. Worsted wool are mostly made from merino wool from sheep predominantly bred in Australia and New Zealand. Worsted yarn is graded by its fineness, known in the trade as ‘Super Number’, which usually range from 100s to the Super 200s. Generally, the higher the number, the finer it is. However, it does not necessarily mean that the quality/durability is better. Super 100s to 130s offer durability combined with a good handle. Through 140s to 180s it offers an even softer finishing, lustre but ranks lower on the handle. Anything above the super 200s is of exceptional luxury, comfort, softness, fineness and hence more delicate.
For those seeking unparalleled finesse and truly superior merino wool fabrics, there is a record breaking collection by Loro Piana, called the ‘Record bale’.
(Image by Loro Piana)
Since 1997, Loro Piana has held competition annually to recognise the efforts of the most elevated wool breeders/producers in the world. The finest micron of pure merino wool will be crowned the winner and be added to the ‘record bale’ collection.
The difficulty in handling the fabric goes up according to the super count. Hence, be prepared for a longer lead time if you choose a high super count fabric or a fabric with a very fine micron.
Wool silk linen blend
(Wool silk linen blend suit. Image by Common Suits.)