A GENTLEMEN'S GUIDE TO SUIT FABRICS

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?


1. Breathability

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.


2. Usability

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.


3. Material

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

(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.)


(Wool silk linen blend suit. Image by Common Suits.)


Wool, silk and linen are a popular and favoured blend. Loro Piana produces our personal favourites as they weave this particular fabric blend to perfection. The trademark texture consists of flecks and depths, with a wide range of colours to choose from, and is lightweight enough for South East Asia’s climate. But how does each element work in this blend?


Wool – durable, comfortable and breathable. It is easy to care for, naturally crease-resistant, is suitable to wear for all seasons, and helps regulate temperature better.


Silk – luxurious, soft and drapes beautifully. This addition allows the fabric to drape beautifully and lends a nice gentle structure to the garment.


Linen – naturally breathable and has an inherent perfect summer texture.


The wool, silk and linen blend combines the above elements together to achieve the perfect summer suiting fabric. We’d recommend this particular blend if you are looking for an outdoor/beach wedding suit. Try opting for an unlined back and natural shoulder expression to keep the jacket light and breezy.


Fresco

(Example of fresco fabric)


(Example of a fresco suit. Image by Common Suits.)


Fresco is derived from the Italian word, ‘affresco’, which means fresh. It has an open weave that makes it an airy and breathable fabric, making it the perfect suit fabric to wear in warmer climates like Singapore. It gives off a rigid look due to its high twist of yarns together to provide it with the strength required to make up for the fabric’s loose weave, thus making it naturally wrinkle resistant, durable and gives off a rougher touch. It is an ideal piece of clothing for travelling as it does not crease easily. However, do take note that not all will find this fabric comfortable as it can come across as scratchy to some. If you are looking to repurpose your wedding suit for work, you might want to consider a fresco suit in a solid colour.


Hopsack

(Example of a hopsack suit)


Hopsack suits have become increasingly popular due to its unique basket weave texture especially during Spring and Summer seasons, making it a go-to choice. Additionally, the coarse texture gives it a more casual look, thus, making it a wearable garment that can be repurposed for multiple uses.


Hopsack is wrinkle-resistant, lightweight and breathable due to the open weave, which makes the suit less stuffy. This makes it suitable for warm climates in places like Singapore. However, hopsack is more aptly described as a type of weaving method rather than a fabric name. It is made from wool, and the coarseness of it gives off a slight fuzz. Hence we would not recommend this for clients who have more developed inner thighs to minimise fabric friction and damage. Despite this, it can still help you look presentable especially during business functions or meetings.


(Loro Piana Navy Hopsack Suit)


If you are thinking of wearing a hopsack suit during formal occasions, we recommend matching your hopsack suit with a fitted shirt and a silk tie. If you would like to dress it down, you can easily wear the jacket as a separate piece and pair it with a nice tailored chinos/denim.


Cotton

(Image by Common Suits)


(Image by Common Suits) Cotton is also a popular fabric choice for suits due to its soft texture derived from plant fibres. Additionally, because of its softness, it makes cotton suits breathable and allows the wearer to move with ease. However, they tend to crease easily, which might make the suit look a little worn after long hours and might lack that sharp appearance.


Cotton suits will be suitable for Singapore’s weather as it is breathable and perfect for semi-formal events and outdoor events.

Mohair

(Example of mohair fabric)


(Example of mohair suit)


Mohair is a soft wool that comes from the Angora goat. It has a lustre and sheen in its fibers when blended with other fabrics like merino.


Mohair is extremely durable and lightweight and also crease-resistant. Mohair can be used in a wide range of clothing - hats, ties and suits. It provides a crisp appearance and gives a premium look to it.


However mohair has a coarse touch, making it uncomfortable to wear and extremely expensive on its own. Thus, mohair is often blended with wool, as mohair is an insulator and wool is a conductor. This makes it the perfect blend to wear in both cooler and warmer climates, making it great for Singapore’s weather.


Now you have a better understanding of the different types of fabrics you might need for your suit. Whether you need a suit for travelling about, or seeking a comfortable and durable summer business suit, or even an outfit for a wedding, Common Suits is there to serve and provide you with our professional expertise.


If you’re looking for more consultation or tips, book a consultation with us and we will be happy to guide you step by step to create your bespoke suit with the finest fabric quality.