Deciding what fabric is best when it comes to buying a suit is important – and complicated. The fact of the matter is, suits symbolize sophistication and offer a chance to showcase personal style. A suit should be chosen – not simply for its superior fit or luxurious touch – but also for the fabric from which it was crafted.
There are only a handful of fabrics designed for suiting, which makes the decision easier, but certain factors must considered when buying the perfect one.
There is the breath ability of the fabric. In summer, the fight is on against the sweaty-back. Then old man winter blows on in and the casual stroll to work turns into a run, brought on by sheer determination to keep warm for the chilling cold.
Fabric softness is a second factor. Who wants to be enraged by itchy suit pants? Or feel trapped, tight and unable to move because of an over-starched jacket that is likely to snap if pushed too hard?
The solution for most men is an education in suit fabrics.
WOOL is the most popular fabric choice for men due to its versatility and refined aesthetic. Wool is a natural material, which means it breathes well, and can be worn both in the heat of the day or the cool of the night. It is soft and wrinkle free but is sometimes criticized by those wanting lighter, more slimming fabrics. Common wool types include tweed, flannel, cashmere, merino and worsted.
Worsted Wool is a compact textile that is smooth and boasts a high durability. Most wool requires that the natural fiber be spun. But not worsted. Instead, the wool is first combed in a carding process to remove any short and brittle fibres. This leaves only the longer strands of the fiber to undergo the spinning process, producing a smooth toughness. Worsted can be woven in a number of ways, producing flannel, tweed, gabardine and fresco cloths.
CASHMERE , on its own or as a blend, is rather luxurious but can give an unwanted shine to a suit. Depending on whether you want something fancily European or not, cashmere may not be suitable for work. But for pleasure? Always.
COTTON is the second most popular fabric for suits and is derived from plant fibers. Cotton suits move and breathe well but tend to crease easily, which can make the suit look sloppy. They are satisfactory when it comes to softness but lag behind in the luxury department when compared to wool fabrics.
LINEN suits are super lightweight and maintain their coolness in soaring temperatures. However, linen wrinkles easily and stains even easier, meaning it requires regular dry cleaning to maintain a fresh, crisp look.
POLYESTER is made from synthetic materials (not natural like wool) and is deemed lower quality. It usually comes blended with another fiber, such as wool, in order to cut costs. Suits made from polyester tend to wrinkle (more than wool but less than linen) and have a reputation for not breathing very well. Polyester produces more fabric shine compared to wool and cotton, making the suit look cheap.
SILK, Derived from insects, silk is an animal protein typically used by moths to build cocoons. Silk offers superior comfort and is much more expensive than polyester to produce. It is a breathable fabric and a natural temperature regulator, helping the body retain heat in cold weather while excess heat is expelled in warm weather.
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