The fabric which your suit is made from can have a big impact on the style and quality – choosing a poor quality fabric will always look cheap no matter how well you might wear the suit, so it’s important to get the right fabric choice.
There are many different options for suit fabrics nowadays, from natural fibres to manmade, and the type you choose will in part depend on the season and the occasion for wearing the suit.
For this post we asked our friends from Dobell – a great resource when you are looking for men’s suits. Here is their quick guide to five of the essential suit fabrics you should have in your wardrobe.
One of the most common fabrics for suits, wool has a number of benefits in that it is a natural fibre, keeping you warm when it’s cold and cool in the summer and it is also naturally water repellent. It helps your skin to breathe and doesn’t wrinkle easily.
Wool is also incredibly versatile as it can be dyed into any colour or pattern and is easy to tailor for any style or shape of suit. Every man should have several woollen suits in his wardrobe as a basic staple and it’s particularly smart for business wear.
Another natural fibre, linen is a very popular fabric for making summer suits. It’s an ancient fabric which was used by the Egyptians and is entirely natural coming from a plant source. It can be expensive and it is also prone to wrinkling so is best kept for casual suits rather than business wear.
Linen is largely used for the summer as it’s light and breathable, and can be found in various pastel shades for relaxed summer suits, which are great for parties or summer wedding receptions, for example. If you are going to something formal then linen is not the right fabric choice to wear.
Flannel has lost its popularity in recently years however a flannel suit in a dark colour can still make a cheaper alternative to a wool business suit in the colder autumn months and will keep you warm without needing to wear an overcoat with it.
Don’t think of seventies garish suits, this fabric has come a long way and makes a nice warmer suit for when the seasons begin to turn, but it’s not quite cold enough for a full woollen outfit. It’s also easy to clean and care for.
While cashmere is a type of wool it is incredibly luxurious and feels wonderfully soft, so any suit with a percentage of cashmere within the fabric will feel soft to the touch and add a touch of class to any chosen outfit.
Cashmere is much softer than regular wool so if you find woollen fabric itchy then try opting for cashmere or a cashmere blend instead, as you might find it kinder on your skin. It can be dyed any colour and improves the quality of any other fabric.
Cotton is another totally natural fabric which makes a great suit option for the summer being lightweight and breathable. It also comes in most colours but is perhaps too informal for an official business suit, so bear that in mind.
Cotton needs regular ironing and might need starching to keep the creases sharp, and it’s not a material which flows so can appear fairly stiff. This is largely a fabric to go for in the summer and for more casual occasions rather than formal ones.
As well as deciding on the fabric, it’s also worth considering which weave to go for as there are many options and this can also change the look and appearance of your suit and different weaves and patterns work better for different occasions.
A weave which appears to be a solid colour from a distance away but up close can be seen to contain tiny dots, so perfect for a man who wants a suit with a difference.
This kind of weave has a diagonal pattern within the texture of the overall fabric, which can be seen if you look closely and is a very common weave used for suit fabrics.
Worsted wool is the most common weave used for wool suits, creating a smooth and light finish, avoiding the hairy feel which some other woollen weaves, such as tweed, have.
With a tweed weave, different colour wools are combined to create the woollen fabric and the texture is rough, making it the perfect winter fabric for suits.
As you can see, there are many different things to consider when choosing the right fabric for your suit and as some are more casual while others are more formal wear, it makes sense to have a wide variety of suits in your wardrobe, that way you will also be covered for all seasons.
If you’re looking for a new suit, I’d recommend the following places… for all sorts of styles and budgets: