Friday, July 11, 2008


Having previously discussed seasonal fabrics, this week I'd like to look at the importance of fabric in any men's suit no matter what the season. We all know that the cut of a bespoke suit makes the difference between standing out in the crowd and having a standardised version of the suit you'd like, but let's not forget how important the right kind of fabric is in the equation.

Your choice of fabric emphasises why getting a made to measure suit is a much better investment than an off the peg quick fix. Any tailor worth his salt will spend time choosing the right fabric for your suit with you so that the suit maintains its best look no matter when you wear it. As an integral element of suit buying, choosing the right fabric is dependent on two main factors:

Fabric Weight

Getting the right weight of fabric for your suit so that it hangs in a flattering manner is as important as getting your measurements right. After all, if your jacket buckles or the trousers wrinkle half way through the day, the impact you have at that all-important presentation may not be quite the one you intended when you left your home in the morning.

The weight of any suit fabric is determined by the mix it is comprised of, wools and flannels being the heaviest. Suit fabrics are measured in density of metres; and the heavier your fabric the more sturdy your suit will be, but in some cases the less breathable. You can of course get wool mixes, which are created for breathability and will still keep the shape of your suit. But bear in mind that generally the denser the fabric, the hotter you'll be.

Most men's suits are made of mid-weight material to allow ten month wear, meaning you can wear the suit on all but the hottest days of the year. Discuss with your tailor where and when you intend to wear your suit in order to get the right weight recommendation.

Thread Count

The quality of fabric you're buying is determined by the thread count. Simply put, the higher the count, the better quality you're getting. Often associated with linens, which is one of this season's most popular fabrics, the thread count should be applicable to every kind of cloth that you might buy a suit in and is usually referred to as the “Super number”. Depending on what you're wearing your suit for, a Super count thread which is in the 400+ range, indicates a fine cloth that will not endure constant wear. Unless you're committed to replacing your suit often, these kinds of cloths are best left to special occasions and not for office wear.