With respect to cloth, there is only one unbreakable rule...
A well-dressed man's suit fabric must be made solely from natural fibers.
This alone does not ensure you good cloth, but the opposite tailors most certainly prevents it.The best and most widely available fabric is wool. Wool is good because it breathes easily,
well, resists wrinkles, holds dyes, and can be made in a variety of weaves and weights.
On top of all that, wool just looks great as a suit fabric, so naturally we will start with the different types of wool and move on from there.
SUIT FABRICS...THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
THESE ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF WOOL: Wool is a common fabric used in men's suits. It can be processed either through worsted or woolen yarn. Worsted yarn is spun tightly to give a stronger and smoother feel. After woolen yarn is spun, the results are a looser, bulkier and fuzzier feeling garment.
- Worsted It is widely known that worsted wools are as good as it gets when it comes to suit materials. These will be your gabardines or mid-weight corded wools. They are durable, wear well and usually fine for year-round wear. They can be a little lighter or heavier, depending on the weave, but consider them mid-weight.
You might come across a suit that is advertised as a "high-twist," 100, or Super 110. *
This just means that the suit is made of a worsted wool yarn that has been twisted more often than the usual 60-80 twist fabrics. This makes it a finer cloth of a somewhat lighter weight. Such suits would be perfectly fine, therefore, for spring, summer, and fall, but might not work in winter.
- Tweed - It is a very heavy wool fabric, it is often a popular choice in colder climates. Tweed has a coarse feel to it, and is often seen worn as a sport coat.
- Tropical This is usually a type of wool crepe, which is a lightweight fabric. It's more of a summer weight, most suitable for wearing in warmer climates. Being lighter, it wrinkles pretty easily, and therefore requiring frequent visits to the dry-cleaner. This obviously would not be an every day kind of suit fabric.
- Herringbone This fabric has a broken weave that gives it a zig-zag pattern like the skeleton of a herring.
- Flannel A medium-weight fabric that can be plain or twill weaved. It can also be produced by worsted or woolen yarn. It is very suitable for the winter due to it being the heaviest of the non-tweed wools. Flannel is nice but because it holds heat, it is not exactly ideal for office environments.
- A good choice for summer or a hot tropical climate.
*Good quality wool comes in grading of Super 100’s, 110’s, 120’s, and 150’s.
Higher numbers represents better fineness of the wool fiber. The finer the wool fiber means that more fiber has to be used for the fabric to create a tighter weave, and hence lesser crease and wrinkles on the wool. Naturally, this means that higher the grade the more expensive the wool will be. Keep in mind that its important to take care of your clothes as well, as well as consider the right color.
ALTERNATIVE MEN'S SUIT FABRICS:
- Cotton This is likely the most acceptable choice for men's suit fabric that isn’t wool. If you live in a warm climate this is a great alternative look to wool, because cotton "breathes" well. Many men look for cotton suits that have a bit of lycra or something that gives it stretchability. Cotton tends to crease easily though, which could result in looking a bit crumpled.
- Linen Made from the flax plant, it's a very light and smooth material. Linen has a very tropical and airy feel to it, but it wrinkles very quickly, stains easily, and doesn’t wear well. It is not a great choice for a suit fabric, unless you don't mind constant trips to the dry-cleaner.
- Polyester This is a cheap synthetic material, that should NEVER be worn as a suit fabric. It is hot, because it traps body heat, wrinkles rather easily and often looks unnaturally shiny.
- MicroFibers Another synthetic material, like polyester, but has very fine(small) fibers which allows it to "breathe" better than polyester. One of the cheapest fabrics available. Quality this is not.
- Poplin - A cotton that is great for summer wear
- Cashmere - An extremely soft fabric, although it can wear prematurely
Whichever fabric you choose, remember that you will want to dry-clean it as infrequently as possible, because that process shortens the life of any garment, use a brush on your suits, hang them after every wearing and steam them when excessive wrinkles make them unsightly. Its also a good idea to use a suit bag and consider the proper storage as well.
We are sure that you will have success in selecting the best suit fabric for yourself, we hope that we have helped you in accomplishing this.