CHOOSING YOUR SUIT FABRIC

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I am constantly asked “what’s the best fabric?” or what fabric so you recommend?”, and  thought this a good topic to discuss further. Simply put  there is no absolute answer to this question, for what is perfect for one is unsuitable for others, and many are overwhelmed by the choice on offer in any tailoring studio. For example in our store we have 15 different brands, 100 different bunches so somewhere around 6,000 different fabric options.

Our fabric selection (or part of!!)

Our fabric selection (well part of!!)

However there are a few things to start with first, and the following tips will give you a guide.

Budget is of paramount importance to your fabric choice. With fabrics available anywhere from $60(au) per metre through to $3500 plus, they have  large bearing on the final cost of your suit. Be up front with your tailor on what your budget is and request cloths that fit into that range. There isn’t much worse than falling in love with a fabric that is way outside of your budget!! I know I have many times!!

The purpose the suit will be used for is also vital.Is it for an evening wedding, a day at the races, or a regular work suit? For an evening wedding obviously a tuxedo should be considered, otherwise a black or navy suit. The races require a lot more flair and panache as well as lighter colours and as such can be bolder. The regular work suit has been discussed here and here before but will probably classic in colour and be worn more frequently. If you are looking at an all-purpose suit that has its own considerations as well, which you  will be guided through.

It is also imperative to consider your environment. By this I obviously mean weather but also the sartorial environment. The climate is very important and I take strong note of this being in Sydney and weights that in the northern hemisphere are considered all year or perennial are distinctly winter only in Sydney, for example Dormeuil’s Royal 12.

royal12-300x225On the other hand super lightweights like the Holland and Sherry Dragonfly aren’t suitable in the UK in the colder months. As far as the sartorial environment goes, I am referring to the fact if you work in a conservative office, your bold blue pinstripe double-breasted dream suit may not be ideal, and neither is wearing a three-piece tuxedo to a “cocktail” party in a country town.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 7.17.32 pmThe level of wear is to me almost the most important factor in choosing cloth. Simply put the more frequently you wear the suit the more durable fabric you will need, however if you only want to wear the suit occasionally, or you have many in rotation then this restraint no longer applies. In order for a fabric to have great durability in can’t be too fine in its super count. 

Somewhere in the super 100- 130’s is fine for 1-2 wears per week, whereas super 160’s really is a once a fortnight suit due to how delicate the fibre is. Also ensure the weight isn’t too light, a weight of 9-11oz is ideal (260-330gm). The linthewaite bunch from Huddersfield Cloth is one of my favourites

If you have run through the above with your tailor then you should be free to peruse several bunches and now choose from your preferences. Like a crisp sharp finish to the suit, then perhaps a mohair, love the luxury of a super soft fabric but want to wear it regularly, have a look at a super 110/120 with 2% cashmere. From here your tailor should be able to guide you very ably to a suit that will be the best for you

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About themaninasuit

I have been involved in the menswear business since university in1997. Have gradually fallen in love with men's suiting and more recently tailor made garments. I am perpetually asked for style advise and things to wear so decided to get some of my thoughts and passions out and about

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