When it comes to a bespoke suit, choosing the correct material is just as important as choosing an excellent tailor. That’s because you are spoilt for choice when it comes to suit materials, and you’ll want one that suits your needs and your personal fashion sense.
When choosing your suit fabrics, always think about when and where you’ll be wearing that outfit. Some materials are more comfortable in hot weather, while others will keep you warm when temperatures drop. Meanwhile, the suit fabrics for work in a business-type environment aren’t the same as those to impress at a formal event.
This guide will help you navigate some of the more common suit fabrics available today. You’ll get a sense of which ones to choose for the right occasions, with information you can use when discussing with your tailor.
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Which Type Of Fabric Is Best For Suits?
Here are some of the most common fabrics used to tailor suits and when each is most suitable for use:
First on this list is wool, a natural fabric you’re likely already familiar with. Wool is taken from sheep and offers a highly-adaptable option for casual and formal wear alike, including suits.
Wool is generally broken down into two categories: worsted and woolen, with worsted being the most commonly used for tailored clothes like suits. That’s because worsted fibers are the same length which makes them much more suitable for the tailoring process.
Some of the qualities offered by wool include breathability, the lack of wrinkles, and being soft to the touch, among several other benefits.
When to use it: Cotton suits are incredibly versatile, making them comfortable no matter where or when you use them. In addition, the breathability mentioned earlier means that a cotton suit will keep you comfortable even in warmer climates during the day.
Meanwhile, you’ll still look your best and feel that way at night when temperatures are slightly lower.
The second fabric on this list is cotton, another common one you likely already have in your wardrobe in the form of other garments. As you might already know, cotton comes from a plant, or more precisely, the fibers surrounding the plant.
Cotton is another perfect example of a highly-versatile fabric that’s just as suitable for suits as they are for t-shirts. Still, you shouldn’t underestimate how comfortable and breathable they are.
Cotton suits are also pretty durable, which is ideal if you’re not always indoors when you use them. Unfortunately, cotton suits aren’t the most luxurious and lack insulation, which limits their use in colder temperatures.
When to use it: Despite how comfortable cotton is, it’s not the most luxurious fabric on this list. So, they’re more appropriate for casual or semi-formal suits. They’ll keep you comfortable, but they’re not the most visually-impressive outfits.
That also makes cotton nice to wear outdoors when it’s warm, though not so much when it’s cold.
Linen is another popular suit option, especially those you can use for semi-formal events. The material comes from the flax plant and offers a strong and lightweight fabric.
On top of that, linen suits also handle well in higher temperatures and direct sunlight exposure. The linen material helps your body stay cool despite those conditions.
As you can imagine, that makes linen particularly suitable for outdoor, semi-casual events during the summer months.
Linen does have its fair share of drawbacks, however. It is prone to staining and wrinkling, so you’ll need to send your linen suit for regular dry cleaning.
When to use it: Based on the strengths listed above, linen suits are perfect for semi-casual, outdoor, summertime events.
They’re not necessarily what you’d want to wear to a business meeting. Still, they’ll keep you looking sharp at social gatherings.
Polyester is the first synthetic fiber that we’ll look at on this list. This is a more affordable option than many others, which unfortunately gives an impression that it’s lower quality.
Don’t let that fool you, however. Polyester offers some essential qualities, like being wrinkle-free and quick to dry. It’s also quite durable, which could be beneficial if you’re using it for a job role where you’re on your feet and on the move most of the time.
You should know that polyester doesn’t offer as much breathability as the other fabrics mentioned earlier. So, this is not the kind of suit material you’ll want to wear when it’s warm outside.
When to use it: Polyester suits are perfect if you’re using them for work, particularly where you have to look sharp and presentable. For example, if you’re working in the service industry, your suit will likely be made of polyester.
That’s because it’s low-maintenance, affordable, and robust. In other words, this material is for suits that prioritize function over form.
Now, let’s look at one of the more luxurious, high-end fabric options for suits: cashmere. This natural fabric comes from goats, and it has a strong, well-earned reputation.
Cashmere is a durable material, but that doesn’t mean it sacrifices other traits. Instead, cashmere suits are also incredibly lightweight and soft. On top of that, it’s also versatile; it’s breathable, which means you can use it in both higher and lower temperatures, and it’s suitable for casual and formal events.
There is one catch, though: the fabric is costly. You could use a cashmere suit every day of the week, but a cashmere suit is too pricey for many people to do that.
When to use it: As you read above, cashmere suits are suitable for all casual and formal occasions. Plus, you’ll feel comfortable wearing it in warmer and colder climates.
The only limitation when it comes to cashmere is the price tag. That will likely be a more significant factor in when, where, and how often you wear this material.
Silk is yet another luxurious and expensive fabric that offers lots of comfort. On top of that, it certainly looks elegant and can be easily recognized as such, even from a distance.
Silk is another natural suit fabric taken from an animal. More specifically, this one comes from the filaments produced by domesticated silkworms.
Interestingly, silk doesn’t attract much dirt and is pretty resistant to wrinkles. In other words, that means a silk suit would require less cleaning than many of the other ones on this list.
Temperature-wise, silk is another fabric that’s good at helping our bodies regulate their temperatures. So a silk suit will keep you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cold.
When to use it: You can use a silk suit pretty much anytime you want. However, given its apparent luxurious appearance, even from a distance, it’s best reserved for formal events. Also, a silk suit might not be the kind you’d want to wear daily to work.
Tweed suits are typically seen being worn by professors and other academic types. However, they have much more versatility than that.
Tweed is a woolen fabric that’s soft and flexible, though it’s somewhat rough to the touch on the outside. Still, the material offers plenty of durability and versatility.
More importantly, tweed is preferred by many due to its ability to keep them warm. That’s why you’ll see tweed suits worn more often in the fall and winter seasons.
In terms of formality, tweed suits are on the relatively low end of that spectrum.
When to use it: Tweed suits are best for informal surroundings, such as the academic environments typically associated with them. Still, you can also wear them in other contexts where warmth and durability are what you prioritize.
Just make sure not to wear it during the summer, as you might feel too warm inside it.
Velvet shares many similarities with silk in that it’s soft and appears luxurious even from afar. Velvet can be made from natural and synthetic fibers or some combination of both. For example, you can make velvet using wool or polyester, among many others.
Velvet suits are soft and smooth inside and out. So, you’ll feel that softness when you wear it, and anyone touching it will feel the same on their fingertips.
When to use it: Much like silk suits, velvet ones are also best used at formal events. They give off a very luxurious appearance that people will notice from afar. Depending on the colors you choose, the velvet suit will also capture the attention of everyone in the room.
That said, velvet suits are different from those you would want to wear daily to the office in a business-type setting.
Last but certainly not least, let’s look at seersucker suits. This is not the most common material, meaning that not many people know it exists. Still, that’s also an opportunity to stand out from the crowd if that’s something you prefer to do.
Seersucker is a thin cotton fabric that’s woven in such a way the threads bunch up together. You’ll find it in several patterns ranging from solid to checkered or striped.
Seersucker suits are thin, which means they’re lightweight and able to keep your body feeling cool no matter the climate.
When to use it: Seersucker suits aren’t for formal occasions. Instead, they’re best for outdoor summer use where you want to look clean and sharp while keeping cool.
Thinking Outside the Box
I wear a lot of suits and would call myself a suit fan. I have always enjoyed wearing suits and have tried different styles and materials.
Recently, I had the opportunity to demo a new type of suit that, frankly, I have never experienced before. The suit is called xSuit, and it’s by far the most comfortable one I have ever worn.
The xSuit is made from 60% viscose, 31% polyamide, 9% elastane.
To be honest, I wore the xSuit all day to work, and I had to check in the mirror to see if I was wearing a tracksuit. It was that comfortable. I could do squats and was not worried about busting the seam in my suit.
I think xSuit is the best travel suit on the market by a landslide. It’s got features that blow the conventional suit out of the water.
First, it’s stain-resistant, water-resistant, odor-resistant, and wrinkle-resistant. This is pretty amazing and does wonders for the longevity of your suit.
Second, it’s machine washable. No more expensive dry-cleaning bills. You throw the xSuit into the washing machine using cold water and let it air dry overnight.
Thirdly, xSuit is made to take punishment. The xSuit is made with quality in mind. Its double-sown seams, zipper pockets, and wrinkle-free design is made not only for work but for the commute to work.
Lastly, you don’t have to go to the store. You follow their website’s sizing guide for the perfect fit.
Here is the thing. Suits are expensive, uncomfortable, and a headache to maintain. With the xSuit, you get an incredible-looking suit with features that no other suit can offer. Best of all, it’s the same price as the other suits on the market.
You really should check them out.
As you can see, there are plenty of fabrics to choose from when getting your suit made or purchasing them at a store.
In fact, this list isn’t exhaustive by any means, and there are plenty of other common and rare materials out there for you to choose from.
The most important thing you should do is consult your tailor for more guidance.
They’ll be able to recommend the best options for your needs, whether a suit for work or one to stay fashionable outdoors in the summer months.
If you want to think outside of the box, then I suggest you check out the xSuit.
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