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THE BRIEFING

How to tell fabric quality in a suit and why it matters

PUBLISHED ON
5th May 2020
WRITER
Tracy Chow

Fabric quality is one of the first things you should get acquainted with when buying a quality suit. Truth is, a quality men’s suit is an opportunity to showcase your personal style and sophistication, so it makes sense to pay attention to the details. Here are some notes on how to check fabric quality and the types of fabric you should look for.

Why does fabric quality matter? Apart from giving off an aura of refinement, fine materials also feel better, keep their shape and look good throughout the life of the suit.

Thread count

One of the major determinants of fabric quality is thread count. The higher the S-count number, the finer the yarn. This will make it softer and smoother. However, the optimum thread count for everyday wear is probably around 120 to 140. The higher you go, the more fragile the suit.

While judging fabric quality requires experience, one of the fundamental ways to test is by scrunching the fabric swatch in your fist. If it bounces back into shape easily, the fabric is of decent quality.

 Dsc4078 Senszio Tailor Shoot Reduced
(Above) Browsing fabric swatches

Drawbacks of cheap fabrics

Opt for a men’s suit in a synthetic fabric (or a blend of synthetic fabric with wool) and you’re likely to encounter a number of problems. Firstly, it won’t breathe well, so you’ll suffer on hot days. Sweating can also discolor the fabric. Polyester suits also fail to drape well, so you won’t look your best.

Weight of cloth

Different seasons demand different weights of cloth:

  • 7oz – 8oz (200 gms/mt – 230 gms/mt): Lightweight, suitable for high summer.
  • 7.5oz – 10oz (210 gms/mt – 290 gms/mt): Light to midweight. Ideal for late spring and early summer or late summer and early autumn.
  • 8.5oz – 10oz (240 gms/mt – 290 gms/mt): This is your fabric for all occasions and an ideal weight for a first suit.
  • 10.5oz – 12.5oz (300 gms/mt – 360 gms/mt): Heavier midweight. A fine choice for daily workwear, but best avoided during the hottest months.
  • 13oz – 19oz (370 gms/mt – 540 gms/mt): This is your winter-weight suit.

Choosing Fabrics Weight Thickness Drape Gsm Oz 980x408 1
(Above) Exclusive and extensive fabric selection, with up to 3,000 fabrics to choose from

Wool suits

Wool is versatile and refined and the most popular suit fabric choice for men. Wool is natural, so it breathes. That makes it suitable for both hot and cold conditions.

Wool
(Upper left) Zegna 38134: 100% Superfine Australian Wool, Blue Herringbone, 280/290 Gr/Mt
(Upper right) Zegna 23128: 100% Superfine Australian Wool, Grey Birdseye, 240 Gr/Mt
(Lower left) Carnet C1147: 100% Virgin Wool, Green & Blue Check, 270 Gr/Mt
(Lower right) Cerruti 2079-0008/0008: 100% Virgin Wool, Grey & White Stripe, 230 Gr/Mt

Cotton suits

Cotton suits breathe well and are a good choice for summer – thought we recommend making your jackets half-line or unlined. Watch out for creasing, however, if you’re wearing them for business.

Cotton

(Upper left) Cerruti 6740-0902/0007: 94% Cotton, 6% Silk, Off White Plain Structured, 460 Gr/Mt
(Upper right) LP N704001: 40% Cotton, 37% Wool, 23% Silk, Teal Plain Structured, 280 Gr/Mt
(Lower left) LP N685052: 88% Cotton, 10% Wool, 2% EA, Prussian Blue Corduroy, 350 Gr/Mt
(Lower right) LP N704069: 100% Cotton, Plain Olive, 320 Gr/Mt

Linen suits

Linen suits are a fine choice for summer as they keep their cool wonderfully. You should maintain a regular dry-cleaning programme, however, as linen tends to wrinkle easily.

Linen
(Upper left) Carnet C7992: 100% Linen, Plain Red, 260 Gr/Mt
(Upper right) Carnet C7974: 100% Linen, Beige & White Stripe, 260 Gr/Mt
(Lower left) Carnet C7956: 100% Linen, Denim Blue & Orange Check, 260 Gr/Mt
(Lower right) Carnet C7991: 100% Linen, Plain Green, 260 Gr/Mt

Worsted suits

If you want durability, opt for worsted wool. It’s a smooth and compact textile. Unlike in most wool production, only the longer strands of fibre are spun. This results in a hard wearing fabric.

Worsted Wool 2

(Upper left) Zegna 23122: 100% Superfine Australian Wool, Dark Green Check, 240 Gr/Mt
(Upper right) Loro Piana N703012: 100% Super 150’s Wool, Grey & Blue Check, 220 Gr/Mt
(Lower left) Loro Piana N697040: 100% Super 170’s Wool, Plain Light Grey, 260 Gr/Mt
(Lower right) Cerruti 2083-0045/0001: 100% Virgin Wool, Navy Stripe, 310 Gr/Mt

Cashmere suits

Cashmere is a luxury choice, but be wary of a shiny appearance that can detract from its quality. Cashmere is a good choice for social wear, especially in Autumn & Winter.

Cashmere
(Upper left) Loro Piana N368744: 100% Cashmere, Grey Check, 300 Gr/Mt
(Upper right) Carnet C6010: 100% Cashmere, Dark Blue Check, 430 Gr/Mt
(Lower left) Loro Piana N368758: 100% Cashmere, Plain Blue, 300 Gr/Mt
(Lower right) Loro Piana N368749: 100% Cashmere, Green & Multi Colour Check, 300 Gr/Mt

Silk suits

Silk suits are the most comfortable. Silk naturally regulates temperature, so is a fine option for the summer months. We recommend a blend of Silk & Wool or Silk, Wool & Linen to give structure to your suit or jacket.

Silk 2

(Upper left) Cerruti 1666-0007/0001: 56% Silk, 44% Wool, Navy & Light Blue Check, 320 Gr/Mt
(Upper right) Loro Piana N706007: 71% Wool, 15% Silk, 14% Linen, Off White & Navy Stripe, 250 Gr/Mt
(Lower left) Loro Piana N704019: 49% Wool, 30% Silk, 21% Linen, Light Green Herringbone, 240 Gr/Mt
(Lower right) Loro Piana N704023: 100% Silk, Plain Prussian blue, 260-270 Gr/Mt

Why not book a fitting at a Senszio Trunk Show near you? Let our expert travelling tailors talk you through every option and create a fine gentleman’s suit in a quality fabric.