Men’s Suit Fabric 101 (part 1)

Deciding on men’s suit fabric can be complicated, but as I said before, it is a big decision when it comes to going bespoke. This opportunity to show personal style cannot be taken lightly. According to owner of Hawkes Bespoke Outfitters, Russell Scott Lawson, the second most important thing (ironically) is the fabric, the first is the fit. Factors to bear in mind are breathability and softness.

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Shirts on display at Hawkes Bespoke Outfitters, Cardiff, Wales

Breathability is informed by the clime in which you live. Clearly cold climes will require thicker fabrics. Normally, you associate cotton with under ware and undershirts, not necessarily fabrics for suit, but if you want breathability this is a suitable cloth, but it does have its drawbacks. These include the fact that it is extremely wrinkle prone, so you run the risk of looking cheap and somewhat untidy, who wants that in such an investment. The good part is, it’s cool, so appropriate for summer, but may not be your first pick for a night out or a formal event.

But, don’t panic, cotton suits are usually made from a heavy blend of cotton or a blend of cotton and wool, this helps to keep the look of the fabric clean enough for semi casual events.

cotton suit
Source: The Idle Man

If you want light weight, then linen is the fabric for you, but its only good for cool temperatures, not cold. But, But, But, it is wrinkle prone, stains easily, and required dry cleaning, so its high maintenance fabric, with low versatility. Suitable for casual event, never the office.

The second fact to consider when choosing fabric is softness, the cloth most versatile for this purpose is wool. Going light means going wool because it breaths well and is good for the heat of the day and the cold of a long night, furthermore, with wool, there is no need to worry about wrinkles. To escape itch, worsted is fabulous! Because of the way its spun, it is soft and strong. It can be woven to produce the likes of flannel, tweed, gabardine and fresco cloths.

On the other hand, if you want luxury and softness, then you want cashmere or a blend thereof. But that is only if you want to shine…literally. Cashmere gives a sheen that may not be suitable for all occasions. It may not be suitable for the office for most, but a formal event, it can be a show stopper. This too requires dry cleaning.

cashmere-suit-fabric
Source: Men’s Answer

A man’s first suit may be for a job interview or a wedding, but whatever the purpose, you want to look your best. As I said before, the fabric you choose will heavily depend on which part of the world you are from or where it will be worn. Breathability and softness are super important because nobody wants to be sweating in their undershirt or freezing at an evening event. You certainly don’t want to be doing the itchy dance at the wrong event, or at all.

In the next few posts, I will continue to talk about the fabrics in bespoke tailoring and thread count! For information on suit fabrics, like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel to learn more about linen and cashmere, those posts are already there, cotton will be posted soon. Also follow us on Instagram.

Have you been fitted by Hawkes? Tell us your experience and use the #fittedbyHawkes on  Instagram or Facebook.

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