Suit fabric is probably one of the most overlooked and underrated aspects of a well-tailored suit. Yet, it’s what makes or breaks the overall appearance of a suit.
When you are looking for a suit, the first thing you should think about is the fabric. Different fabrics will give you different types of feel, durability, and comfort. Some fabrics are lighter, some heavier; some fabrics are better for the summer, and some are great for the colder months.
So, what are the best fabrics for suits? The best fabrics for suits will depend on your preferences for warmth, comfort, and style. A few great options to choose from include wool, worsted wool, cashmere, cotton, linen, and polyester, silk, and more. You may also want to consider a different fabric for the lining.
The following guide will tell you what the best fabrics for suits, their pros and cons, and how you can choose the best suit fabric for the right occasion are.
How To Choose The Right Fabric For A Suit
The most crucial factors to consider when choosing a suiting fabric are its weight, breathability, and weave. These factors can decide whether the fabric is suitable for the weather and the special occasion that the suit is designed for.
For instance, if you plan on wearing a suit during the winter season, wool might keep you warm in cold weather. However, breathable and lightweight fabrics like silk or linen may be the better options for the warmer months.
Another thing to consider is the fabric’s compatibility with the chosen occasion. Wool suits are generally accepted anywhere, but if you want a suit for everyday wear around the office, the chosen fabric will be drastically different than if you were attending a beach wedding.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that can affect how your suit will look and feel.
1. Fabric Weight
Because of the different types of materials used in making a suit, the weight of a material can vary. Generally, heavier-weight fabrics like tweed, velvet, or wool are best for cold weather, and lighter fabrics like silk, cotton, or linen are great for hotter days.
Most materials are measured in grams per meter (GSM) or ounces per yard (oz). These measurements provide an estimate of how much a certain length of fabric will weigh.
You can also get an idea of the thickness of the material by looking at the terms “light,” “medium,” and “heavy” fabric if you’re shopping in a fabric store. Although these are more general terms, they can give you a better idea about how the fabric will look on a suit.
This is because the weight of the material can affect the drape and style of a suit. For instance, a lightweight linen suit may drape well but won’t look as structured and tailored as a medium-weight wool suit. The heavier the fabric, the bulkier and heavier your suit will be.
Breathable material allows air to flow through the weave, keeping your body airy and comfortable. This is especially important during the summer. Natural fabrics, like cotton and linen, have great breathability, which makes them great summer options.
Other types of natural fibers such as wool and cashmere also have excellent insulating abilities without trapping moisture inside your body. These properties help keep your body warm and comfortable without being too stuffy.
Generally, synthetic fabrics are substantially less breathable than their natural counterparts. This is why the polyester fabric can feel very hot and stuffy during warmer days.
The fabric will touch your skin, so choosing a soft and comfortable fabric is also important when it comes to making a suit. After all, scratchy wool can be very uncomfortable to wear!
The type of fiber and the fabric’s weave can affect how soft it is. Some natural fibers like silk or cashmere are known for having incredibly soft and luxurious textures.
Fabrics with a tighter weave can also feel softer than a loose-weave fabric. Cotton, for example, can vary greatly when it comes to softness. You can get very loosely woven cotton that feels rough to the touch, but you can also get cotton that has a very high thread count that feels luxurious and soft to the touch.
4. Weave Pattern
The type of weave, or weave design, gives the fabric its unique appearance. For instance, herringbone and houndstooth weave patterns are very popular weave patterns.
Some woven fabrics like tweed are known for having amazing weave designs such as houndstooth weave, twill weave, or gabardine weave. If you want the weave pattern to be the star of the show, definitely look into the pattern options for your fabric!
The 9 Best Fabrics For Suits
When it comes to choosing fabric for your suits, there are many different options, each with its own characteristics. Some are more formal than others, some are more comfortable, and others are more durable and easier to clean.
Here’s a list of the best fabrics for suits, along with their pros and cons.
Wool is the most versatile fabric for suits, thanks to its refined aesthetic and versatility. ‘Wool’ is actually a general term that can cover very luxurious options like cashmere to more casual options like alpaca and merino.
Because this is a natural, protein-based fiber, it has an inherent softness that makes it ideal for clothing or anything that will touch your skin regularly. It has antimicrobial properties and is water-resistant, so it doesn’t have to be laundered often while still staying clean.
Contrary to popular beliefs, wool can be worn in both hot and cold weather because it is very breathable. In the winter, it can insulate your body and keep you warm, while in the summer, you can opt for a lighter option that does a great job at wicking away moisture.
For suits, you can usually find wool fabric in two different styles. One is a loose-fitting, airy, and slightly puffy material that has a sweater-like feel.
The other type, worsted wool, is more durable and has a more structured appearance. It’s usually used in suits for a more polished, academic look.
Because wool is a natural fabric, you can expect it to be a little bit more expensive than other fabric options. However, because ‘wool’ comes in so many different types, you can still find the option that suits your budget.
Cashmere, for example, can be very expensive, while merino is a bit more accessible while still having plenty of the desired characteristics.
2. Worsted Wool
Unlike most wool, worsted wool doesn’t have to be spun. Instead, it’s combed through a process to remove the fibers that are prone to splitting, leaving the finer fibers that can be spun into various forms, such as flannel, tweed, and fresco cloths.
The smooth, soft finish and structured look of worsted wool are why it is preferred for high-end suits. At the same time, it still has some excellent wool qualities, including its breathability and insulating abilities.
Worsted wool also comes in varying fabric weights, with some lightweight options available for a more elegant, formal look. Heavy-weight worsted wool is more suitable for casual wear and especially preferred during the winter months.
Cashmere is a type of fine wool that’s derived from the soft under-hair of a certain kind of cashmere goat, a native of Mongolia.
Considered a luxury material, cashmere is the world’s softest and most expensive type of wool. It is so soft that it can be compared to fibers like silk or wool, but it is stronger than both of them, making it an ideal option for a formalwear suit.
Cashmere is not only soft, but it’s also very breathable. It’s a type of fabric that can help keep you comfortable during hot weather, as well as cold weather.
Cashmere fabrics are long-lasting when it comes to their quality. When they are cared for properly, they can last for years without any signs of wear or tear. This makes them a good investment if you’re looking to purchase something that will stay new for a long time without worrying about it getting damaged or falling apart prematurely.
Another advantage of a cashmere suit is that it doesn’t wrinkle easily, so you can pack it in your luggage and not have to worry about ironing it when you get to your destination. It also has a great drape, which gives it a more formal look than other fabrics like wool.
Cashmere suits are generally considered more dressy than other types of suits, making them good choices for special occasions like weddings or other events where you want to look your best.
The only disadvantage of cashmere is that it is quite expensive, which is why it’s not very popular. However, if you want to invest in a quality suit that can last for years, this is definitely an excellent option.
Cotton is a great fabric for suits. Cotton is a very breathable fabric that has a light, comfortable weight. It is much more affordable than most types of wool suiting fabric but still has a very nice drape and soft feel.
One of the great benefits of cotton is its price. It’s much more affordable than most types of suiting fabric, which means that you can get a higher quality suit at a lower price point.
A suit made of cotton is an ideal summertime option. They are easy to care for and possess the breathability you need in the hot summer months. For those living in a warm climate, a fabric like this can be an excellent choice.
In addition to its breathable nature, cotton is also typically very lightweight. It won’t weigh you down or make you feel stuffy and uncomfortable as you do your daily tasks, making it great for a casual suit option for day-to-day office work.
Cotton suits are also very durable and long-lasting, which makes them worth their price. This type of fabric is one of the most affordable options out there when compared to wool suiting material, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank.
However, there are some disadvantages of cotton that make it a less-than-ideal choice for business or formal wear. Even if you iron your clothes before wearing them, they can get wrinkled easily throughout the day.
Although cotton is considered a versatile fabric, it does not provide much warmth in cold weather. If you live in a place where winters are particularly cold, this is probably not the best fabric for your jacket.
Linen fabric is the most breathable of any suit fabric. It has a very high rate of air permeability. This helps you stay cool and comfortable in warm weather, despite wearing a suit.
Tailor-made linen suits are more comfortable than synthetic materials and have a unique style all their own; many people prefer to wear them in warm weather to casual or semi-formal events, particularly at summer weddings.
Linen fabric is also becoming popular for its unique style. The long fibers of the flax plant produce a rough, textured cloth that gives linen its rustic appearance.
The main disadvantage of linen fabric is that it can be expensive or at least more expensive than cotton. Similar to cotton, linen also doesn’t hold color well; it tends to fade with repeated washing. Like cotton, linen may wrinkle easily.
Also, linen suits can be difficult to clean, as they cannot be dry cleaned or washed in hot water. The best way to care for a linen suit is by hand washing it with cool water and mild soap and then hanging it up to dry naturally instead of placing it in a dryer.
Polyester fabric is one of the most widely used fabrics in the world today, and it has become one of the most common fabrics used in suits due to its numerous advantages over other fabrics.
Polyester fabric is popular because it is easy to work with and affordable, which makes it an excellent choice for mass production. It can also be dyed into almost any color imaginable due to its resistance to fading and discoloration.
Polyester fiber offers many advantages over cotton and wool alternatives, such as being wrinkle-resistant and easy to clean.
However, polyester is not very breathable; it can trap the heat and cause you to feel very uncomfortable, especially when used during the summer season. Polyester can also look very cheap, which means you will want to avoid this material when shopping for formalwear.
A popular alternative is buying “poly-blend,” which is a blend of polyester and wool or polyester and cotton. The advantage to these blends is that they are often less expensive than wool suits, but they can still offer some of the breathability and durability that wool or cotton has.
Silk fabrics are lightweight, breathable, and lustrous. They are perfect for summer suits, especially for those who live in areas where it is hot in the summer.
The natural silk fabric always feels comfortable and cool. Silk is also very breathable, feels soft against the skin, and will keep you comfortable all day long when you wear your silk suit.
This material also has a nice sheen that exudes elegance. It drapes well and is a bit on the lighter side. The look of silk suits tends to be very polished, just right for a classy suit that works great for special occasions.
However, silk fabric has two main disadvantages when it comes to creating suits. Silk is extremely delicate. Because of its soft texture, it can easily be torn or ripped if not handled properly. This means that silk suits require special care when being washed and dried.
Silk is also more expensive than other fabrics, and this can sometimes be discouraging for those looking for an affordable suit that they can wear time and time again.
Velvet fabric, with its luxurious texture and drape, is a popular choice for suits, especially the classic black variety. Velvet has a distinctive texture that distinguishes it from other fabrics.
Suits made from velvet fabric can be worn to a variety of social events ranging from clubbing and casual hangouts to semi-formal events.
Velvet suits are generally cut in the same way as worsted wool suits, with one difference: The velvet is often finished with a satin lining that’s shiny on the outside and matte on the inside, which gives the fabric some of the same qualities you’d find in silk.
Velvet is a popular choice for suits because it has a distinctive texture that makes it stand out among other fabrics. Its soft, thick pile gives it a textured look and feel but at the same time adds warmth and comfort to your outfit in colder months. This unique texture allows the suit to keep its shape when worn and also helps resist wrinkling.
For anyone looking to add some style and elegance to their wardrobe, velvet is the perfect option with its rich texture and colorful varieties. However, because it is a thicker type of fabric, it is best suited for winter suits. It is also often paired with silk accents.
Tweed suits are a classic fall and winter look. They can provide a unique style, offer extreme warmth and insulation, and with proper care, last a long time.
Tweed fabric is made from wool and has a distinct weave that gives it its recognizable appearance. Tweed fabric is available in different weaves, which means that the threads are woven in different patterns to create different looks. The most common ones used in men’s suits today are the herringbone tweed and the Donegal tweed.
Tweed suits can be worn for casual or semi-formal occasions, making them versatile enough for both professional dress codes and relaxed environments.
Tweed fabrics also provide an excellent level of warmth because of how tightly woven they are. They’re an ideal option for those who live in colder climates or have extremely cold seasons. Tweed fabrics also tend to resist wrinkles well, making them a great option for workwear.
There are many advantages to wearing tweed. It looks great, it is comfortable and warm, and it is a classic material that can be worn on many different occasions. With all of these advantages, however, comes one major disadvantage: the price tag.
The fabric is expensive because it requires a lot of wool and time to make. Tweed fabric is woven from wool fibers that have been dyed in a random pattern by hand. This dyeing process creates an uneven surface that gives the tweed its signature look.
The process of weaving this thick fabric also takes a long time, which drives up the price tag even further.
Not only does authentic tweed have a high price tag, but it also has a bulky shape as well. This bulkiness makes tweed suits ill-suited for formal events where people are looking for sleek lines with minimal accessories.
This means that a tweed suit is often not the choice for formal occasions, but still great if you want to look for a classic, comfortable everyday suit.
Best Lining Fabrics For Suits
When it comes to suiting fabric, you only think about the exterior fabric, the layer that most people will see, and not the lining fabric.
In reality, lining fabric is an important part of a suit. As well as adding volume and style to the garment, it also makes the suit more durable and comfortable to wear.
The lining can be made from a variety of materials, but some are more popular than others. Here’s a look at the most common lining fabrics you’ll find on the market and what they’re best suited for.
Silk lining fabrics can make a suit feel like a second skin. A smooth silk lining will caress the body, while a textured silk lining can add interest to a garment without overwhelming its overall look.
Silk is a luxury material and, as such, is an expensive addition to a garment. For this reason, it is often found in the most luxurious of suits and blazers.
There are a lot of benefits to choosing silk for your garment. Silk is soft, lightweight, and doesn’t wrinkle easily. It can also be dyed in an array of colors and patterns to add interest to your garment.
Because the suit lining is the part that goes inside and will touch your skin, the addition of a silk lining can make a huge difference in how it feels to wear. You might end up spending more on silk than on other fabrics, but you’ll love how it feels against the skin once you start wearing it!
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric that is a cheaper alternative to silk. Rayon is breathable, static-free, wears well, and adds that silky glide to your garments at a reasonable price.
Rayon fabrics are an excellent option for your suit lining because they are lightweight and easy to care for. They will stand up to repeated machine washings while retaining their shape and color.
Rayon fabrics are available in a huge range of colors, both solid and printed. In addition, rayon lining fabric is available in weights ranging from sheer to a nice medium weight that can add structure to the suit.
Rayon lining fabric is easy to work with and has minimal shrinkage during laundering. Because it has many of silk’s advantages but comes at a much cheaper price point, it is a more popular option for suit lining.
3. Cotton Woile
Cotton voile is a sheer fabric with a slight sheen. It’s a popular lining fabric for suits and other tailored garments because of its drape and softness.
Cotton voile is usually made of 99% cotton or cotton blended with linen or polyester. It’s soft and breathable, similar to cotton, so it makes a great and affordable option for lightweight suits.
However, cotton can shrink in the wash, so if you want to use this fabric as a lining for your suit, it is best to pre-wash the fabric first to get any shrinkage out of the way before sewing so that it won’t affect the look of your suit after the first wash.
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