Fabric: How Super is Your Fabric?

When choosing a custom suit, one of the most important elements in a beautiful garment will be the fabric you use. There is an incredible array of fabrics to choose from. The cloth type, the weight, the design and the “super” numbers are the criteria you will be considering. Worsted wool is the most popular fabric that higher quality and expensive suits are made of.

The most common terminology used to differentiate levels of wools is the Super Number. That number can be a very tricky indicator, and a highly misunderstood metric. The Super Number indicates the fineness of the wool fibers, measured in microns, used in making the cloth.  The International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO) governs the designations.  According to the IWTO, the Super Number correlates to the maximum fiber thickness where 80s must have a fiber thickness of 10.75 microns and 90s must have 10.25 and so on. Each number increment refers to 0.5 microns.

While a higher number indicates a finer fiber it by no means indicates a superior one. The number tells you virtually nothing in terms of the quality of the spun yarn nor about the woven goods themselves. A number exceeding 150 will typically be a much thinner fabric and will not take as well to the needle as a fabric with a lower Super Number. You also must take into consideration the wrinkling and commercial dry cleaning effect on such fabric. For day to day wear, we recommend a balance between 110 and 140.

Worsted wool is the fabric we recommend for your foundational, versatile garments. Wool has the incredible ability to breathe and provide warmth in the winter and comfort in warmer weather. Unlike linen and cotton (which are stiffer), wool molds and shapes itself to your body.

For winter business suits and jackets, we recommend soft to the touch flannels and for more casual purposes, Irish and Scottish tweeds, camel hairs and luxurious cashmeres. For slacks, in addition to tropical worsteds we like to suggest gabardines, cavalry twills, and on occasion microfibers. For summer wear consider an unconstructed crisp linen or a breathable cotton or silk blend.

Over the years, LS Men’s Clothing has developed a close relationship with many of the leading, high-end Italian and English mills. Among the names are Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana, Zegna, Scabal, Reda and Barberis. We will gladly guide you through our extensive selection of swatch books that we carry, or help you hone in on exactly what you are looking for.

It is important to remember that whatever fabric you choose it should drape nicely across your hand and most importantly it should feel good. No matter what anyone tells you about quality or Super count, the fabric has to feel good and durable to you and you alone. Custom suits and clothing are about personal style and this is something that you must remember throughout the process.




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