How to Choose a Suit Fabric
When it comes to choosing a suit, there are many different things to take into consideration. While we often think of the style, fit, and colour, one area that is often overlooked is fabric choice.
Suits by Curtis Eliot offers over 3000 different fabric selections! While choosing from our selection may seem like a daunting task, understanding the characteristics of different fabrics, along with what you’re looking for in a suit can help you make the right selection.
A fabric’s breathability contributes to body temperature and can help with sweat. Breathable fabrics allow for proper ventilation in order to regulate body temperature in both hot and cool conditions.
An important contributor to suit comfort is the fabric softness. Softer materials help you avoid the dreaded itch and stiffness that you may find in other suit materials.
Fabrics and materials all have different weights. Choosing a fabric weight depends on the climate and environment in which the suit will be worn.
- 7oz – 9oz: lightweight – offers the most breathability and is ideal for warm temperatures
- 9oz – 12oz: mid-weight – the best option for an “all season” suit, and a good starting point for most suits
- 12oz – 13oz: heavier mid-weight – a good choice for most of the year, providing additional comfort in cooler weather
- 13oz – 19oz: heavy-weight – typically used in outerwear and flannel or tweed suits
If you’re looking for guidance, our expert tailors are happy to provide advice!
Made of sheep’s fleece, wool is a popular and versatile fabric choice for your suit. While many people may think of itchy wool sweaters from their childhood, the reality is that there is a huge range of wool material, all with different characteristics. Common materials include tweed, flannel, cashmere, merino wool, and worsted wool. Wools are breathable, gentle on the skin, and lay nicely on all body types.
Because of their versatility, wool suits can be worn to the office, weddings, dinner parties, and any occasion that requires formal or informal dress.
Cotton is a movable, breathable fabric made of plant fibers. It is the second most popular choice for suit fabrics. Cotton suits are best worn in the spring, summer, and autumn. In the winter, heavy cotton or a wool/cotton blend is preferable to add additional warmth.
Suits made of cotton are highly versatile. They can be dressed up with a button down shirt and tie in formal settings, or dressed down with a nice t-shirt for a more casual feel.
Linen is a lightweight, casual fabric alternative to wool and cotton. The material is highly breathable and incredibly comfortable, making it an excellent choice for summer months. However, there are a few downsides to linen suits, such as being prone to wrinkles and stains. As such, they are not a great choice for everyday wear.
Linen suits are a great choice for outdoor events and much like cotton, they can be dressed up or dressed down to match the event’s dress code.
Polyester is a synthetic material that offers an inexpensive alternative to wool or cotton suits. Polyester suits tend to look the least formal, as the cloth’s shiny texture makes it appear “cheap” compared to a wool or cotton suit. Due to its synthetic nature, polyester lacks the breathability offered by other, natural fabrics.
That being said, if you are seeking an inexpensive suit polyester can be a great option. Remember that finishing touches such as custom tailoring for your style and build can elevate an inexpensive suit greatly.
Silk is another natural fabric made by silkworms building cocoons. As such, silk is a very comfortable and highly breathable fabric, great for maintaining a comfortable body temperature. The shimmery characteristics of this fabric provide a more formal appearance. It also tends to be more expensive due to the intensive silk-weaving process, making silk very much a luxury fabric.
Suits made from silk are a great choice for warmer weather and formal events.
Velvet is made from a combination of silk, cotton and nylon. Velvet suits are very breathable and luxurious to the touch. While many people will opt to have a coat or “smoking jacket” made of velvet rather than an entire suit, velvet tuxedo-style suits are gaining in popularity.
These suits are best worn to formal events, such as dinner parties, and not appropriate for a work or office environment.
Your Choices Are Endless
While this guide provides an introduction to the vast world of suit fabrics, it is by no means an exhaustive list of your options.
Suits by Curtis Eliot offers over 3000 different suit fabrics to meet your needs and unique style. Contact us today to book an appointment.