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Suit Fabrics Explained

Men’s suits are a work of art. Their tailoring is intricate which, inevitably, makes them more expensive than most items in your wardrobe and you probably want to make a well informed decision when purchasing them. In suits, as in life, knowledge is power. Fit, design and colour are important but so is fabric composition. The material that a suit is made of determines its structure and durability, as well as the occasions and seasons that it is appropriate for.

To help you decide, we’ve put together a brief guide of the most popular suit fabrics and their characteristics.

What material are suits made of?

1. Wool
A very popular choice for suit makers. Wool is breathable, soft, wrinkle-resistant and suitable for all seasons. However, 100% wool suits are also somewhat bulky and tend to age badly. Worsted, tweed, merino and cashmere are all types of wool.

2. Viscose
A semi-synthetic fibre, made from processed cellulose. Soft and breathable, it is easy to blend with other fibres and to dye, producing a range of patterns and colours. Most importantly, it feels luxurious without the eye-watering price tag. On the other hand, viscose creases easily and doesn’t absorb humidity.

3. Cotton
Another plant-based material. Cotton is breathable and flexible, as in it will actually move along with your body. On the downside, cotton suits are not really suitable for winter and you may find their look and feel a bit too casual. They also wrinkle more than wool ones.

4. Linen
Nothing says Italian Riviera quite like a linen suit and this probably gives you all the info you need to know. Derived from the flax plant, linen is natural, breathable and lightweight. On the other hand, it stains and wrinkles easily and it is only really recommended for warm weather.

5. Velvet
Velvet is a type of weave, rather than a material, and it can be produced from all sorts of fibres, e.g. silk, cotton, polyester. It feels soft and luxurious and, if made from natural fibres, it is also breathable. Perfect for smoking jackets and special occasions but not for everyday use as it wears quickly.

6. Silk
Hey big spender! Silk is an animal protein fibre woven into a textile. It’s breathable and temperature-regulating, so suitable for any weather. However, quite like cashmere, it is shiny and expensive so you may want to reserve your silk 3 piece suit for a very special occasion.

7. Polyester
Polyester’s main advantage is its low price. It is a synthetic fibre that’s lightweight, durable and safe from moths. On the other hand, it doesn’t really breathe, it has a slightly unnatural shine to it and it’s better suited to mild temperatures, rather than hot summers and cold winters.

The above descriptions may have left you baffled. Each fabric comes with advantages and disadvantages and what works well for one season and occasion is completely unsuited for another. Although you will, sooner or later, need to build up a wardrobe of suits for different events and circumstances, fear not. You don’t really have to go with one fabric or another, thanks to one magic word: blends. At Aristocracy London, we produce 3 piece suits in a variety of fabrics but most of them are blends of different fibres, combining the best of all worlds.

One advice we will leave you with, at the end of this blog, is to read the fabric composition of your suits carefully and our pledge to you is that we will always be clear about the origin and make of our materials. Simply browse our men’s suits collection and look through the product descriptions before making your next purchase and don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team if you have any questions.