Everything You Need To Know About Suit Fabrics
The definitive MR PORTER guide to suits, part two.
It can often be difficult to know what to look for in a suit. You’ve decided on the colour, you’ve worked out the accurate sizing, and perhaps even the style you want. But there are still multiple factors to consider when it comes to the composition. Do you want a linen-silk blend, and in what weave? Isn’t a wool suit going to make you very hot? And flannel is better suited for a face towel, right? Hopefully, you’ll have a nice tailor on hand to advise you on such matters. But in all other instances, you’d do well to take a look at our glossary of suit compositions compiled with care to help you sort the seersucker from the sharkskin. Scroll down for part two in our tailoring series, which provides a comprehensive guide to suit fabrics.
**It is also referred to generically as Glen plaid, as it is developed from the Glen Urquhart check worn by the gamekeepers of the Countess of Seafield’s Scottish estate. The pattern is composed of a fine black and white intersecting check, overlaid with a coloured check. King Edward VIII often wore suits in the pattern when he was Prince of Wales.
A zigzag-like broken check, which supposedly looks like the cross-section of a dog’s tooth. It’s a fairly casual pattern and was traditionally worn only during daylight hours. The smaller, less common variation of the pattern is called puppytooth.
A cloth woven with a small geometric dotted pattern, supposedly resembling a bird’s eye. This fabric is particularly popular for business suits, due to its sleek appearance.
A tough, thorn-proof, water-repellent wool fabric, which has its roots in the Scottish Highlands. The Scots originally called it tweel, but in 1826, a London clerk is said to have misspelt the word on an order, calling it “tweed”. The most prized tweed is woven on the Isle of Harris, but Cheviot, Irish, Yorkshire, Saxony, West of England and other Scottish tweeds are also well regarded and each has its own traits. Tweed is strictly a day fabric and was not normally worn after 6.00pm. Needless to say, due to its robust, thick weave (and Scottish origins), it’s most suited to chilly weather.
Wider than the pinstripe, it is made using several threads that run vertically through a cloth in a slanted arrangement and it sometimes has a subtle “smudged” appearance.
Salt and pepper
Originating in India, seersucker has a vertical stripe weave and an uneven, lightly crinkled appearance. It’s usually made of cotton and is lightweight and breathable, making it a good option in warmer weather.
**A fabric made by weaving two threads of contrasting shades – originally black and white – which create a textured cloth with a grey appearance. The same technique is now used with a wider range of coloured threads.
**A fibre derived from the fleece of the cashmere goat, which is native to the southern Himalayas. It is prized for its super-soft texture and warmth.
LORO PIANABlue Madrid Unstructured Silk And Cashmere-Blend Hopsack BlazerA cloth woven with a fine basketweave-like texture.
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