MIDWAY GENTLEMAN

The Best Suit Fabrics for Men: Complete Guide

Suits are one of the most important purchases of a man. Whether you are looking for a wedding suit or one for the office, you need to look out for a couple of things before you'd pick up one from the store or tailor. In today's article, we cover one of the most important aspects of suits, the fabric.

Deciding which fabric is the best for your suit is not as easy as you might think. Suits symbolize sophistication and offer a chance to showcase your personal style. When picking the fabric of your suit – you have to consider many factors, like the occasion and the weather. There is a huge difference between a summer and winter suit – from the thickness of the fabric to the look of the fabric.

What you should look out for when buying a suit

Although there are only a handful of fabrics designed for suits making the decision a bit easier, certain factors must be considered when buying the perfect one. You should always consider the breathability of the fabric. If you are looking for a suit that you can confidently wear during summer, you can’t buy a thick wool suit. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that, and the result was awful.

The second factor to consider is the softness of the fabric. Who wants to be outraged by itchy suit pants? Or feel trapped, tight, and unable to move because of an over-starched jacket that is likely to rip if pushed too hard? So let me walk you through the fabric options and when you should choose them.

1. Wool

Wool garments are naturally breathable down to the fiber level. While synthetics only breathe through pores in between the fibers in the fabric, wool fibers naturally allow air to flow. The breathability of wool will not feel clammy when you sweat and will prevent you from overheating while providing you a warm option for your suit. It’s the perfect option for a winter suit.

Two Suit Jackets on Racks in Store
Photo by Alexander Naglestad

2. Silk

Silk blend suits are incredibly light, which gives the fabric a soft, luxury feel. It also takes color well. Silk is derived from insects, resulting a natural protein structure, which means it’s highly hypoallergenic. It’s also a great temperature regulator and is surprisingly warm in winter. 

Man Wearing a Green Three Piece Suit for Wedding with Tie Bow and Pocket Square

Our recommendation: Silk can be worn in springsummerautumn, and winter. Silk suits work well with most body types and are perfect for elegant events.

3. Velvet

Velvet is made in the pile weave of silk, cotton, or synthetic fibers and is characterized by a soft, downy surface formed by clipped yarns. The wrong side of the fabric is smooth and shows the weave employed. For suiting, velvet mainly applies to the smoking jacket. Velvet is an excellent option for formal occasions, but you should avoid it in the office. 

Man Wearing Tuxedo and Holding Two Glasses of Champagne on His Wedding
Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

4. Worsted

Worsted is made of a fine smooth yarn spun from combed long-staple wool. The difference between wool and worsted is that woolen fabrics are spun from short fibers, while worsted wool is made from long and fine ones. Compared to woolens, worsted wool fabrics are brushed in two directions with special brushes. Wool yarn differs in quality: it is bulky for woolen fabrics and smooth for worsteds. Worsted can be woven in a number of ways, producing flannel, tweed, gabardine, and fresco cloths.

Black Man Wearing Dark Brown Suit

5. Cashmere

Cashmere is known for being one of the softest fibers in the world. Its thin hairs mean that it can be woven into incredibly soft, luxurious garments. It also has a long-lasting quality, but it comes at a cost. Contrary to popular belief, cashmere doesn’t come from a sheep but from a particular goat called the cashmere goat. Although cashmere suits can be quite expensive, they will make you feel special due to the unique look and softness of the fabric.

Kent Handmade Plaid Cashmere Suit by Ralph Lauren
Kent Handmade Plaid Cashmere Suit by © Ralph Lauren

6. Cotton

To speak about it scientifically, according to Wikipedia, cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. 

Navy Blue Suit With Red Tie

Cotton has many advantages, such as its ability to control moisture, insulate, and provide comfort, and it is also hypoallergenic, weatherproof, and durable fabric. It is naturally absorbent and doesn’t show sweat stains as synthetics do. 

Cotton is the second most used fabric for suits (after wool). Suits made of cotton aren’t quite as light and breathable as linen, but they’re still suitable for summer. Cotton isn’t the softest fabric on the list, but it’s undoubtedly comfortable enough for most men.

7. Linen

Linen is a durable natural fiber derived from the flax plant. The finest linen comes from Europe – specifically from Belgium, where an optimal climate and rich soil allow for sturdy, beautiful flax. With Belgian linen, you’ll experience bedding with higher-quality fibers. 

Man Groom Wearing Light Blue Suit

Linen is one of the best choices for a summer suit. Its light and breathable texture allow you to feel comfortable in your suit – even if the temperatures are well above average. When it comes to occasions, linen suits can be worn to casual weddings, such as beach weddings, outdoor weddings, and daytime weddings. They work particularly well in the summer and keep you sweat-free and cool. However, linen suits cannot be worn to black-tie events, and I am not particularly recommending them for the office.

8. Polyester

At last, one of the most decisive fabrics on the market. Once again, to speak about it scientifically, polyester (polyethylene terephthalate) is derived from a chemical reaction involving petroleum, air, and water. This artificial fiber is comprised of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and monoterpene glycol (MEG). Polyester is thermoplastic, meaning it can be melted and reformed.

Polyester suits are not only cheap, but they also make you feel hot. They also don’t breathe very well, which makes for a very uncomfortable suit wearing experience. On top of that, they wear out quickly. So not only are they bad, but they’re really great in helping you to identify if you have a bad suit in front of you. In the short run, you maybe save a couple of bucks with a polyester suit, but in the long run, it doesn’t worth it. I don’t recommend polyester suits to anyone.

Final words

Suits are one of the most important purchases of a man. That’s why it can be an expensive investment. If you want to buy a great suit that will last a long time for you, look out for the things in the article and pick the right fabric for your need. Identify the season you plan to wear in, your body type, the level of comfort you are looking for and the price you’d like to spend on it. From there, you can’t go wrong.

And if you’ve finally found the perfect piece, check out the article below.

Keep on reading: How to Take Care of Your Suit: Top 9 Tools & Tips For Protecting Your Suit

FURTHER READING