These Are the Best Fabrics for a Suit, According to Tailoring Experts


These, of course, are only the starting point for your journey into the suiting fabric universe. Choosing the fabric for your next jacket or suit means taking into account a textile’s source (both the raw materials and the mill), composition (is it 100% noble fiber or a poly blend?), and other factors like how much time, skill and care went into making it. Then there are more personal considerations like how you plan to wear it and how much money you want to spend. Here’s what some of the world’s foremost fabric experts have to say on the matter:

Keep It 100 (Percent Wool, That Is)

“The absolute first priority is to get rid of plastic,” says Geoffrey B. Small, whose eponymous label works with the top Italian mills to make some of the most exclusive (and expensive) tailored clothing on the planet. “That means no lycra, no comfort stretch and no types of petrochemical-based fibers in the fabric.” There are a few benefits to this, he says, but the most immediate one is simply how it feels against your skin. “A natural fiber fabric just feels better,” he adds. “It breathes, it’s comfortable, it doesn’t make you sweat and that’s something that anyone will understand the minute they try it on.”

Provenance Matters

“Over time you learn how something should drape, how it should be constructed, and that it’s made that way for a specific reason,” explains Michael Hill, the creative director of Drake’s in London. “We make suits out of a particular fresco wool from Dugdale Bros. & Co., for example, and it’s something they’ve been doing for 100 years. Somebody can copy it and it can look pretty good, but it can’t look as good and it can’t feel as good as the real thing.”

You Get What You Pay For

Good fabric isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the investment if you can afford it. In addition to giving your suit the right drape, feel and look, says Francesco Barberis Canonico, the creative director of the Vitale Barberis Canonico woolen mill in Northern Italy, a well-made fabric will last longer, too. “Sometimes fabrics, in order to be cheap, they put fewer yarns in it, and that makes the fabric less sound,” he says. “We start off with the best possible raw material and make the best possible yarn in order to achieve the best possible fabric. I tell my friends that, provided you use it properly and you look after it, a good suit should give you 20 years of pleasure.”

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