Guide to Suit Fabric Types, Patterns and When to Wear them

Why Wear Suits?

Suits are a must have for every gentleman. I have often head guys saying they don't like suits. Truth is you don't need to like suits, you rather need to wear suits every now and then. Before I unriddle suit fabric types and patterns let's see why you need to wear suits;

  • Suits make you look smart. Whether your intelligence is near zero, people tend to perceive and describe you as smart and charismatic based on your suiting attire trait.
  • Suits boots your confidence. They say when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good your confidence is hyped and that goes a long way to determine how the rest of your day goes.
  • Suits portray gentlemanliness in you. You may be a jerk or whatever but your appearance in suit completely presents you as a Mister nice guy and give you the sir title.
  • Suits open doors. You will be easily granted audience when you appear dressed in suits than any other attire. Even older folks will offer you their seat on a public bus or train, bouncers or security guards will take it easy on you simply because you appear in suit, unfairness huh? Keep on buying red bottom sneakers while I'm stocking my wardrobe with more suits :).
  • Suits makes you look expensive for less. I am not saying suits are cheap rather. All I can assure you is that suits imposes your presence without noticeable designer brands and command the respect and recognition which is farfetched to a t-shirt and sneakers guy.

Suits should be thought as making new best friends. You first must know its qualities and learn everything about it until you have reached friendship. It is said one must always research when it comes to buying a mattress as it tends to last around 10 years, think of your suit of the same way. This is because they are supposed to last you a good amount of time and you don’t want to be reminded of a bad decision every time you put it on.

Dapper men know their suits, that’s even a qualification to being one. To know how to identify high-quality suits, which fabrics work together and which pattern should be used, you must have a certain knowledge of it. If not your outfit can be composed by extremely expensive designers’ garments that don’t work in perfect harmony together. Keep reading, as I think it’s time I break the basics of suiting; fabric types and pattern to you, my readers.

 

Suit Fabrics and When to Wear Them

When it comes to the type of suit fabrics, you must choose based on the occasion and weather condition you intend to wear it. Choose lighter weight materials if you tend to perspire a lot and heavier if you intend to wear it mostly at winter. This type of discernment must come from within according to the determined use and one’s conditions.

 

1.    Wool Fabric Suits

Wool is to suits as Scotch is to liquor, you can never go wrong in a finely tailored wool suits. If your wardrobe hasn't got a pair of wool suits, I'm afraid to tell you are NOT a dapper man. Wool is a breathable and moth-proof fabric that resist time. This fabric can be found in a big variety of weights, meaning you get to pick a lighter weight one if you usually feel too warm and sweat a lot, and the opposite if you mostly feel cold. Wool has an upside which is associated to luxury signature and aesthetics. The downside being they can cost a home monthly mortgage in Washington DC. Another downside is that they must be taken drycleaner for cleaning (additional costs) and the finer and lighter ones must not be worn too often. Wool suits usually have a higher price range than others, but it’s worth it. Wool is often qualified with the Super xxx's keyword which can go up to Super 200's. Many people belief a higher number commands a better quality but that's not true.

Demystifying the Super xxx Myth

It's important to understand the distinction between the terms associated with wool fineness before purchasing a good suit. ‘Super 110s’ signifies fabric that's moderately fine and spun entirely from wool. A number without the ‘super’ prefix means the suit is made of wool blended with other composites (elastane%, polyester% etc.), even though the fineness requirements are the same. Worthy of note is that due to its weight-to-fineness origins, this measurement is completely different from the thread count used to qualify the fineness of other fabrics, like cotton. The modern range of wool used in good suits ranges from Super 100s to Super 150s, with lower fineness grades being practically unheard of. Higher grades exist, though, and they command skyrocketed prices. Hence before you look at the suits label, remember the finer the fabric, the higher the price and the lighter the wool and the lesser its durability (Watch out for the crotch area disentanglement in less than no time:).

 

2.    Polyester Fabric Suits

The man-made fabric is the one most suits are made of. This suit is the best option in cases you don’t have to wear it on a daily basis, as it isn’t a breathable material, meaning it can get really hot. It’s resistance to time is good, just like wool, being a mothproof material. As a dapper man, it is ok to buy a suit with some polyester in the mixture, but not a 100% one, as this type of suits just looks like a bad quality product, due to its lightweight and shiny appearance. With polyester, you basically get what you pay for, which is usually on a cheaper scale.

 

3.    Cotton Fabric Suits

Cotton is one of the best options of suits there are, the material is breathable and once properly tailored it looks not only comfortable but elegant. It can be found in both lightweight and heavier ones, but the material is mostly a summer staple, as there are more appropriate ones for colder days. This fabric is appropriate to either casual or semi-formal events, making it one of the most versatile. Plus, it is the best option for separate pieces wear, as a well-tailored one can be used all throughout summer not paired. A big pro when it comes to this kind of suits is the material is not stretchy, so you must look around a little bit more to find a well fitted one. Cotton suits are best looking in light color, so leave the darker duty to the wool suits.

 

4.    Linen Fabric Suits

Linen is summer's best friend. Linen’s breathable material makes it just like cotton, a great looking comfortable summer staple. The fabric is great for most casual events and can be found mostly in traditional colors. The material can be used in formal events, but do give preference to daylight ones. The biggest con of this material is how much it tends to wrinkle, so you must be extra careful not to look slobby. If your wardrobe hasn't got a pair of linen apparel please get one ASAP. Connaisseur Paris is a place to look for a couple.

 

5.    Corduroy Fabric Suits

The material used in most “winter at an ivy league school” type of movies and TV shows and also in “boarding school in the UK” ones. This heavyweight fabric is mostly used on the winter season and you most likely won’t see someone sporting a full Corduroy suit because of the material weight. The fabric is a tough one to pull off, as it can easily make you appear older within’ seconds, if not worn properly. As it is a soft material, caution must be taken at all times to avoid it looking slobby. To go with it, you may need to get the Chelsea boots out of your closet, but we all know how much you love having the opportunity to wear them out anyway.

 

6.    Velvet Fabric Suits

Definitely not an everyday wear suit, velvet suits are best suited for winter, as the high-quality ones will be made of a heavier material. This casual wear suit can look great just as it could end up looking cheap and inelegant depending on the situation. The best time to wear it would be when you are hosting a party or at occasions such as new years’ eve, but you may be able to get more use out of it if you use its separate pieces, but remember not to wear it out when it’s snowing or raining as the fabric will be ruined, probably to a point of no return.

 

7.    Tweed Fabric Suits

One of the poshest materials a suit can be made of. You may think of Sherlock Holmes outfits when you think of tweed suits. Tweed fabric market has grown exponentially to derivatives that fit every taste so you don’t have to associate it to the naphthalene smell on old men who were wearing it at the movies by your side. Get over this trauma by researching the modern ones, because once you fall in love with it, you won’t even remember it was the first black and white silent movie you ever watched, and how you never did it ever since. For the cold months, pair it with a nice and warm cashmere sweater for the ultimate look, and for a vintage feel, light up a tobacco pipe in front of a fireplace with nice classical music playing in the background.

Suit Patterns

When it comes to a suit pattern it is always a good idea to not go over board, as they may be fun for a while, but once the thrill dies down you will be left with a way too over the top suit that will most likely sit in your closet forever due to its limited use.

 

1.    Prince of Wales Pattern (Glen Plaid)

Also known as Glen plaid, this pattern is a formal one that is not plain nor is it overwhelming, it’s just right. It is made of a few large and small checkers made of 2 light colors and 2 dark colors lines. Light colors are preferred for daylight use, but its use is not restricted.

 

2.    Stripes

Stripes are the most accepted of patterns. There are many patterns of stripes but the most popular are pinstripe and chalk stripe. 

Pinstriped suits, particularly navy, can showcase a dapper elegant look. Pinstripes are very narrow and are most often white or grey. Wearing colored pinstripes are only recommended for casual events because they portray a casual look. Endeavor to make sure the stripes on your suit match from top to bottom to look decent especially if you had to alter the suits or trousers to fit perfectly- that might alter the stripe pattern especially if the alteration was done by an amateur tailor.

Chalk stripe pattern on the other hand is made of a large solid color stripes followed by a chalk looking strip (usually in white) and so on. This is a classy and elegant pattern that can be worn at dinner parties at full and formal events (trousers only). The cut is just as important as the quality of the material as if the lines don’t match perfectly in it, the look just won’t end up nice. Variety of stripped suits available at Connaisseur Paris.

 

3.    Windowpane

Check Pattern Named after the window squared pattern, this bold fabric is made up of tiny grids put together meticulously. The multiple lines when well-tailored make the suit become a look of its own, This pattern is making a comeback recently and to not look like a big Christmas ornament out on the streets, make sure to pair it with smaller patterns suck as strips.

 

4.    Houndstooth

The pattern resembles checkers but isn’t, is actually made of a very specific geometric figure that needs a really good tailoring not to look messy and confusing, being mostly used during the cold months as it is made out of wool. From a relatively large distance you can badly tell there is a pattern, but to those who want the pattern to be well noticed, there are larger scales designs, but they aren’t as used. It is an easy way to make your outfit look more thought out and stylish, especially if you choose the ones with a bolder color mix, such as red or blue. This fabric pattern is very suitable for evening jackets.

 

 

5.    Herringbone

The fish spine looking pattern is a perfect match to every gentleman, the pattern is made out of intercalated rows giving it a visual movement very distinct. The scales in this pattern vary to badly able to be seen to very “in your face”, used by fashionable men worldwide.

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6.    Birdseye

The dotted pattern is known as a conservative look. Its simple pattern makes up for a simple touch of style when used instead of a plain suit. To tone it down, even more, pair the suit jacket with plain colored pants and a pair of lowtop leather sneakers.

 

7.        Floral Pattern


The floral patterned suits have been becoming each time more casual. Big brands such as Gucci have been heavily investing in the floral pattern to this summer season. A few of the Golden rules when wearing one is to allow the floral to be the statement piece of the outfit by not adding different patterns to the mix. Need a floral pattern sport coat or evening wear? You know where to look

 

 

8.      Paisley Pattern


The pattern is known for its curved teardrop shape. This ornamental figure is the one to choose if you want to get attention, as even in its most normal form it still stands out. With this pattern, keep in mind the most colorful the most fun your outfit will look. For elegance points, using the same color as the suit print is the best idea. Checkout Connaisseur Paris Paisley options. 

 

 

9.        Polka Dot Pattern


Having been one of the staple patterns of the 60’s, this pattern is always fun to use because of its vintage feel. Being usable year around polka dot patterns are always a good investment. If you aim to use it for semi-formal events, go for smaller dots, as the bigger the dots, the more casual this pattern gets.

 

 

10. Tartan

This fabric pattern consist of crisscrossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is composed of bands of colored threads woven in visible diagonal lines where different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines called sett. In America tartan patterns are commonly referred to as Plaid but in Scotland, plaid represent an incorporation. Burberry for example is recognized by the Scottish Tartan Authority (WR1239) as an authorized brand.

 

 

11.       Plaid

Traditionally, Plaid meant a specific type of garment worn by the Scottish people as a shield against cold during harsh winters. The word plaid is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word Plaide, which means blanket.

Nowadays, the term Plaid refers to patterns inspired by original traditional tartan patterns, and the term tartan now refers to a specific type of plaid. Plaid replaced Tartan once the patterns became popular with British and American textile manufacturers who would recreate fabrics inspired by crossed horizontal and vertical bands in two or more colors. The main difference between traditional tartans and other types of plaids has to do with the pattern's repeat. In regard to plaids, the pattern of the vertical stripe does not necessarily have to match the pattern of the horizontal stripe like tartan patterns. Plaids have many variations of band width, repeat and/or color.

 

 

12.      Gingham 

Even though it looks like plaid, gingham is woven cotton or linen fabric that is mostly often consist of symmetrical, overlapping stripes of the same color that creating a checkered pattern. The main difference between gingham and plaid is simply the symmetry and single color.

Conclusion

Contemporary fashion has tons of suit fabric styles (virgin and blends) and patterns. Illustrated above are just a handful of the most popular. These patterns can be very confusing at times and the wit of a fashion and style enthusiast to pullout the best dapper looks. Also note that expensive designer suits don't necessarily mean that expensive fabrics are used, you may be either paying for the design (in very few cases) or for the name of the designer. Reach out if you need help with shopping, styling or just recommendations for your dapper looks in the appropriate fabrics.

Still in not very clear? check the dress code etiquette article or reach out via the Contact Us form below.

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9 Comments
  1. Another great article and very insightful read. Reading this piece brings back memories of what seemed at the time as the same type suit patterns, little did we know at the time it’s variances. 

      1. You can' go wrong with a well fitted suit. Personally, great suits enhances my ability to think confidently and changes my thought process for the better. when I think of a well tailored suit, I think of more confidence, great ideas, creating long lasting impressions, living the best at the moment etc… it takes a #dappermaniac# to relate/recognize such priceless feelings. Your writing was on point

         

  2. This is amazing! Detailed and very educative.The way you dress definitely tells alot about you. This article will definitely help people pass out the right message at the right time, it'll also help us realise that wearing a suit isn't being overdressed as people have come to think,especially if you know what is suitable for you to wear! Beautiful piece.

  3.  

    Properly elucidated . Clothing and accessories can stereotype a person, giving off the illusion Of who they aren’t . However society has assented this and we can’t change it . Just like glasses can make a dull witted individual look quick witted so can a suit make jerk look like a gentleman . Love it Ballack Le Tendancier

  4. Well put sir, well put!  The way we dress affects the way we think, the way we feel, the way we act and the way others react to us. Personally putting on a beautifully designed and fitted suits elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self and with no words, help define me as a man to whom details matter. And in such moments I enjoy a sense of tranquillity that not even my religion can bestow. That's why I never frown with a suit on… #rinklefree

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