Material & fabrics
Would I better choose 100% wool, linen and cotton – or a mix?
When it comes to material I’m not sure that I can give a simple answer to what the best choice is but I sure can give you a straight answer: It depends.
100% natural fibres like cotton, linen, wool or a blend of these are seldom wrong. Natural materials breathe and have a nice feeling to your skin. Pure cotton is probably the most popular material. The longer the fibres, the better the quality.
If you choose a really good quality of 100% wool it’s probably quite durable as well. But if you plan to use it every day at the office I would either choose a wool blend or simply take off my jacket while sitting at the desk to avoid the arms being well-worn quite fast.
A mix will be more durable and sometimes retain shape better. It is all about the physical make of the fibres – nylon doesn’t stretch nearly as much and will return to the original shape unlike wool, the fibres are finer with no nap so it is impossible to felt itself together, and nylon is indisputably more durable and abrasion-resistant than wool so a blended item will be harder-wearing than 100% wool.
So, a wool blend can definitely be the number 1 choice for many occasions. Some people find 100% wool to be scratchy on their skin, so I’m sure they would appreciate blends.
But yet – if you want the best – the choice is certainly and unquestionable a 100% cashmere or merino wool.
Linen is very lightweight and it is truly a fantastic material; it actually keeps you cold when it’s hot out and warm when it’s cold. But it is absolutely the number 1 summer material. I wouldn’t go for linen when it’s too cold. Linen should be worn wrinkled. But if you have been sitting at a hot office desk all day the trousers can be a little too wrinkled. But that wouldn’t be a complete disaster though!
100% cotton is undeniably the most popular shirt material. It breathes and doesn’t get to hot. A cotton mix takes advantage of the qualities of both the natural cotton and the synthetic fibres in terms of durability and more. Modern synthetic fibres like viscose breathes and feels silky similar to cotton.
A linen shirt in the summer is one of the most stylish things you can wear in the summer. No matter how hot is gets, you will feel and look like a stylish and trendy gentleman. Even in jeans.
On the subject of wool, one should keep in mind that a lighter fabric with a higher Super number is not a guarantee of a better fabric, it just indicates that the fibres have a thinner diameter. Nor does it provide any information about the particular weave or how heavy the fabric is.
Some people believe that a lighter fabric wears cooler and thus is more comfortable than a heavier fabric, but such generalizations are simply wrong. A heavy, open weave fabric generally feels much cooler and comfortable on a hot day than a tightly woven, lightweight super 150 fabric. Furthermore, the lining and canvas of a jacket has a tremendous impact.
Cotton fabrics come in infinite qualities, colours, fabrics and textures. Even weaves. I would argue that a Twill, Spun, Silky or even Herringbone weave would work for most occasions including formal and business, whereas weaves like Oxford and Fil-a-fil better suits a more casual look for free time.
Wrinkle resistant, wrinkle free and easy iron. You gotta love them. No matter who irons your shirts, they look more ironed and sophisticated. But as with every benefit there is a downside. They have been chemically treated and in some cases, it impacts the durability. But in normal circumstances is simply doesn’t matter. There are plenty of high quality easy iron fabrics that have better durability than traditional cotton fabrics.
Of all advice, I would absolutely claim that the washing is most important. Follow the washing instructions and wash carefully, rinse and hang the garment properly. Use modern detergent products and don’t overdose. Always iron delicate fabrics, inside out on a low temperature setting. Use a press cloth such as a clean pillow case. For some fabrics, e.g. wool, use steam or press with a slightly damp cloth, using light pressure and you will have a suit or shirt that maintains shape and colours for a long time.
Finally- if you have a suit or a shirt tailor made – I would suggest choosing a good quality of material and fabric.