Italian wool, worsted wool, tweed wool … There’s only so many different types of wool, but there are many different types of way the wool is constructed. Typically, suits are often made of some type of wool. Sometimes, suits are made of cotton or linen for really specific types of weather, but mostly suits are given their more charming characteristics based on the form of wool used to construct it. So, you must be wondering then… what’s the difference between worsted wool and Italian wool? Which wool is best to wear for which occasion? An even more important question is why is wool such an important material in suiting, anyway?
Wool is special in that it can be made in several different ways to give the suit different characteristics all within a reasonable price range, but sometimes certain wool options have different types of perks. Suits can be constructed with soft, fine wool, but the suit’s durability would decrease to compensate for the luxury of the material. The opposite happens too in which suits can be made with thicker wool which keeps it shape, allows for more color ways, and ultimately lasts longer.
Here’s a short-hand list of some common wool types that are great for your suit and wallet:
Worsted Wool - The best balance of price, durability, and feel. Worsted wool is soft, can withstand wear, and is a lightweight material that is great year round. It is made with fine threads of wool that is woven in such a way that the fibers lie parallel, giving you the best combination of softness and luxury without being too expensive.
Wool Flannel - Is both climate-strong and comfortable. Wool flannel is loosely spun; it remains both soft and warm, and is perfect for fall and lighter winters. Suits made in wool flannel will be mildly heavier than its worsted wool cousin and is typically a little more expensive, but when looking for a suit to keep you warm wool flannel is your best bet.
Wool Tweed - The heaviest of wools! The Irish and Scottish love their tweed because it keeps them warm even when they’re participating in outdoor activities like hunting or shooting. Suits made of tweed are moisture-resistant and durable, so it’ll even protect you from snowy weather. Tweed is woven in a twill pattern (herringbone, houndstooth, etc.) which not only gives it texture, but also allows for plenty of color.
Wool Cashmere - The most luxurious of wools (so they say). Cashmere is obtained from goats instead of sheep, unlike other wools, and is the finest and softest of wool materials without sacrificing too much durability. Cashmere drapes elegantly and doesn’t easily crease, but it does tend to be the most expensive of wools.
Kipper proposes that proper maintenance of your suits, no matter what material they are, will give them longer life spans. So, as long as you practice proper suit care you can definitely treat yourself with more luxurious materials. Come into Kipper Clothiers and see which wool is best for you!