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Fabric suggestions for the hot

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,


Novice to fabrics so would love to be pointed in the right direction. I have a naturally very high body temperature and find that I tend to overheat within minutes of wearing suit jackets. I expect if I had some nicer breathing fabric then it should help keep me cooler, however without knowing much about fabric I'm a bit stuck.


I've heard contradicting opinions about what types of fabric breath better, some recommend lighter weights while other recommend heavier weights with more open weaves. What do you guys suggest, does anyone have a link to a good place where I can start learning about fabrics and weaves, weights, etc...and lastly, could anyone with some experience recommend a particular brand collection or range I should start looking at for my next suit?



post #2 of 18

Hi Chich

Wool is cool and breathable, synthetics are not, so go for a 100% wool in a fine count maybe around 260g.

That will probably be around a Super 120s, 130s or 140s count or thickness.  The higher the count the finer the cloth.

A wool and mohair would be an excellent choice as you combine fineness with strength and greater crease-resistance. That makes it good for travel but also for every day office wear you will look more impeccable. 

If you really want something seriously cool, you could ask for a "tropical" , that is a very tightly spun wool that's a bit more open in the weave so ideal for very hot and humid places, ie the tropics !

But it might look a little incongruous in the Winter, whereas the fine wool or wool/mohair will look fine all year round.

It will be more difficult to find these more lightweight cloths in the stores at this time of year , in the Northern hemisphere as we are heading into Winter. Many of the suits now in store are 300-350g . The stores often have them in their stock rooms though for customers coming from Africa, Asia who need lighter counts all year round. Apologies if you are in US I don't know the oz equivalents for the European grammes.


If you can afford a full canvas or half canvas suit, as per the Savile Row tradition where the interlinings usually in cotton canvas are stitched in and move around as you move, rather than synthetic interlinings glued in with adhesive , this will also be a cooler suit for a hot body.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

hey westhill,


thanks for your reply and apologies for the lack of information.


so far i have three MTM suits (2 no brand super 150's, 1 Delfino super 130 or 150), all have silk lining. i notice the suits which are more of a snug fit tend to warm me up much, much quicker, however i'm one of those people who can stand outside in 5 degrees wearing a pair of shorts and singlet...just naturally run really hot.


with that in mind, i expect "tropical" fabrics will be ample heating for me in those winter months where here in OZ it's only as low as 5ish degrees as my other "year round" suits are unbearable after half an hour before i'm breaking out into sweats.


my tailors one of those hong kong fellas that seem to have every fabric under the sun and i'm planning my next suit to be something in the Dormeuil/H&S/Lesser quality can anyone suggest any nice collections i should look at?


...also this is going to be one of those "once a week" office suits to join the rotation. in that case is pure wool the suggested textile or some sort of blend?


cheers guys

post #4 of 18


I hadn't realised you were "down under" so where you are you are just going into Summer and should find a very good range to choose from.

All those mentioned brands are good, together with anything from the Biella region of Italy which is famous for fine wools and wool & kid mohair blends. Vitale Barberis Canonico is a good one in the medium high price range, Arguably the best is Loropiana who are also very expensive with the most luxurious cloths. From the UK a tight lightweight worsted from Taylor & Lodge or similar could be good, but avoid the much heavier woolens typical of Yorkshire. 

Considering you are looking for practicality a 260g 67% wool 23% mohair or similar should be on the money . Or the before mentioned Tropical wool , there are one or two in every good suppliers tailoring bunch..  

Some bunches also have "travel" or " voyager" cloths and these also tend to be very tightly twisted, lightweight and crumple resistant.


Of course for coolness in your Summer you could also consider 100% linen which is currently extremely fashionable, but you would need to love the crumpled effect that's completely characteristic of the fibre.  Some Italian mills also offer 100% cotton suitings too, again they will be cool but will crumple much more readily than a lightweight wool. 


A silk lining should be good, another breathable natural fibre, but insist to your tailor you want pure silk and not "silk-like" viscose, which is much more commonly seen in linings and will cling to your warm skin like a leech. 

post #5 of 18

Hi, I live in a tropical country. Really tropical. It is muggy everywhere and really really hot.  I don't wear a suit everyday, but for someone who lives in a tropical country, I would love to have a sturdy, breathable yet natural fabric suit. Therefore, cotton and linen are good option. Cotton and linen suit may not be traditional suit, but they are very comfortable in hot weather.  They are cheaper too compared to wool suit.


The only downside of cotton and linen suit is they can't resist wrinkle.  But natural wrinkles from cotton and linen suit look cool though. IMHO.  :D 

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

hey guys, thanks for both replies.


honestly i can't say that i've seen too many cotton or linen suits however the idea of it seems to put me off, so i suppose until i actually see one in the flesh, i wouldn't be courageous enough to order one MTM.


westhill - like i said i'm not very knowledgeable at all with fabrics so i really appreciate you explaining a few things. so from what i understand i should be looking for either a 9oz fabric which is either pure wool or a wool/mohair blend...or alternatively at any tropical classed range?


until recently i've been under the impression that italian brands were king of the hill, so i'm familiar with a fair few italian brands, however i've only recently seen that many regard english brands to actually be better quality, so unfortunately i'm not as familiar with those. i expect most mid-high range brands will be adequate for me as i wouldn't be able to tell the differences between the quality of the finer brands besides feeling the difference (which i wouldn't know anything about anyway).


considering i'm going to be wearing this suit on a weekly basis for work (office), is there anything in particular that i would want to stay away from (eg. super 150's or higher)?

for lining all my current suits are apparently pure silk, however i've read that bemberg is cooler due to having better breathing qualities. if this is the case, i expect it would be better for me to get this instead of silk. your thoughts?


thanks for the help guys, its much appreciated :)

post #7 of 18
If you're worried about heat why don't you look at a buggy lined suit?

I would look at a tropical wool with buggy lining in your situation. The breath ability of that open weave paired with the airflow allowed by taking out the lining should make for a nice cool wear.
post #8 of 18

Why not go buggy-lined and unstructured? Waaay cooler still.


I have a couple of cheap OTR linen/cotton blend suits which are only lined in the sleeves and across the back, and the only structure is very light shoulder work. They breathe well enough to cope with Brisbane conditions, and they're from Sportscraft of all places (the "Brixton"), so Myers and/or DJs should have them in stock if you want to have a play. They're cut surprisingly classically (low/proper buttoning point, enough length, acceptable lapel width), and they're 350 for the entire suit with some deal they've been running for years (in store and online). I've had one of mine for two years, and the pants still look like new once they've been pressed, they're pretty hard wearing!


But if you need something more formal (linen does like to "crinkle"), then you might want to look into Fresco as a fabric choice. It's an open weave wool; it's light like linen, but resists creases like a traditional suit. The only potential downside is that it looks a little "rustic", but i dig fabric with a little depth.



Edit: Ah, beaten to the punch re: buggy lining. :p

Edited by Cubits - 9/26/13 at 3:21am
post #9 of 18

Blackhood, if you have time to respond, is buggy lining advised for fresco or is it (fresco) too open-weaved and therefore there are transparency issues?  Also do you find it affects durability?

Edited by Balfour - 9/26/13 at 3:22am
post #10 of 18

This is a complex question. I too am from Oz - but in the tropics and travel extensively - and I too run hot. The reality is that no suit will wear comfortably at 28 degrees and over. I have experimented with suits made in Adelaide and HK - in various fabrics.

Here are my conclusions in rough summary for what they are worth.

Super ratings have nothing to do with coolness. That rating is about the gauge of the fibre. The higher the rating, the finer the fibre and the more fibres per square inch. That has nothing to say about how tight or loose the weave is and, accordingly, how breathable/cool it wears. I avoid Supers, and particularly anything over 120s because they have a fine "hand" (ie smooth) but poor durability.

If you really want cooler you need unlined, quarter lined or half-lined, but the more scant the lining the more the suit will tend to lose its shape over time (and the more expensive it will be because the tailor will have to finish exposed seams that would otherwise be covered by lining).

Frescos have an open weave and are relatively resistant to wrinkling. Best examples : Minnis and Smiths. Weight : 8-9 oz or 9-10 oz are generally the lightest. The heavier the weight the less the wrinkling, but the hotter it wears. There is always a trade off. Light weight frescos can also be a bit see through. And they have a slightly mottled look which reduces their "conservatism".

Tropical weight wools (not frescos) can be as light as 7 oz. See Rangoons, etc. Downside: they wrinkle more and are less durable. And in my experience even they don't overcome the 28 degree problem.

Cotton is not particularly cool. It is generally tightly woven. Wrinkles. Not suitable for a conservative business office environment. Can look good in the right context though.

I also think that linen is also overrated in terms of its "coolness" - at least in the climatic sense of the word. Also wrinkles and no good for the office environment unless you have decided to unleash your Graham Greene and embrace your status as the office artiste/eccentric. But it can also look killer in the right environment and in the right colour. Stone, tan, grey, tobacco, navy - depending on skin tone and occasion. White if you are Tom Wolfe or Morgan Freeman.

Blends: I've got a 60/40 linen/wool quarter-lined airforce blue blazer suit. (See Manton thread re blazer suit.) Nice compromise on wrinkling, coolness - but still doesn't beat the 28 degree rule. Also not quite CBD.

Mills/merchants: VBC is entirely acceptable in quality. You will generally find that aficionados tend to have a favourite - but in reality there is little difference between the quality purveyors. I prefer English for largely cultural reasons. Minnis for worsted, flannel and fresco (they invented it) - and only because I have a sentimental attachment to my first pieces. Like a footy fan. But others swear by Fox, Dugdales, Harrisons, LP, W Bill, whatever.

Regards Stiva
post #11 of 18
PS: The difference between the coolness of silk and bemberg linings when it is hot is minimal. And Frescos are only appreciably cooler when there is a breeze.
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by Balfour View Post

Blackhood, if you have time to respond, is buggy lining advised for fresco or is it (fresco) too open-weaved and therefore there are transparency issues?  Also do you find it affects durability?

Difficult question. In my experience it comes down to the colour of the cloth in question. I have no doubt that a black fresco over a white shirt will have transparency issues, but almost all fresco that I've made up have been in lighter shades; pale blues, mid greys. These colours don't have so much of an issue: I believe because the pale shirt showing through just blends in with the fabric in a way that wouldn't happen with black.

Also a lined suit will rarely have a lining in the exact colour of the wool; I see no real reason that a green silk lining would show through more than a light blue shirt. My advice would be to visit the tailor and see if he has a bolt of the stuff and lay it over your arm. If you can see through then don't buy it. With so many of these things the answer is "suck it and see". Don't forget that a buggy lining still does the sleeves and front of a jacket, so the only show-through would be in the shoulder blade area.

I would echo the post above in that cotton will not be any cooler than wool and will wrinkle almost as much as linen.
post #13 of 18

Thanks very much - very sensible.  


(I'm considering a navy fresco blazer / blazer suit, so it will be dark.)  

post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by Stiva View Post

PS: The difference between the coolness of silk and bemberg linings when it is hot is minimal. And Frescos are only appreciably cooler when there is a breeze.

I find silk linings runs warmer than bemberg, I tend to use ermazine to lined my summer suits and jackets.

For the op take a look at the H Lesser tropical bunch at around 8/9 oz. It tailors up very well for a light weight cloth.
post #15 of 18
Yeah, the navy might raise issues. It's worth saying that Bemberg linings aren't that bad and they have a better resilience to moisture. If you're hot enough to need a special suit then I'd suggest that silk might get sweaty enough to smell or even disintegrate after a few years. Ymmv of course, but I've never felt strongly enough towards silk to use it, Bemberg looks and feels just as good with a few advantages thrown in.
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