• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Does anyone like ordinary worsted wool anymore?

sellahi22

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
675
Reaction score
17
It's been a slow week at work so I've been brainstorming my next suit commissions. From what I've been reading on SF and LL, it seems like the everyone is always talking about flannel, tweed, fresco, and linen. Worsted wool is conspicuously neglected from the discussions.

Personally, I'm in the process of replacing a RTW wardrobe with a bespoke one, and I have little interest in venturing into seasonal fabrics until I have a rock solid foundation of worsteds. Here are some reasons:

- Seasonal limitations. In a four-season city like NYC, a seasonal fabric is good for 3 months and perhaps adequate for another 3 months. Unless it's freezing or boiling, respectively, the thought of wearing a sweaty flannel suit or porous fresco is rather unappealing. A mid-weight worsted suit, on the other hand, is good for most of the year. In the winter, you can throw on a warm overcoat and be sorted. There are a few weeks in the summer when it gets uncomfortable, but how much of your wardrobe budget do you want to invest on alleviating a few weeks of discomfort? Not to mention that we spend most of our time sitting in our offices, where it is pretty much always slightly too toasty in the winter and too chilly in the summer.

- Variety. By restricting yourself to 3 or 6 month cloths, you reduce your available suits at any given time by 50% or 75%. If your job requires business attire, this means either that you need at least 15 suits (5 cold weather, 5 hot weather, 5 shoulder season). Even then, despite having a rather large suit collection, you are limited to 5 patterns at any given time. For each season, you will need the basics, so this limits you from branching out to some esoteric designs (POW, stripes, etc) that you might want for occasional use, but not for a core rotation.

- Durability. Flannels and frescos are known to be rather delicate cloths. A tightly woven worsted in a decent weight, on the other hand, is something that you can abuse, or at least throw on and forget about.

- Versatility. I admit that the flannels I've seen on SF/LL have a rustic charm, and the frescos have an appealing breezy summery look, but let's be real - we mostly wear suits to work and to formal occasions (dinners, parties, etc). What worsted wool lacks in charm it makes up for in sobriety, lack of pretense/fussiness, and ability to be dressed up or down, all of which are probably more optimal for the situations where we actually wear our suits.

Agree/disagree?
 

Maccimus

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
1,051
Reaction score
199
People here don't like it simply because most OTRs are in worsted wool?
 

academe

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
1,872
Reaction score
229
I like my worsted suits very much... However, because I'm an academic and don't often have to wear anything more formal than an odd jacket to work, I have been leaning towards commissioning more patterned flannels and tweeds... I also live and work in what one could loosely describe as "the country", in Scotland where even modernised 16th to 19th century buildings are a bit chilly in winter... Hence, heavier and less breathable fabrics suit...
 

sellahi22

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
675
Reaction score
17
Originally Posted by Maccimus
People here don't like it simply because most OTRs are in worsted wool?

Could be, maybe people don't think they're getting their bespoke bang-for-the-buck with a boring worsted. That said, its pretty rare to find RTW in mid weight or heavy worsted.

Originally Posted by academe
I like my worsted suits very much... However, because I'm an academic and don't often have to wear anything more formal than an odd jacket to work, I have been leaning towards commissioning more patterned flannels and tweeds... I also live and work in what one could loosely describe as "the country", in Scotland where even modernised 16th to 19th century buildings are a bit chilly in winter... Hence, heavier and less breathable fabrics suit...

This is fair enough. My post was aimed at people who live in four-season climates and who work conventional office jobs.
 

Don Carlos

In Time Out
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
7,527
Reaction score
25
Originally Posted by sellahi22
Could be, maybe people don't think they're getting their bespoke bang-for-the-buck with a boring worsted. That said, its pretty rare to find RTW in mid weight or heavy worsted.
It's getting harder and harder to find RTW suits in anything thicker than tissue paper, frankly. All this obsession with Super numbers has breached the walls of absurdity.
 

lasbar

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
26,133
Reaction score
1,644
Originally Posted by Don Carlos
It's getting harder and harder to find RTW suits in anything thicker than tissue paper, frankly. All this obsession with Super numbers has breached the walls of absurdity.

Very true...

The fabrics are so light nowadays...

Even great tailoring houses are offering some super 160 to their clientele...

Strange...
 

amplifiedheat

Distinguished Member
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
1,419
Reaction score
8
I suppose a twill worsted, or a subtle herringbone, has all the sobriety of a plain worsted with a little more surface interest. And, when you go back, the blue serge suit was the unquestioned standard.

I think the other factor here is, as people have more or less suggested. that most guys who are going bespoke already have a pretty good blue suit, and want something more exciting. That said, there's an undeniable logic to having one really perfect navy suit.
 

Don Carlos

In Time Out
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
7,527
Reaction score
25
Originally Posted by amplifiedheat
I suppose a twill worsted, or a subtle herringbone, has all the sobriety of a plain worsted with a little more surface interest. And, when you go back, the blue serge suit was the unquestioned standard.

I think the other factor here is, as people have more or less suggested. that most guys who are going bespoke already have a pretty good blue suit, and want something more exciting. That said, there's an undeniable logic to having one really perfect navy suit.


Absolutely.

My first bespoke suit was a plain, conservative, navy worsted. Notch lapels, 2B, and basically no bells or whistles other than a perfect fit. I have no regrets, and to this day, it remains my favorite suit.
 

sellahi22

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
675
Reaction score
17
Originally Posted by amplifiedheat
I suppose a twill worsted, or a subtle herringbone, has all the sobriety of a plain worsted with a little more surface interest. And, when you go back, the blue serge suit was the unquestioned standard.

I think the other factor here is, as people have more or less suggested. that most guys who are going bespoke already have a pretty good blue suit, and want something more exciting. That said, there's an undeniable logic to having one really perfect navy suit.


By worsted I wasn't just talking about plain weaves. I would include twill, sharkskin, herringbone, birdseye, nailhead, hopsack, etc. in the definition. Apologies for my amateurish sartorial vocabulary.

I guess what I was saying is that if you're a professional living in a 4-season climate, then an additional worsted usually makes more sense than an additional seasonal fabric, for the reasons I described in the OP. It doesn't matter if it's the same color, a new color, or a new shade/weave/pattern.
 

academe

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
1,872
Reaction score
229
It's also possible that SF and LL are non-representative samples... Whenever I've visited the workshops of either of my two bespoke tailors, most of what I see being made-up are usually worsteds. It could be that the most vocal posters on the forums have developed their interests away from worsteds, hence the enthusiasm for other fabrics...Worsteds are usually what you make-up first; if you've been bespeaking clothes for some time and have all the basic worsteds covered, then moving on to tweeds, flannels, etc. seems a natural progression...
Originally Posted by sellahi22
It's been a slow week at work so I've been brainstorming my next suit commissions. From what I've been reading on SF and LL, it seems like the everyone is always talking about flannel, tweed, fresco, and linen. Worsted wool is conspicuously neglected from the discussions. Personally, I'm in the process of replacing a RTW wardrobe with a bespoke one, and I have little interest in venturing into seasonal fabrics until I have a rock solid foundation of worsteds. Here are some reasons: - Seasonal limitations. In a four-season city like NYC, a seasonal fabric is good for 3 months and perhaps adequate for another 3 months. Unless it's freezing or boiling, respectively, the thought of wearing a sweaty flannel suit or porous fresco is rather unappealing. A mid-weight worsted suit, on the other hand, is good for most of the year. In the winter, you can throw on a warm overcoat and be sorted. There are a few weeks in the summer when it gets uncomfortable, but how much of your wardrobe budget do you want to invest on alleviating a few weeks of discomfort? Not to mention that we spend most of our time sitting in our offices, where it is pretty much always slightly too toasty in the winter and too chilly in the summer. - Variety. By restricting yourself to 3 or 6 month cloths, you reduce your available suits at any given time by 50% or 75%. If your job requires business attire, this means either that you need at least 15 suits (5 cold weather, 5 hot weather, 5 shoulder season). Even then, despite having a rather large suit collection, you are limited to 5 patterns at any given time. For each season, you will need the basics, so this limits you from branching out to some esoteric designs (POW, stripes, etc) that you might want for occasional use, but not for a core rotation. - Durability. Flannels and frescos are known to be rather delicate cloths. A tightly woven worsted in a decent weight, on the other hand, is something that you can abuse, or at least throw on and forget about. - Versatility. I admit that the flannels I've seen on SF/LL have a rustic charm, and the frescos have an appealing breezy summery look, but let's be real - we mostly wear suits to work and to formal occasions (dinners, parties, etc). What worsted wool lacks in charm it makes up for in sobriety, lack of pretense/fussiness, and ability to be dressed up or down, all of which are probably more optimal for the situations where we actually wear our suits. Agree/disagree?
 

Michael Ay329

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
1,585
Reaction score
53
Lightweight gaberdine wool in 370grams (12.5oz) is an alternative to worsted wool

Dark Grey flannel in a mid-weight 15-16.5oz is a great suit for many months of the year except when snow falls or gals are wearing bikinis
 

Matt S

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
923
Reaction score
15
Originally Posted by Michael Ay329
Lightweight gaberdine wool in 370grams (12.5oz) is an alternative to worsted wool

Dark Grey flannel in a mid-weight 15-16.5oz is a great suit for many months of the year except when snow falls or gals are wearing bikinis


Gabardine is made of worsted fibres. And I don't see why a Dark Grey 15-16.5 oz flannel wouldn't be fine for the coldest days of winter.
 

dasai

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2010
Messages
379
Reaction score
5
It seems to me that the "bias" against worsted wool on the forum comes from two things: First, a lot of the people who are going for flannel, fresco, tweed, et al., already have plain worsted suits in navy and grey, so the basics are covered. After that, they're free to experiment with whatever fabrics and cuts suit their fancy and budget. Second, people on SF shy away from worsted odd jackets and trousers because the association of worsted with suits makes such items look like orphaned suit items rather than garments of their own (unless the patterns are really bold, in which case a different fabric would probably suit them better anyhow).

That's my take on the matter, anyway.
 

SpallaCamiccia

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
2,364
Reaction score
4
Originally Posted by Don Carlos
It's getting harder and harder to find RTW suits in anything thicker than tissue paper, frankly. All this obsession with Super numbers has breached the walls of absurdity.

I like it, but impossible to find on Spain.
I love striped flannels and 40´s fashion.
 

Featured Sponsor

What's your favorite pair of shoes to wear with jeans? (Choose two)

  • Boots (Chelsea, Chukkas, Balmorals, etc.)

  • Loafers

  • Work boots (Red Wing, Wolverine, etc.)

  • Monk strap shoes

  • Oxford / Derby shoes

  • Sneakers


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
427,173
Messages
9,193,591
Members
193,086
Latest member
linardi168

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top