Spotlight on… summer cloths
As I mentioned in last week’s post, there are 5 ways to keep cool in your suit this summer. The most significant factor, however, will always be the cloth you choose, and that’s what I’d like to focus on today.
When tailor’s talk about cloth they will usually talk in ounces per square yard (this industry is hundreds of years old – don’t expect us to go metric this side of the 21st century!). A medium weight cloth is 10-12oz, a winter weight is 13+oz and a summer weight cloth weighs 7-9oz. Anything lighter than 7oz and the cloth is too lightweight to make a suit from, and will look and feel more like a shirt cloth. Jake and I once had fluorescent orange and blue morning suits made from shirt cloths. They looked fantastic but they didn’t hold their shape past a few parties!
Different cloths perform in different ways. Below I focus on 6 of the most popular lightweight cloths that we recommend. Please note that we offer others priced both higher and lower than these 6. But these are our most popular:
This is a very diverse range of cloths that are ideal for summer wear. These are high performance cloths that have a great handle (ie a smooth, soft finish) and offer outstanding value for money. £550 for a bespoke suit in a such a high quality cloth simply cannot be beaten.
At the £599 mark you enter the realms of Holland & Sherry who are generally considered the best clothmakers in the world. Based on Savile Row and Peebles in Scotland, H&S have been at the forefront of the cloth world since 1837. Cool breeze is a brand new range. Introduced as a summer weight complement to their hugely successful Intercity range (12oz), Cool Breeze is hugely popular at King & Allen because it offers a taster of the quality and luxury of Holland & Sherry without breaking the bank.
From £699 Holland & Sherry’s cloths start to get technologically clever. Typically lightweight cloths crease over the course of the day. This is a fact of life with most off the peg and low quality lightweight cloths. The solution, however, is high twist yarns.
A high twist yarn is spun in a very sophisticated way. Without getting too technical, it is twisted more tightly on the weft (from left to right) than the warp (from top to bottom). This gives the cloth more spring and ensures that it falls back into shape rather than creasing.
Crispaire performs in a similar way to Cape Horn HT in that (as the name suggests!), the cloth holds it’s shape extremely well despite repeated wear. This cloth is therefore ideal for the traveller who needs to wear his suit for a few days in a row without it looking creased, and for the wedding guest who wants to looks as sharp at midnight as he did at 10am!
The main difference between Crispaire and Cape Horn HT is the handle. Cape horn has a soft, smooth handle. Crispaire is razor sharp, creating a suit with clean crisp lines.
Mohair is the only suit cloth we will show you that doesn’t come from a sheep. Mohair comes from a goat, and Kid Mohair (being younger) is the softest and highest quality. Weighing in at just 7oz, it would seem impossible to create a cloth that didn’t crease even with high twist technology. But Mohair performs completely differently to wool and can hold its shape even at these light weights. Mohair has a very distinct finish. It is dry and crisp like Crispaire but whereas the former is matt, Mohair has a slightly reflective finish, creating a subtle shimmer to the suit that can be extremely striking.
This is not strictly speaking a popular cloth because it is, in a word, expensive (price on request) but I wanted to mention it because it is such a remarkable cloth. Dragonfly is a stunning range of lightweight cloths which has a unique quality in that liquid simply runs off it. So if you’re particularly accident prone and want the ultimate indestructible suit do get in touch. We’d love to show you what this cloth is capable of.
Loyalty – we love Holland & Sherry’s cloths and are proud to promote them and them alone. They reward us generously for our loyalty in the best way they can – discount!