6 Summer Fabrics You Need to Know

6 Summer Fabrics You Need to Know

Quality & Construction

- not all fabrics are alike. Its ability to keep you cool and dry is dependent on the material’s quality, its weave, and the skill in which it’s made. The price you’re willing to pay determines its comfort level too. Weight matters here.

Look for …


- open weave: allows air to circulate, thus keeping you cool, rather than going with a tightly-woven fabric that traps heat

- fine fabric: lightweight gives a more comfortable and soft drape
- light colors: reflects light and heat better than darker colors
- natural fibers: cools better than synthetic fibers and looks better too

Linen

- comfortable and elegant
- durable material, capable of being easily cleaned
- linen naturally wrinkles, but that is part of its relaxed charm
- for the man of confidence & refinement
- good for suits & casual wear

- woven from fibers of flax plant
- has been around longer than civilization & may be oldest body covering
- woven into garments in ancient Egypt for centuries
- became main textile in Europe by the Middle Ages, even worn among the poor
- made into sheets, shrouds, napkins, towels, clothing (outerwear & underwear)
- By the 17th century, clean habits were introduced in the culture (cleaning & changing clothes)
- By the mid-18th century, fine linen shirting & underwear (called “small linen”) became an upper class standard, with wealth being measured by how often they could change their linens to clean ones

- Upper class could change their shirts more frequently because they owned more of them than the average man who had only a handful
- Irish, Belgian, and Italian linens were traditionally the most prized

- By the 19th century, good hygiene was valued. Men who could afford to, grew accustomed to changing their linens often and bathing regularly.
-Linen remains an art in Italy. White linens are a classic, but other tasteful colors like olive and navy are worn too. Black for the evening. Pastels are worn too.


Worsted Wool

- Super” cloths - developed in the second half of the 20th century
- much lighter and softer than its predecessors, yet still durable. Before this innovation, people wore suits that were heavy and stiff.
- since the 18th century, wool was the standard material for tailored garments
- wool has natural moisture-wicking properties. It absorbs water in excess of 30% of its weight and then releases it into the air.
- but not all fabric is the same. The best wool comes from merino sheep in Australia and New Zealand.
- when the wool is sheared from the sheep, they are sent to mills to be processed (fibers are stretched out and combed flat). Eventually, it’s woven into fabric for suiting.
- After determining its fineness, the wool is graded. Back in the day, its grade was determined by hand, but today, it's measured with more accuracy using an electron microscope. A fiber from the fleece is measured in microns (much finer than a human hair)
- the higher the super number, the finer the cloth. Some weigh less than eight ounces per yard, whereas before this technology became widespread, wool would weigh between 12 and twenty ounces per yard
- they are crease-resistant and drape well. They also keep you cool on a hot summer day

Fresco cloths


- a traditional worsted cloth that has been popular since the 1920s
- a great choice for summer. It’s a cloth who’s yarns have been twisted before being loosely woven
- crease-resistant and breathable
- can weigh as little as seven ounces and still be wrinkle-free
- great for your travel wardrobe


Cashmere

- Lightweight cashmere can weigh from 7.5 - 8.5 oz.
- It’s extraordinarily soft and the color shades look good when dyed, but it’s not very durable or wrinkle-resistant.
- It’s too delicate for trousers, but appropriate for sports jackets - special occasions only.
- Its fragility can be mitigated by blending it with other natural fibers like silk and wool. A blend like this would have the crease-resistance of wool, the low luster of silk, and the softness of cashmere.


Mohair

- Fleece from angora goats, specifically kid mohair (young goats) because it’s finer, softer, and has a lower sheen than that of mature goats, which have a rough hand. It’s prized for its luster.

- usually blended with merino wool, enhancing its softness and stretch (10-35% mohair is common, but it can go up from there)
- due to its stiff fibers, mohair is cool-wearing, durable, and wrinkle-resistant
- colors are deep and beautiful from aubergine to midnight blue
- Mohair is dressy—perfect for evening wear in the city


Silk

- Usually seen in neckties and known for its soft luster/shine
- The production of silk has a long and storied history dating back to Neolithic China about 5,000-6,000 years ago. It took until 130 BC for silk to finally arrive in the West via the Silk Road—trade routes set up between China and Greece.
- Once considered a rare luxury, silk is now in great supply. However, it is still valued for its incredibly soft hand and beauty
- Silk is almost always combined with linen and wool to add resiliency to the garment, while still retaining silk’s signature softness
- Sport coats and dinner jackets containing silk are a good choice, as well as silk shirts

 

Cotton

- has been cultivated for use in clothing since at least 6,000 BC and has played an important role in history 

- its durable, absorbent, widely available, and used in just about any article of clothing you can think of
- In general, cotton is great for warm weather, but its ability to cool is still largely determined by its weave. For example, a plain weave like poplin will always cool better than a twill weave, but nowhere near as well as a specialty weave designed for warmer weather. This means that your choice will depend not only on the style you’re going for, but also the local weather conditions. Choose wisely.

Seersucker


- a summer classic suit with alternating rough (puckered) and smooth stripes. This is achieved through a technique called slack-tension weaving.
- It’s naturally wrinkled
- Originating in India, the style became quite popular in the American South because it was a practical option for people who labored with their hands. But as the seersucker eventually moved north, it was quickly adopted by the upper class, which transformed it from a working class garment to something of a status symbol.
- striped in blue and white is the most common, but other color combinations are available with the alternating white stripe


 


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