Wool is one of the most common fabrics used to made men’s suits. 100% wool suits have been around for over a century, and during that time, they’ve only become more popular. Whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality wool suit. They are soft, comfortable, hypoallergenic — meaning they won’t cause allergic skin reactions — and even durable. But not all wool suits are made of the same type of wool. There are actually several different types of wool in which men’s suits are made, each of which has unique characteristics.
#1) Cashmere Wool
Cashmere wool is a type of premium wool that’s harvested specifically from cashmere goats. You won’t find cashmere goats just anywhere. Rather, they are native to the mountainous Himalayan region of Kashmir, India. Here, these goats are prized for their incredibly soft fur, which is harvested for use in cashmere wool suits. What makes cashmere wool better than regular wool exactly? Well, aside from being softer, cashmere wool is incredibly warm. In fact, research shows cashmere wool is about three times more insulating than regular wool, making cashmere wool suits especially useful during the cooler parts of the year.
#2) Flannel Wool
In addition to cashmere wool, flannel wool is often used to make men’s suits. Upon hearing the term “flannel wool,” many people assume it’s a unique type of wool. The truth, however, is that flannel wool is just regular sheep wool featuring a unique flannel weaving. Flannel weaving can be used on more than just wool. It’s also used on cotton, linen and other fabrics. If a suit or garment is labeled “flannel,” it means it features a flannel weaving.
Flannel weaving is considered a loose weaving, meaning it creates a somewhat fluffy texture. This offers both advantages and disadvantages when used to make men’s suits. With its loose weaving, flannel wool suits are typically warmer than traditional wool suits. On the other hand, however, they are more susceptible to shrinkage when washed and dried. Of course, you can protect your flannel wool suit from shrinkage by having it dry cleaned. If you attempt to clean your flannel wool suit by running it through the washing machine and dryer, it may shrink. But dry cleaning is a gentler and safer way to clean flannel wool garments, including suits, to protect them from shrinkage.
#3) Merino Wool
You’ll also find men’s suits made of Merino wool. What is Merino wool exactly? Like cashmere wool, it’s a unique type of wool that’s harvested from a specific species of sheep. Merino wool, as you may have guessed, comes from Merino sheep. According to Wikipedia, a Saxon Merino sheep produces about 6 to 12 pounds of Merino wool per year, whereas a Peppin Merino sheep can produce up to 40 pounds of Merino wool per year.
Merino wool is an excellent choice of fabric for a men’s suit because of its fine, soft texture. Merino sheep produce some of the world’s finest and softest wool. It’s difficult to describe the fineness and softness of Merino wool without feeling it firsthand. With that said, most men will agree that Merino wool suits are among the softest suits on the planet. And because they are so soft, you can rest assured knowing that they won’t cause discomfort or irritation when worn for long periods of time.
#4) Angora Wool
We can’t talk about common types of wool in which men’s suits are made without mentioning Angora wool. Angora wool differs from other types of wool in the sense that it doesn’t come from sheep. Instead, it comes from a breed of domesticated rabbits know as the Angora rabbit. The Angora rabbit is native to Turkey where they are raised for their soft fur. In terms of softness, Angora wool is similar to Cashmere wool. The highest-quality Cashmere wool has a softness of about 14 microns. In comparison, Angora wool has a softness of about 14 to 16 microns.
Angora wool is often compared to silk, as both fabrics are incredibly soft and supple. As a result, Angora wool suits are a popular choice among men. Whether you’re going to work, a wedding, a graduation, a black-tie party or any other formal event, you should consider wearing an Angora wool suit.
#5) Alpaca Wool
While not as common as the other types of wool listed here, some men’s suits are made of alpaca wool. Alpaca wool is essentially the soft fur that’s harvested from alpacas. It can be either light or heavy depending on the way in which it’s spun. When used in the production of men’s suits, however, alpaca wool is almost always spun so that it’s soft.
Alpaca wool has been harvested and used for thousands of years. Research shows some of the world’s first domesticated alpacas occurred in South America. Even today, alpacas are prized for their versatile fur, which is now used to make men’s suits.
#6) Stretch Wool
Finally, stretch wool is a unique type of wool that’s characterized by the use of an elastic fabric. In other words, stretch wool suits aren’t made strictly of wool. They are also made of at least one other elastic fabric. The Stretch Wool Jacket sold here at StudioSuits, for example is made of 60% wool, 38% polyester and 2% Lycra. Therefore, it’s comprised primarily of wool, but it also contains the elastic fabrics polyester and Lycra. These elastic fabrics are responsible for making wool suits more elastic. As a result, they can stretch without breaking or otherwise sustaining damage.
Stretch wool suits require greater care than other types of wool suits. But as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, a high-quality stretch wool suit can last for years or even decades.
Now that you know some of the most common types of wool in which men’s suits are made, you might be wondering which one is best. Well, each type of wool offers its own unique advantages, so no single type is better than the rest.