Why is wool the best material for a suit?

(Clothes and the Man: The Principles of Fine Men’s Dress – Alan Flusser)

There is only one immutable principle governing the selection of fine suit material: the cloth must be made from natural fibers. This means some type of fine worsted or woolen in the cooler periods of the year – worsted, flannel, gabardine, and so on – and in the summer, if not a tropical wool, then linen, cotton, or silk. There is absolutely no way a man can ever be considered well-dressed wearing a blended suit with more synthetic fibers than natural ones. These fabrics stand away from the body, stiffly retaining their own shape, rather than settling on the individual wearer. No matter how hard one tries, one’s suit will somehow always look artificial.

In addition to look and feel, there will be less maintenance required for a natural fiber suit. A fine wool suite rarely has to be dry cleaned. Because air can pass through it, the wool can “breathe” and damp odor from perspiration will readily evaporate. Wool yarn can also return to its original shape. If the trousers are hung from the cuff and the jacket hung on a properly curved hanger after a day’s wear, the suit will return to its original uncreased form by the following day.

Perhaps the most important compensation of wearing natural- fiber suite is the comfort one can enjoy having a fabric next to the skin that somewhat simulates its properties.

Natural materials have a soft, luxurious feeling. They act like a second skin, letting out perspiration and body heat when necessary and holding in warmth when it’s cold outside.

Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, are forms of plastic. They have no ability to “breathe.” In summer, these suits are hot, holding in the warmth of the body; in winter, they offer no protection from the cold. One can choose a suit with 3 to 5 percent nylon reinforcement, but any larger amount of synthetic fiber will being to undermine the natural material’s beneficial properties.

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