A suit is the universal symbol for business attire. Sleek, smart, and sophisticated, there are so many styles of suits and suiting that it can be hard to find the right one for you. From wool to velvet, let’s take a look at the different suiting fabrics out there so you can dress like the powerful business persona you admire.
Not all suitings are created equally. Some are ideal for business meetings and heading to work, while others are better for high–end parties or cocktails with an associate. It’s important to know the difference between a leisure suit and a business suit, so you don’t end up looking casual at your next job interview or too stiff at the annual holiday party.
When you think of a business suit, you’re most likely imagining a black suit made of wool over a crisp and clean button up and a snazzy tie. There’s a reason wool comes to mind, as it’s the most popular of the suiting fabrics. Not only is wool versatile and easy to work with, but it also has a breathability that other fabrics do not. This makes it perfect for hot days at the office or chilly morning commutes. Wool is also soft and wrinkle resistant, which will keep you professional looking on the outside, even if you don’t feel it on the inside. Although most wool is good for three seasons of wear (fall, winter, spring), tropical wool is lighter and can be worn into the summer months comfortably.
Cashmere, whether it’s 100% authentic or a blend, is synonymous with luxury. It’s warm, shiny, and oh so soft. That being said, it is a little more delicate than other fabrics. Because of this, cashmere suiting is better off being used for specific occasions, like an important business meeting or for cold weather, especially if you work in a chilly office. A cashmere suit would also make a beautiful leisure suit.
Linen is lightweight and lovely. It’s very breathable, something you’d want to wear in the summer. Unfortunately, linen is prone to creases and will stain easily, so this is a fabric you’d want to wear to the company picnic, but not to work. This is not an everyday fabric unless you like going to the dry cleaners on a weekly basis. It is the ideal fabric for a summer leisure suit, whether you’re heading to after dinner drinks or going to brunch with some coworkers.
Cotton seems to be the best of both worlds. Durable, breathable, and soft, it’s a flexible fabric that’s easy to work with and isn’t too delicate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the luxurious or professional look of wool and creases easily like linen. Although a cotton suit might work well in the summer for an easy day at the office, I wouldn’t recommend it for important meetings or dinner with business associates. What is nice about cotton, is it can come in a variety of prints and patterns, making it ideal for leisure suits that won’t break the bank.
Like wool, silk is breathable, while also able to retain the body’s heat. This makes it perfect for warm or cool conditions, as it will keep you comfortable all day. Unlike wool, silk is one the most expensive fabrics, so a silk blend might be a better choice. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious leisure suit or impressive business attire, silk suiting is the way to go.
Velvet, like silk and cashmere, are seen as very luxurious. Thanks to fabrics like velour and rayon blends, it’s a fabric that can look high end without costing a fortune. Although breathable and mostly wrinkle resistant, this isn’t a fabric you want to go to work in. Velvet suiting is best for dinner party jackets or leisure suits, ideal for meeting some friends at a hookah lounge or going to an office party.
Polyester may bring vivid images of seventies bell bottoms into mind, but it’s actually a great choice for those in need of professional business attire at a lower cost. It’s man–made, machine washable, and sometimes features a lovely sheen on the face. Polyester is quite strong and resists creasing, shrinking, stretching, mildew, and abrasion. Whether you’re looking for a tailored business suit or a relaxed leisure suit, polyester suiting has got you covered, literally.
Tweed can be made up of a variety of different fibers, all of which make it durable and comfortable. Cotton or wool tweed features short fibers for a more tactile appearance, while polyester tweed has a more ruffled, homespun style. A favorite of Chanel, tweed is an excellent option of a high-end looking suit that stands out while staying professional. Whether you’re looking for a straight-up suit or a skirt suit, tweed is ideal for your business attire needs.
Make something of yourself in a suit made of any of these fabrics. If you’re looking for a professional business suit, stick with wool, polyester, or tweed, or even cashmere in the winter. For a leisure suit or semi-professional look, all of these fabrics would be perfect!
What suit will you be making, and where will you be wearing it? Also, enjoy our full suiting infographic below!