Wool is my go-to for custom suits, sport coats and trousers. It’s an amazing fabric that technology is making even better.
If you’ve shopped for quality clothing you’ve probably heard the term “Super Number”. In simple terms, it defines the quality of wool based on the thickness of each fiber. Today, some wool fibers can be as thin as 14 microns or even smaller (the thinnest human hair is about 20 microns).
Super Numbers start at 80 and go to 250. When worsted wool is twisted in the production process the Super Number is the number of times the fibers are twisted. The more the fibers are twisted the finer and smoother the final fabric becomes.
So, here is what to take away:
- Higher Super Numbers produce finer fabrics. Super 250 fabric is some of the best in the world. The “hand” is amazing, which results in a suit or sport coat that hangs beautifully. No surprise, higher numbers come with higher prices.
- Lower Super Numbers are more durable (assuming normal use). A lower number does not mean poor quality. Their durability makes them an excellent choice for men who are either 1) rough on their clothes in general, or 2) in jobs that have them moving a lot (e.g. sales). These fabrics are much less expensive.
There are other considerations in choosing fabric, such as breathability. The kind of fabric a man in Miami Beach might wear is likely very different than a man in Minneapolis. The good news is wool breathes very well in general.
While a Super Number doesn’t represent every component of a wool fabric, it is the best way we have today to demonstrate differences.
We generally recommend fabrics in the 120-160 range. They are soft and durable.