The non-wools

  • Linen - As a fabric goes, linen wrinkles quickly, stains, does not travel well, and is not a classic look. Be warned that your dry cleaning bills will be quintupled. It is not acceptable for a first suit.

  • Polyester - It doesn't wrinkle, but it also doesn't breathe. And it's just not natural. Polyester's okay in a blend with wool if you're trying to keep your costs down.

  • Microfiber - Just another word for polyester. It's not for you.

  • Teflon - Just another word for microfiber.

The wools

Wool is the fabric of choice for a good suit. It's natural, it breathes well, it's durable, and it's also very stylish. There are four main kinds of wool out there, as follows:

  • Tweed - Tweed is a very heavy wool fabric, popular in colder climates. Tweed is not the larger man's friend.

  • Flannel - The heaviest of the non-tweed, flannel is made corded wools. It's durable, very hard-wearing, and especially nice in a charcoal gray with classic pinstripes. However, most people wear flannel as pajamas or long underwear. For a suit, it might be a bit too hot in most office environments. While nice, it's not an ideal fabric for a first suit.

  • Tropical - This is usually a kind of wool crepe, which is a lightweight (usually light-colored) fabric. It's more of a summer weight; being lighter, it is also more susceptible to wrinkles, and therefore more frequent dry-cleaning. Also not an ideal fabric for a first suit.

  • Worsted - The worsted wools are your best bet for a first suit. These will be your gabardines or mid-weight corded wools. They are durable, hard-wearing, and usually fine for year-round wear. They can be a little lighter or heavier, depending on the weave, but consider them the mid-weights. Ask for them by name.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW buy a men's suit?