Most of our clients make what seems like a logical connection—in warmer weather, the suit fabric should be lighter in weight. They are only partially correct. While weight is an important factor in creating a fabric for warmer temperatures, just as important is the weave and the wool quality used to create the fabric.
In our industry, when we call a fabric a “tropical”, we are referring to its weave, not its weight. A tropical weave (or “plain” weave) is a simple open weave, which allows body heat to escape and the outside air to cool the body. This drawing represents a close-up of a tropical weave.
Tropicals run from 7 ounces per yard to 10 ounces per yard. At the heavier end of the spectrum, the fabric would be suitable for year-round wear, at the lighter end, strictly for Spring and Summer. What affects the weight is the quality of the wool used to weave the cloth. The finer the wool, the lighter the weight. Keep in mind that the tropical weave is not very substantial and if the wool is too fine, the fabric will look limp and puckered.
The alternative to a tropical is a twill weave. Not as simple in construction as the plain weave, twills generally range in weight from 8 ounces to 14 ounces per yard. Obviously, the higher end of the spectrum is for Fall and Winter. As before, the wool quality is the major factor in lowering the weight of the twill. So, in order to have a twill which is suitable for year-round wear, the wool must at least be Super 110’s (18.5 micron). A twill weave in a fine wool will have more luster because it is more tightly woven than a tropical.
So you can buy an 8 oz tropical or an 8 oz twill at Saint Laurie Merchant Tailors.
Which one is right for you?
Choose the tropical if you need to wear your suits in hot weather and you can afford to buy other suits for other times of the year. Choose the twill, if you want a dressier look or to wear the suit most of the year. However, like so many things in life, it will be a compromise.
At Kozinn+Sons, we will show you which fabrics are plain weaves and which ones are twills. We will also show you samples of each made up in a finished garment. (I dare you to try asking the salesperson at a high end men's store to show you the differences!)
Whichever weave you choose, the result will be beautifully made and a suit you will be proud to wear.
That’s the Kozinn + Sons way!