Well, good things don’t often last. Although in terms of what passed for this year’s summer, there wasn’t all that much good to talk about really, which at least means the slow slide into autumn is less perceptible.
But yes, with October nigh, it is time to think about cooler weather attire again - overcoats and pullovers, boots, hats and scarves - and perhaps a new suit to get you through to spring?
If you are of a mind to spruce up your autumn/winter wardrobe with a new addition, then one of the most important things to consider is your choice of fabric. And here you are in luck because, in our opinion at least, some of the heavier, thicker fabrics which are ideal for a warm winter suit are some of the best available to tailor with full stop.
Here’s the lowdown on some of our favourite fabrics for keeping you toasty on the inside while you look ice cool on the outside.
Given the wind and rain-swept island that we live on - and with particular reference to the prevailing climate of the northern hill country that we are proud to call our home - it’s no surprise British cloth-making heritage has leaned towards producing fabrics big on warmth and insulation. And certainly until cotton started being imported in mass quantities in the 18th Century, most of the focus was on finding innovative new ways to spin a yarn out of sheep’s wool.
One of these products, worsted, was a major contributor to the mill economy that drove the industrial revolution in the northern towns. Tightly woven, scoured smooth and highly durable, worsted retains the insulating, water-repelling properties of wool, while losing the fluffy fuzziness of the ‘woollens’ we use to make, for example, wooly jumpers. It remains an absolute staple of bespoke suit-making.
Think rugged, outdoorsy style condensed into a smart suit and many of us will automatically conjure up images of tweed. Thankfully now shorn of its fusty, old-fashioned image, younger generations are rediscovering tweed’s robust, no-nonsense charms. Like worsted, tweed is made from wool, which again gives it its insulating, water-resistant properties. Tweed is made by taking woollen yarn of three different colours which are then “twilled”, a special weaving process which leaves a distinctive, textured surface pattern on the fabric. Tweed is a heavy cloth, so makes for an excellent suit option when temperatures really start to drop.
Herringbone can be considered a close relative of tweed because it is made using a technique very similar to twilling, using yarn of at least two different colours, to make a very dense, heavy, tightly-woven fabric that is therefore very warm. The key difference between tweed and herringbone is that the latter creates a very distinctive V-shaped pattern which is named because of its supposed resemblance to herring bones. Again, much of the appeal of herringbone is in its texture, making for a suit that looks and feels as if it belongs in rugged, weather-beaten environments.
If rugged and weather-worn isn’t your thing, but you’d still like a winter suit that is big on warmth and insulation, then mohair is the way to go. The famous cloth spun from the coat of the Angora goat is prized for its super-soft texture, which rivals the feel of ultra-fine wools such as cashmere or merino. However, where mohair trumps both of these is its strength and durability, which makes it much more suitable for outer garments like trousers and jackets. It is also a much lighter fabric than the likes of tweed or herringbone without sacrificing anything in terms of insulation, so you can stay warm without feeling so weighed down.
Hopefully that has inspired you to put a new winter suit right at the top of your priority list, so why not get in touch today so we can get you booked in and measured up.