Every man should own a wool suit.
There’s a good reason that it’s the most common fabric for suits; actually, there are several good reasons.
If you’re in the market for a new suit, don’t take any steps until you’ve learned why wool is the best material. Yes, even in summer.
So, indeed, wool suits may surprise you once you learn more about them.
How to Wear a Wool Suit: The Basics
Wool is a great natural fabric for suits as it origins from various animals, including sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas.
In addition, the fabric is highly durable and looks extremely elegant, making these types of suits highly desirable and costworthy.
It’s also a great thermo-insulator, making wool suits perfect to wear in winter and cold weather.
You can wear a wool suit in summer, too; you just need the right type of wool. But more on that later.
Otherwise, the standard suit basics apply when wearing a wool suit.
It’s important not to overlook the importance of the fit of your suit. It must fit you flawlessly for you to look your absolute best.
Ensure that there isn’t any area that sags or droops in your suit and that all hemlines are exactly where they are meant to be.
A suit that’s even slightly off will throw off your very carefully cultivated style.
Best Colors for a Wool Suit
Wool takes dye very easily, so wool suits are available in a wide range of colors.
However, the most popular wool suits tend to be navy or grey; they look very professional and are the most formal shades.
Your wool suit looks its best with the right dress shirt, so take care when choosing the color you pair it with.
For example, a dark navy or charcoal grey suit requires a dress shirt that’s the most formal and looks impeccable, like white.
But lighter colors aren’t unusual for wool suits. Because you can get such lightweight wool, it’s common to find summer shades, too.
Grey suits come in a wide spectrum, so both medium and light-grey can be great colors for a wool suit as well.
Blue wool suits are very trendy, too, especially for daytime events. Brown suits are also quite popular.
If you intend to wear a wool suit for a daytime summer wedding, you might want to look into tan or khaki. Both are great-looking colors and can emerge extremely stylish.
How to Match & Wear a Wool Suit with Other Attire
Wool suits tend to appear more formal than suits of other fabrics.
Therefore, take care to match the tone of your suit with appropriate accessories.
Let the suit’s formality dictate your choices for how you wear it; play up the elegance and sophistication of wool.
Pair it with a Dress Shirt
Because wool is a dressy material, a white dress shirt is always your best choice for your suit.
It looks very professional and conservative, and nobody can ever look bad in this style.
However, pale shades of pink or blue are very common choices, as well.
Consider a dress shirt with subtle stripes if you’re looking for a business-casual style. But if you want to make your suit even more informal, wear a printed or checkered shirt.
You can play around with color choices, but remember to keep either the colors or the prints subtle. If both are too bold, you will risk looking too flashy.
Your dress shirt should not have a breast pocket if you want to keep your look formal.
Remember, you can create multiple looks and styles with just one wool suit and many different dress shirts.
In addition, you want your dress shirt to be breathable, especially if you are wearing heavily weighted wool.
Cotton is the best dress shirt fabric choice for year-round because it’s soft. However, poplin or twill are excellent alternatives as well.
Picking the Right Tie & Pocket Square
A solid color tie is the dressiest option. It looks sober and conservative; you want to stick with the most respectful choice in many situations.
Satin is a beautiful material to contrast against a wool suit. The shiny fabric stands out but without being garish.
If that feels too formal for your event, a wool or cotton tie can be just as effective. They are matte fabrics, so they feel less formal.
Add a pocket square for some extra flair, but be sure that it complements your tie.
The print on your fabric can have a little dash of the same color as your tie, for example, but should never perfectly match. That only looks bland and unimaginative.
Shoes for Wool Suit
To match the formal feel of your wool suit, you should choose a formal dress shoe in most instances.
For example, a black or brown leather Oxford or derby shoe looks very polished with a wool suit.
Remember to base the color of your shoe on the color of your suit, and be sure all your other leather accessories are the same shade.
If you want a more laid-back appearance, you can consider brogues or monk straps with your wool suit.
However, the adjustment in your shoe choice makes your wools suit more of a business casual or even smart casual style.
How to Wear a Wool Suit for Summer
Sadly, you can’t just run around in a pair of weather-appropriate shorts all summer long.
You still need to put on your suit for the office and for the many summer weddings you’re probably going to need to attend.
Wool may sound like a terrible choice for the summer, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be!
With the correct type of wool fabric, you can have a summer suit that is perfectly comfortable and not unbearably hot.
Choose Lightweight Wool
The surprising part about wool suits is that wool may possibly be your best choice for a summer fabric.
In lightweight wool material, the wool fibers aren’t tightly pressed together. This allows air to circulate freely through the suit fabric.
Furthermore, if your suit is unlined or even only partially lined, that will help to keep your suit somewhat cooler.
So, look for something with a loose weave when suit shopping for summer.
Hopsack wool suits are the best choice for summer since the material helps regulate body temperature.
Another option will be the plain, open weave fresco wool. This fabric is super-breathable and airy enough to feel even a small breeze.
And you can rest assured that any type of lightweight wool you pick won’t wrinkle as quickly as many other summer materials, like linen.
Pick Lighter Colors
Light colors like blue, tan, or light grey always seem to make the most sense in the summer.
They reflect the sunlight off you so that you aren’t soaking in and absorbing all the heat.
Besides, lighter suit colors look cooler and match the cheery outside summer weather. Don’t you feel hot just looking at somebody wearing a dark suit?
So why not go for something bright and festive, like khaki?
Pair a lighter color suit with white or pink shirts to create a festive feeling for a summer wedding.
What are the Benefits of Wearing a Wool Suit?
If you choose a lightweight wool fabric, you will likely feel comfortable in it all day long.
In addition, you won’t overheat because the fibers breathe, and it will still insulate you in the cold winter months.
Wool is an ideal suit material because it isn’t an absorbent material. So how does this help your suit?
As you leave it hanging in your closet, whether for a week or several months, it won’t take on the moisture in the air.
Even if your space is more humid than most, your suit won’t accumulate mold or mildew.
And since wool is a natural fabric, you won’t find any of the harsh chemicals used to produce synthetic materials.
Your skin will thank you when you aren’t exposing it to irritants. Nobody wants to wear a suit that may give them a rash.
Plus, wool is softer than most synthetic fabrics. It also drapes very nicely.
This is super helpful when you have your suit custom-made. It means that your tailor can get precise measurements and cut your suit to fit you perfectly.
And finally, wool is just a beautiful material. It’s tremendously versatile in style and color.
It looks elegant in most cuts and colors, so you can always find a wool suit that will flatter you.
Different Types of Wool Suits
It’s forgivable to believe that wool is a heavy and warm fabric, only suitable to wear in cold weather.
After all, it is the fabric that we use the most in those winter months.
But wool is the number one suit fabric because of its versatility. You can wear wool all year long, just not the same type of wool.
So, it’s fair to assume that certain types of wool are appropriate for summer and warmer days as well!
That’s because each wool has a different characteristic that makes it appropriate for a specific season.
Merino Wool Suit
Merino comes from the fleece of Merino sheep and has been used for centuries.
It is a very soft wool, making it a perfect material for wearing all day long because it’s so comfortable.
Merino is year-round wool; it’s warm in winter but won’t cause you to overheat in summer.
In addition, it’s a reasonably affordable material, especially considering that it will last a long time with proper care.
Cashmere Wool Suit
Cashmere is known as a luxury material. This is because it’s famous for being unbelievably soft and is quite warm.
Cashmere is such a warm material because it’s highly insulating, making it ideal for winter months.
Unsurprisingly, cashmere suits are very expensive.
Fresco Wool Suit
Fresco is an open weave, high-twist wool fabric that is impeccably comfortable (for wool) and lightweight..
The high twist structure makes for the fabric’s rough feel.
It is also wrinkle-resistant, making it great for wearing for a higher amount of hours.
Because of the open weave, fresco suits can be lightweight if the fabric is thick and the jacket has no lining, which is great for hot summer days.
Alpaca Wool Suit
Alpaca fabric, naturally, comes from alpacas, which are often mistaken for llamas.
Alpaca is very close to cashmere in that it’s impeccably soft and delicate.
The difference with alpaca wool is that it can be spun to make it either heavy or lightweight.
It’s a rare fabric for a suit, but it makes an excellent choice.
Flannel Wool Suit
You might picture a lumberjack when you hear the word flannel, but flannel can be so much more than that!
Flannel isn’t a specific type of wool coming from any one animal. Instead, it refers to the weaving process.
Therefore, flannel isn’t only made from wool, but other natural fibers can also be subjected to flannel weaving.
Flannel is loosely woven, so it’s fluffy and warm. The downside is that the flannel is prone to shrinking.
Stretch Wool Suit
Yes, this suit has some elasticity, so it isn’t 100% wool. It is mostly wool, though.
Stretch wool is more durable than your average fabric because the fibers don’t break easily.
They are so forgiving that they can take a lot more abuse than most other material.
However, stretch wool requires high maintenance to keep it in decent shape.
Difference Between Woolen vs. Worsted Wool Suits
The difference between these two types of wool is all about the fibers.
With woolen fabric, the individual fibers that make up the whole material are both short and long, instead of all the same length.
In addition, they are all spun together in no particular direction, so they lie every way.
This results in a rather stiff and scratchy feeling fabric.
Worsted wool is radically different from woolen. All the fibers are the same length, and they’re long.
When these long fibers are spun, they all face the same direction.
The result this time is a soft and smooth material that’s much more pleasing to wear than a woolen.
Most men’s suits are worsted wool.
How is Wool Classified by Numbers
You may have heard terms referring to the wool fabric as “super 120” or “the super 100s.” But have you ever wondered what that means?
Contrary to what most people believe, these numbers don’t refer to the thread count of the wool.
Instead, it’s a sign of how fine the wool is. Premium wool has a higher super number.
The number tells you how many hanks of wool you can spin from one pound of raw wool.
So when the super number is higher, you get more hanks of wool per pound, meaning that the more hanks you get, the finer the wool is.
You don’t necessarily want the highest super number possible because that material can be incredibly fragile.
Instead, aim for a suit made from wool that’s super 120-140.
Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.