When does a 100% wool suit become a ‘super 100s wool’ suit? And aren’t they the same thing, anyway? While both promise a fabric that’s made completely from wool, only one points to the quality of the wool fibres and how the material actually feels.
Because the world of wool is one of the most specialised industries going, it comes with loads of technical terms. Super wool falls into this category and understanding how the grading system works for wool will help you choose a suit that ticks every box. Here’s what you need to know.
After a sheep has been shorn, its wool is looked at under a microscope to judge how thick the fibres are. Thickness is measured by microns – one micron is 1,000,000th of a metre – and super 100s wool has to be at least 18.5 microns.
Raw wool is graded based on this thickness – the finer the fibre, the higher the grade. Grades range from around 70 to 200, and anything above 100 is notably fine and smooth. Seriously high grades pushing the super 160s mark are ultra luxurious – but also much more rare with high price tags to match.
It’s easy to think you should look for the highest grade wools to get the best quality, but each grade has its plus points.
Medium grades between 70 to 90 are great quality but still robust enough to remain durable. If you wear a suit every day, those made from medium grade wool will stand the test of time. High grades between 100 to 120 are fine, soft and give a really polished look, but they do need a bit more care and attention than lower grades. Wear yours to impress at a client dinner, a party or on a date, but best not to risk it on the daily commute. Very high grades of anything above 130 are extremely fine, but they are much more delicate and likely to wear on pressure points like the knees and elbows. A suit this luxurious is going to need a good amount of TLC, so save it for when something extra special is required.
When you’ve gone all out with a super wool suit, you want to be able to wear it time and time again. And with the right care, there’s no reason why you can’t.