A guide to super wool - The Inside Pocket

 

Everything you need to know about super wool.

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.

 

 

WHAT IS SUPER WOOL?

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.

 

 

WHICH WOOL GRADE IS BEST TO WEAR WHEN?

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.

  • GO EASY ON THE DRY CLEANING – between one and three times a year is enough for a super wool suit because the chemicals will deteriorate the fibres over time. Try waiting until there’s a stain on it.
  • INVEST IN A GENTLE WOOL BRUSH – lightly brushing down your suit after you’ve worn it will help you keep it spotless between visits to the dry cleaners.
  • AIR AFTER WEAR – this will help keep it smelling fresh in between washes.
  • USE BIG CEDAR HANGERS – the wood will absorb moisture from the suit after you’ve worn it and the robust width will support the shoulders to help it keep its shape.
  • STORE IN A BAG – as it’s such a top quality natural wool, some insects will find it very tempting. A bag should help keep them at bay. Cedar blocks can also help, but avoid mothballs unless you want to smell like one.