Wool Suit Guide | How To Choose The Perfect Woolen Suit

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Woolen Suits should be a staple in every dapper gentleman’s wardrobe. In this detailed guide, we cover the appeal of wool, characteristics of wool as a fabric, how one should dress according to season, and style tips when strutting your woolen suit!

If you are looking to dress to the nines, few articles of clothing attest to timeless appeal like a woolen suit. Whether you are dressing up for a high stakes business meeting or looking to dress with aplomb to that all important, next wedding reception, a well fitted, high quality woolen suit can elevate your style game and have you dressing above your contemporaries. However, choosing a woolen suit requires more than just a discerning eye for aesthetic appeal. It demands a comprehensive understanding of fabric, fit and fashion. In this detailed guide, we aim to navigate the complexities of selecting that perfect woolen suit, ensuring that you stand out in style the next time you step out!

Woolen Suit

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

The contemporary woolen suit, as we know it, can be traced back to the beginning of the 19th century, with Beau Brummell’s revolutionary approach to menswear. Beau Brummell’s strong advocacy of wool for its tailored, refined appearance over the shinier, more flamboyant silk and satin counterparts marked a key turning point in clothing history!

History Of Woolen Suit

A longing for suits of yesteryear! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

The evolution of the woolen suit reflects not only changes in fashion but also the enduring appeal of the fabric as a highly versatile, luxurious material capable of conveying status, style and most importantly, a discernable sense of individuality.

Worsted Wool vs Standard Wool

Worsted is a higher quality type of woolen yarn, that was named after the smaller English village of Worsted in Norfolk County – a manufacturing hub during the 21st century. The key defining characteristic of worsted wool is that it is comprised of straight, parallel longer woolen fibers with little space in between them. However, if you’ve ever seen a clump of wool, you know that it is anything but straight!

Woolen Fabric Composition

Courtesy of www.lanieri.com

Well, firstly, that piece of clumped wool consists of both shorter and longer woolen fibers. In order to make the shorter woolen fibers align with the longer pieces, so that it can all be spun into a yarn, these woolen clumps are first carded – a process that will help disentangle the woolen fibers. The wool is then combed to remove the shorter little fibers – which can be used for more coarse textile applications such as manufacturing of sweaters or heavier woolen jackets such as tweed!

Moreover, Worsted Wool is typically woven into a twill or plain weave pattern, with twill weaves tending to be stronger.

Differentiating between finer, worsted wool and regular wool can be succinctly summarized as:

Worsted: Stronger, finer and smoother, indicative of finer quality suit fabrics.

Regular Wool: Fuzzier and less smooth, indicating coarser fabrics, such as those used in sweaters or for tweed / heavier jackets.

Woolen Suit Super Count

We often hear the term ‘super count’ thrown around in reference to woolen fabrics. So what exactly does this indicate? Super numbers represent the fineness of worsted wool fibers used in the fabric. The higher the super number e.g 100, 120, 150, 180, the finer the woolen threads are.

Technically, the super count refers to the number of 560 yard hanks of wool that can be spun into 1 lb. Hence, a super count of 100 indicates that 100 x 560 yard hanks of wool can be spun into 1 lb. If a higher number of hanks, such as 120, 150 or 180 can be spun, it means that each successive number is being spun using finer and finer woolen fibers – resulting in more hanks being spun.

While a higher super count indicates a finer fiber, all else being equal, it does not necessarily equate to a better fabric given the season, occasion or circumstances one is dressing up for. While a higher super number indicates a finer thread which can create a smoother and lighter fabric, durability can decrease, making these suits constructed of finer woolen fibers more vulnerable to daily wear & tear. 

We hope we have clearly highlighted that a higher super count is not necessarily indicative of a better suit – it simply indicates that the fibers that were used were thinner. Similarly, the super number doesn’t provide any further information about the weave or heaviness of the fabric.

Super Count & Seasonality

As a general rule of thumb, higher super count suits are best suited towards warmer months,all else being equal, and lower super count suits are better suited for colder months, given that the fibers are heavier.

Woolen Suit Summer Wear

Higher super count suits, constructed of finer fibers, make for ideal summer wear given that they are lighter! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

However, a lower super count suit with an open weave could be more warm weather appropriate than a higher super count suit with a tighter, closed weave – with the open weave providing more breathability, and less insulation, leading to a cooler fabric.

Fabric heaviness, in addition to fabric weave, should be another differentiating factor when evaluating suiting fabrics. For example, a heavier fabric, such as tweed, will provide more insulation than a lighter weight, lower super count worsted wool suit.

Super Count Summary:

  • Lower super count suits work best for daily work wear. Lower super count suits are generally sturdier, as the fabric diameter is thicker, leading to stronger durability
  • Higher super count suits, given the fineness of the fabrics, are best reserved for important occasions or important business meetings!
  • Use your ultra super high count suits, such as your super 180’s, for the finest of occasions, such as a black tie event.
  • Whether you are strutting a higher or lower super count, fit should be the most important consideration. As with all things style related – fit should always be the most important consideration!

 Wool Suits For Winter Months

Lower super count suits work best during winter months, given their heavier fabric fibers – as mentioned above, a lower super count means less hanks of wool could be spun, resulting in a thicker fabric fibers! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Silk Ties | Ties | Neckties | Extra Long Ties

Characteristics & Structure Of Woolen Suits

So what is it that makes woolen suits so desirable? Here are a few key characteristics:

  • The natural properties of woolen fabric afford it the ability to help regulate body temperature effectively, making it a highly versatile fabric. This breathability factor ensures comfort over long periods of wear – something that is absolutely essential for a professional that is constantly on the move!
  • As mentioned above, woolen suits are highly durable & versatile. Wool’s inherently strong fibers and free movement with recovery properties results in a fabric that should stand the test of time.
  • Wool is naturally absorbent, and as such, can hold up to approximately 30% of its weight in water before it starts to feel heavy! Incidentally, at the turn of last century, full wool dresses were often used as bathing costumes! These moisture wicking properties of wool ensure that your suit will never really feel too heavy. Additionally, the breathability of woolen fabric means that it will dry faster than polyester or even cotton.
  • Moreover, wool is an ideal fabric for tailoring! Under the use of an iron, wool can be shaped to almost anything, making it ideal for structured garments. Over time, these tailored garments mold to your body and natural movement, helping effectively create another layer of tailoring.
  • Woolen suits are relatively easy to maintain and take care of. Wool as a fabric is naturally odor resistant, stain resistant and wrinkle resistant.

Wool Fabric Breathability

The breathability of woolen fabrics makes it an ideal choice for suit construction! Courtesy of www.propercloth.com

Different Types Of Woolen Suits – Merino etc

While searching for that seemingly elusive perfect woolen suit fabric will yield a wide range of choices, merino wool stands alone in its exceptionalism. Merino wool is derived from its namesake’s sheep in Australia & New Zealand, in extreme weather conditions.

Merino Wool Suit

Merino Wool Suits – some of the finest the market has to offer! Courtesy of www.asos.com

So what is it that makes Merino Wool so highly coveted versus other woolen suiting fabrics?

  • Merino Wool is highly breathable, allowing it to release heat and keep you dry in any condition.
  • Merino Wool provides both insulative properties, helping you keep warm when needed, whilst also allowing you to cool down when your body starts warming up.
  • Merino Wool is highly durable, with fibers that can be easily stretched and flexed.
  • And the final kicker! – Merino Wool, despite its tensile strength, also happens to be incredibly soft to the skin, leading to a highly comfortable wearing experience!

Other woolen fabrics for winter months include Cashmere & Tweed, with each offering unique characteristics. Cashmere, reputed for its unparalleled softness & insulative properties, presents as an ideal option during the colder months. Conversely, tweed works as a winter option, given its distinctive weave, durability and classic look.

Tweed Woolen Suit

Tweed, an alternative to worsted wool, are your perfect wardrobe companion during the winter months! Courtesy of www.stuidosuits.com

Fabrics that can be worn for warmer weather include Fresco & Tropical Wool. Fresco wool is generally constructed from multiple yarn, high twisted wool and has a plain weave. This higher twist makes for an open weave, providing breathability and a stretch factor.

A key benefit of Fresco Wool is that it can be produced to be both lightweight for warmer weather and heavier for more comfortable, year round weather. Additionally, fresco wool also happens to be naturally wrinkle resistant, making it a great choice for frequent travelers!

Fresco Woolen Suits

Fresco Woolen Suits for the summer months – both lightweight & breathable, making for a perfect combination! Courtesy of www.propercloth.com

Tropical Wools, as the name implies, are ideal fabrics for summer suiting! Tropical wools comprise of a lightweight construction that makes them breathable and therefore ideal for warmer climates. However, the looser weave of tropical wool fabrics results in a lower thread count, so that they generally don’t have super numbers.

While some tropical wools can also be fresco wools, they key distinguishing factor is that tropical wools are intended solely for summer use, whereas fresco wools can be woven for both colder and warmer climates.

What Type Of Woolen Suit Color To Choose

Choosing the right woolen suit color is as much about personal style as it is about understanding the context within which the suit will be worn. Classic suiting colors such as navy, charcoal grey, mid greys and brown offer versatility, sophistication and a timeless appeal – making them suitable for a wide range of settings, from business meetings to more formal events!

These suiting color shades serve as a solid foundation, allowing for flexibility in both shirt and accessory choices. For more adventurous professionals, opting for a deeper hue like rich burgundy or forest green can make a bold statement, while still helping maintain an air of sophistication.

Brown Windowpane Wool Suit

A Brown Windowpane Suit can certainly make an impression! Courtesy of www.gq.com

When selecting woolen suit colors, it is extremely important to consider both the season and the setting; lighter colors such as beige or light grey are fitting for spring and summer events, imbuing a fresher, more vibrant feel. Conversely, the depth and elegance of darker colors lends itself well to autumn and winter months, offering a sense of depth to your ensembles.

Choosing Woolen Suit According To Season

While we have elaborated on woolen suit selection as it w to the seasons above, we thought it would be a good idea to summarize it here. For warmer months, a suit crafted from lighter wool, such as the right fresco or tropical wool, will offer an element of breathability, making your suits feel airy and keeping you cool under the sun.

Alternatively, you could opt for a higher woolen count worsted wool suit. These suiting fabrics are an ideal choice for summer weddings, business casual events or any professional setting, where maintaining a dapper look is essential, despite the heat!

Summer Suit

A higher super count suit can be ideal for summer wear! Courtesy of www.hespokestyle.com

On the flip side, as the temperature drops, heavier woolen fabrics are your best bet. These suits are perfect for creating a sophisticated, layered look, suitable for both office environments and formal outdoor events. Lower to mid super count worsted wool suits, or if you’re really looking to stay warm, flannel or tweed suits, will do the trick here.

As mentioned earlier, lower super count woolen suits indicate a thicker fabric diameter, resulting in a heavier feeling fabric that will keep you further insulated during colder periods.

 Flannel Suit

A stunning flannel suit is a great alternative to a lower super count woolen suit during the winter months.  Courtesy of www.mond.com

For those transitional periods of spring & fall seasons, mid weight wools help to strike a perfect balance, offering both versatility and elegance.

As such, mid weight wools make for that perfect year round choice, offering you comfort and the ability to adapt to the seasons.

How To Ensure The Right Type Of Fit For A Woolen Suit

While ensuring that your woolen suit fits impeccably can have an entire article devoted to it, here are some key points to consider!:

  • Your jacket should contour naturally to your body, with the seams sitting snugly on the edge of your shoulders, without being too tight or loose.

Suit Fit Shoulders

Courtesy of www.propercloth.com

  • Opt for a suit jacket that offers enough to comfortably button, without pulling, yet remains snug enough to accentuate your silhouette!

Suit Jacket Fit

Courtesy of www.bespokeunit.com

  • Jacket sleeves should ideally end just above the wrists, revealing approximately a half inch to an inch of your shirt cuff.

Courtesy of www.propercloth.com 

  • Regarding your trousers, aim for a comfortable waistline fit that doesn’t necessarily require a belt to stay in place, with a length that gently flirts with the top of your shoes, creating a clean, tailored look without the unsightly baggage of a half or full break!

Suit Pants Fit

Courtesy of www.articlesofstyle.com

  • Since individual’s body shapes vary greatly, off-the-rack suits often require professional alterations. Hence, taking the time to consult with a tailor for personalized adjustments can transform a standard woolen suit into a article of clothing that fits impeccably.

How To Pair Shirts With A Woolen Suit

When looking to strut your woolen suit, premium cotton shirts with a higher thread count will not only ensure breathability, but also provide aesthetic appeal. While classic white and light blue shirts offer a virtually fail-safe option, selecting shirts with pattern variation can really help your ensembles stand out!

Opting for subtle patterns such as finer striped, herringbone or microcheckered shirts can add a textured element to your ensemble, allowing you to scale patterns – discussed below, providing for a more refined, layered and detailed look that will ultimately have you standing out above your contemporaries!

Additionally, variation in shirt colors such as pastel hues can work incredibly effectively, such as light pink, light purple or light green shirts!

Woolen Suit w/ Pink Shirt 

Courtesy of www.suitsexpert.com

In professional settings, attention to detail such as opting for a well-pressed shirt with a crisp collar under a woolen suit can project both authority and a certain level of meticulousness! Looking to add weight to your shirt collars? Try opting for collar stay!

Collar Stays

Collar Stays, commonly referred to as ‘collar tabs’ or ‘collar stiffeners’, are flat, rigid pieces of plastic or metal which are inserted into designated pockets on the underside of your dress shirt collars. The purpose of a collar stay is to give your shirt collar sufficient weight and crispness, ensuring that it is kept firmly in place! Collar stays give your shirt collars just the right amount of weight – so that it lays flat against your collar bone.

Additionally, stiff collar points have always been representative of sophistication, and so collar stays make for an ideal addition to your accessories wardrobe, ensuring that finer details are always taken care of.

While Stainless Steel is the most popular metal for collar stays, brass collar stays provide for an upgrade given that they are made of a higher end metal. The look of brass – especially burnished or polished, provides for a refined, elegant look.

Are you looking to elevate your dress shirt collar game! Please feel free to check out The Dark Knot’s Brass Collar Stays Gift Sets! The Dark Knot’s Brass Collar Stays Gift Sets are offered in six pairs of beautifully engraved brass collar stays, along with an elegant gift box.

Accessorizing A Woolen Suit – Ties & Pocket Squares

While we could devote a couple entire articles to this, as we have done in the past, we think highlighting a few key concepts here could substantially help you in accessorizing your woolen suits!



First & foremost, embrace monochromatic schemes! Simplistically put, monochromatic color schemes involve pairing darker colors of a variant against lighter colors. Hence, navy tie and light blue shirt combinations, or burgundy tie and light pink shirt combinations!

While these color schemes may not appear as striking as triadic color schemes, mentioned below, they are a great entry point into dressing dapper – and more importantly, could be a mainstay of your color matching as you move forward – monochromatic color schemes allow for some truly polished, elegant combinations that will have you standing out, even if the colors are not contrasting as strongly as some other combinations.

Woolen Suit w/ Navy Tie

Courtesy of www.themodestman.com

Up next, triadic color schemes! Triadic color schemes entails pairing colors that form a triangle on a color wheel. Hence, colors along the blue / red / yellow triangle can be paired, as can colors along the purple / green / orange triangle, even though the latter seems extremely bold. It is important to note that color variations of the same colors can be used – e.g instead of using red, you can use burgundy or pink! A prevalent example of a triadic color scheme includes pairing a burgundy tie against a light blue shirt.

Burgundy Tie & Pink Shirt

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Triadic color schemes help harmonize an ensemble, pairing warmer colors against cooler colors. In the above example, a warmer burgundy tie pops off perfectly against a lighter blue shirt.

A less common, but equally striking example, would be to pair an olive green tie against a light purple or lilac shirt. While this includes using two cool colors, in the case of green and lilac / lighter purple, instead of harmonizing a stronger warm color against a lighter cool color- the effect is just as striking, nonetheless!

Olive Green Tie & Lilac Shirt

Courtesy of www.bows-n-ties.com



The key factor to consider when matching tie patterns to your suits & shirts, is pattern proportion over pattern differences. Hence, a widely striped tie is going to pop off much better against a narrower striped shirt, than a smaller foulard pattern against a narrow striped shirt.

Pattern proportion refers to the pattern spacing within a design. Hence, a tie pattern that has larger pattern spacing is going to perfectly complement a shirt with a narrower, tightly spaced pattern, such as a finely striped or microcheckered shirt!

Navy Foulard Tie & Microcheckered Shirt

A larger patterned tie pops off perfectly against a smaller scaled, microchecked shirt. When in doubt, always opt for differences in pattern proportion! Featuring The Dark Knot’s Berkshire Abstract Navy / Turquoise Silk Tie.

Again, when in doubt, always opt for pattern proportion over pattern differences. If both are available, pattern matching indulging should certainly be taken into consideration!

Silk Ties | Ties | Neckties | Extra Long Ties

Pocket Squares

When matching pocket squares to your suits, shirts & ties, similar rules to the above apply. However, given that most ties are either solid, striped or geometric foulard / smaller patterned ties, we generally opt for paisley pocket squares, given that the larger spacing within the paisley patterns perfectly complements solid or smaller patterned ties.

Paisley Pocket Squares

Paisley Pocket Squares can work exceptionally well with a range of tie patterns! Featuring The Dark Knot’s Saratoga Paisley Silk Pocket Square.

When dressing up for a black tie event for a formal dinner or gala event, we suggest pairing your attire with a solid white linen or cotton pocket square, given that the rigidity of these fabrics allows for a presidential pocket square fold – ideally worn with a white pocket square for more formal settings!

Pocket Squares | Silk Pocket Squares | Linen Pocket Squares

Pairing Shoes With Your Woolen Suits

When pairing shoes with a woolen suit, oxford dress shoes are your best bet. Oxford dress shoes, characterized by their closing lacing system, indicate that the shoe’s facing is beneath the vamp. This leads to a slimmer and more streamlined silhouette, lending itself to more formal occasions. Oxford Dress shoes, the most formal of dress shoes / excluding tuxedo pump’s for black tie events, are ideally worn with a traditional navy or charcoal grey suits.

Oxford Cap Toes Woolen Suit

Oxford Cap Toes make for the perfect complement to a woolen suit! Courtesy of www.barkershoes.com

Brown wingtips / brogues are less formal shoes that can be worn with a range of suits, including lighter grey, blue, navy and brown suits. They are therefore an ideal pair to have in your wardrobe, as they can be used to dress up less formal attire, or dress down more formal ensembles.

Brogues, distinguished by their decorative perforations, can be seen across a range of shoes from oxford, derby & monk straps in four cap toe styles; full bogue, wingtip brogue, semi-brogue & quarter brogue. Brogues are an ideal wardrobe complement, because they can be worn with almost any suit color and can be worn to the office daily. These stunning dress shoes can quickly become your ‘workhorse’ shoes, whether you are dressing for daily work, an important presentation or any other dressier setting.

Brogue Shoes Woolen Suit 

Brogues truly do make for an incredibly dapper look! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

 With regards to shoe colors, we suggest the following general rules of thumb:

  • Black, providing a more formal look. Black shoes can be worn with either a charcoal grey or navy suit
  • Brown shoes, which provide a more relaxed vibe, can be used across a range of occasions
  • Oxblood / Burgundy Shoes which suggests a more dapper, outgoing aesthetic

And that’s a wrap for this one! We hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as we did writing it!


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