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Are all "Supers" really "SUPER"???

Discussion in 'Suits' started by fedoralover, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. I've been in the market for a new suit and have went to various stores and also shopped online and have found some puzzling info given about the material on various suits. I always thought the "Super 100s" or 120s and 150s were an indication of a finer wool thread count and thus a better quality suit. But I came across some new suits being sold on ebay and advertised as "Super 150s" material. The picture looked pretty good but then when I read the fine print about the material it said this.

    Men’s Super 150s extra fine 3 pcs vested dress suit
    Designed in Italy
    65% Polyester, 35% viscose

    NO WOOL!! So my question is, how is a Super 150s Polyester suit classify as "SUPER" material. Isn't this just a marketing tool, or is there something about the way it's made that makes it different from any other cheap polyester suit??? Any thoughts on this??

  2. Avoid those fabrics like the plague. They're a finer fabric marketed to be 'all season' and lighter weight, but a finer fabric means a smaller fiber. Thus they wear much more quickly. Not to mention they drape poorly... Look for a heavy and resilient fabric that can stand up to the test of time. Vintage wools are woven more openly and the fabric doesn't have that silky feel to the touch, but they last much much longer. Also, you can have the most well-made and expensive suit on the market, and a poor fit; but a poor fit no matter how much you paid for it still looks bad. You should find something with higher waisted trousers that allow for a nice drape and clean lines... Have suspender buttons put in so they can be waist-hung. And high armholes on the jacket for ease of movement. I digress...

    Your original question--I'm not sure how they get by that one... Calling polyester a 'super wool' or something like that. I've always bought vintage because I don't have a very difficult size, not to mention it's generally cheaper than modern suits from stores like Saks or Neiman Marcus and Brooks.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  3. this came up in the British suits thread. here's an edited version:

    suit fabrics are measured by the worsted count number which refers to the weight of the fabric. to cut a technically long story short, a typical 1930s or 1940s suit would have a count number of 40 - 60. the higher the number the lighter the fabric. modern suit fabrics are around 100 - 120 or even higher for super-fine suiting fabrics.

    basically, ignore the word 'super'. it means nothing.
    if you want a super fine, modern-looking, lightweight suit fabric then super 150s are for you, but make sure it is all wool, not poly.
    if you want a suit that resembles something from the first half of the 20th century when suit fabrics were heavier, avoid super 150s altogether.
  4. Is it even possible to get new suits under super 90s these days? I own only one suit, a modern Land's End super 90s one, but that's about the lowest I've seen for sale anywhere. Any idea where a super 60s or 70s count wool suit might be sold, apart from vintage?
  5. off the peg suits, i couldn't say. but there are still heavier tweed and flannel fabrics around to buy per metre, but they're not cheap:



    i can't currently recommend any smarter worsted type fabrics.

    interestingly, when fabrics get over about 13 oz and into the heavier category (14 - 18 oz) the sellers don't mention the count number. probably because it goes against everything they've been pushing with the high number lightweight 'supers'.
  6. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    Very enlightening, thanks for the info guys! I love this forum; I learn more every time I sign on.
  7. Thanks for all the info, very interesting.

  8. Why are "super" wools so popular for modern suits?

    When it comes to wool, I know that vintage suits are generally thicker and sturdier than modern suits, which are most commonly lightweight and flimsy in contrast. It would seem that almost all modern suits off the rack at clothing stores are made from super 100s or higher numbered wool fabrics, and I rarely spot any flannels or tweeds. From reading a number of advertisements and clothing blogs or forums, these high super numbers are regarded as luxurious and desirable. One disadvantage of a super 120s or above suit is that the fabric wrinkles very easily, while vintage suits retain cleaner lines. When did this trend begin, and for what reasons? Was it during the 1970s or '80s, influenced by Armani?
  9. Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  10. I've merged two threads on the topic.

    I agree with HBK the super suitings trend is propped up by marketing hype. There is no logical reason to support the idea that thinner material which is more prone to wrinkle and wear out can ever be thought of as "Super" or superior to heavier fabric. The idea flies in the face of common sense!

    I could appreciate the idea of summer weight wools if they were balanced against cooler season, heavier fabric options.
  11. Now, this is only an opinion, but I've seen and held both Super 120's cloth and a very curious mixture of Polyester and Viscose... When those two are seen from afar they look very similar, and to somebody who is untrained, they might appear very similar, and some unsrupulous salesmen might use that to cheat on a few costumers...
  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxVmZmimBSA

    Here is Matt Deckard on Supers

    I would never own a suit of that fabric.
    Like he says this material is costume material .
    Its a costume suit material. You wear it occasionally to have the look. You were it to the office and important events. Its not durable.
    Hope he doesn't get mad of me linking this
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  13. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Well, buyers should always read the fabric content label which is affixed to the garment. You know; Caveat emptor .....
  14. Thank you for the information. I also watched the video. It's interesting how suits were originally much more functional and intended to handle frequent wearing. Now they are essentially like costumes that certain members of society are expected to wear to work or to weddings/funerals/events. Do you think there is, to some extent, any going back to the older, thicker style of suits becoming affordable again? Is the old way of making wool suits still quite possible, but it is just a matter of manufacturers being accustomed to making these thin "super" suits? I am sure that bespoke suits are capable of being thick if the tailor has the fabric for it, but I'm talking about more affordable, below $1000 options.
  15. Its a matter of economics.
    read the labels of the garments origin.


    Before the majority of items where made here in the US

    Its too expensive to do this now.

    so quality goes down hill and they lie to us that its good enough.
  16. You do have a point about the made in China/Indonesia/Philippines phenomenon that has largely taken over.

    When it comes to my experiences wearing a suit, I wear a super 90s wool suit from Land's End (their year rounder tailored fit suit). Considering that I've bought it late 2011, it's held up quite well for what it is. I do wear it about two times a month on average. It wrinkles a little bit, but perhaps less so than a super 120s suit would. It's a mid-grey sharkskin or pick-and-pick fabric, and it appears relatively late '50s, early '60s. Before this suit, during my teenaged years, I would only wear a black polyester suit for weddings or funerals.
  17. the bespoke crowd -such as members of the London Lounge- have an ongoing interest in heavy old flannel fabric and indeed reproduce it via companies like Fox Brothers.
    bespoke tailoring has a new 'coolness' right now so it's not improbable that ideas from the bespoke world will filter down to the high street. also, were a designer to come out with a heavy-vintage-style collection some high street chains might follow suit, the same way the (ultra expensive) skinny Thom Browne look was copied in the mid 2000s to become the default high street look.
    unlikely i know, but theoretically possible. ;)
  18. m000m000

    m000m000 One of the Regulars

    It is still possible to get "old-world" style fabrics - traditional companies like Fox, Harrisons, Dugdale, H. Lesser (and probably others) have lines that are very vintage-y in weight & look, though the patterns and colors tend to lean towards the conservative side. Naturally, you're unlikely to find these fabric lines in RTW, but for bespoke or possibly even MTM the options definitively are still out there.

    As for the flimsyness of "super wools", I feel a lot of people confuse the super number with fabric weight & weave. "Super 150" does not directly translate into the fabric being lightweight and flimsy. It just tells the fabric was made out of fibers with thickness of X microns (X being dependant on the super number), nothing more, nothing less.

    It is entierly possible to make a "heavy" super wool fabric. It also would likely be more durable than an equal weight cloth of "standard" wool, as the actual thread count in it will be much higher, and it can be spun tighter.

    It just so happens that super wools on modern machines can be spun into thin cloth in very breathable("/open") weaves, and that happens to be the general market preferance today for a variety of reasons (among other things, because making a heavier fabric eats up more raw material, which is kind of an issue particularly if your raw material is "expensive" from a relative standpoint).
  19. m, have you ever seen any fabric with 'super...' in the title that is in the 16 - 18 oz range ?

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