What do Super numbers really mean?

July 20, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Cloth | Leave a Comment   (0) | Ciaran

 

Super 100s, Super 120s, Super 140's, Super 150s, Super numbers

English milled fabrics

 

When browsing fabrics with your tailor you may have come across bunches labelled as ‘Super 100’s wool’ or ‘Super 140’s wool’. But what do these numbers relate to and what should you be looking for when choosing cloth for a suit?

The phrase ‘Super 100’s’ was originally conceived by spinners Joseph Lumb & Sons more than 30 years ago, but was soon adopted by Dormeuil and other merchants. Marketing of this term has been so successful over the decades that it has now reached the stage where clients will ask for a specific Super number that they had in mind, even before their first visit to a tailor.

The number itself e.g. 100, 140 etc. relates to the width of the wool yarn in microns (a micron is one millionth of a meter). So a Super 130s fabric is 17.5 microns wide. The higher the number, the silkier the fabric feels and that affects price as well. Anything above Super 140s is too fragile for repeated daily use but can be saved for special occasions.

It’s important not to place too much emphasis on the Super number because other factors are more relevant to the performance you can expect from a fabric. For example the merchant, the breed of sheep, the weight, the mill it was woven in and the way that the fabric tailors during construction. Because of these factors you can purchase a fabric labelled ‘Super 100’s’ from two different fabric merchants and they can be very different in quality.

Often the Super number is mistakenly associated with weight but the two are not always related. For example Super 120’s exist in various weights from 9oz to 12oz. When choosing your yarn it’s important to choose a fabric that is right for the end product and feels right to you. Trends in Super numbers continue to spread confusion as mill owners can produce finer and finer wools which people mistake for better quality.

As milling technology continues to improve, wool will be available in higher Super numbers but as discussed here that isn’t the overriding factor to consider when choosing fabric for your suit. Hopefully this article has given you a bit more insight into what Super numbers actually mean and this will help you make an informed choice when choosing wool yarns.

 

 

How to Clean Your Suit and How Often You Should Do It

June 29, 2012 | Posted in Suit Care | Leave a Comment   (0) | Ciaran

 

a picture of a bespoke suit being cleaned with a soft bush

A bespoke suit is likely to be the most expensive item of clothing you’ll ever own, and it’s important that you know how to take care of it. Not only because you want it to last for as long as possible but also because you want it to look as good as the day you bought it. Knowing how and how often to clean your suit is vital and here we will share a few tips on how to do it best.

Caring for Your Suit

Firstly, it’s worth noting that one of the major mistakes most people make, is simply that they clean their suit too often. Dry cleaning your suit is typically only necessary once or, maximum, twice a year. Although dry cleaners take care not to damage your suit when cleaning it, it is inevitable that the process will damage the material and shape of your suit. Only get your suit dry cleaned if it really needs it.

Instead of taking your suit to the dry cleaners every time you wear your suit, simply make sure to follow these basic suit care tips; Use a soft brush to gently brush away day-to-day dirt such as hair, food and dust. You should do this on a regular basis and pay special attention if you have been frequently wearing the suit.

Always brush in one direction (most agree it’s best to brush against the grain) and never brush in circular motions, as this will press the dirt deeper into the fabric. Use short, brisk strokes and be gentle.

Use a solid wooden hanger to allow your suit to air and recover. This will also allow the wrinkles to fall out. To keep the shape of your suit make sure your pockets are empty and hang it in a space where it has space and isn’t squashed against other clothes.

If and when you do need to get your suit dry cleaned, make sure that you get both the suit coat and trousers cleaned at the same time. You want your suit to have a perfectly balanced appearance and this will be lost if you wash each part separately.

Ultimately, prevention is easier and more effective than cure. Treat your suit with respect and care, use a napkin when you eat, be careful where you sit and never leave it thrown on the floor or hanging over a dirty old sofa. You’ll have a better looking suit, that will last longer and, of course, keep you looking at your very best.

 

 

The History of Bespoke Tailoring

June 29, 2012 | Posted in Bespoke Tailoring, Blog | Leave a Comment   (0) | Ciaran

 

The history of bespoke tailoring and savile row in mayfair london

Bespoke Tailoring, as we know it today, is the accumulation of many centuries of dedication to the craft of sewing, stitching, cutting and imitating the human form in fabrics. Bespoke tailoring developed slowly but steadily throughout Europe between the 12th and 14th Century. Before the birth of tailoring, clothes were seen purely as functional objects, to cover the body and protect it from the elements. As the Renaissance transformed the world of arts and culture, tailoring became a way to accentuate the human form and contributed to what is widely considered to have been the ‘rebirth of humanism’. Medieval uniforms, which had typically been made from a single piece of cloth, were now ‘tailored’ so that they were tighter and shorter in an attempt to show off the contours of the human body. Tailors changed the way people perceived clothes, they were no longer viewed merely as ‘practical necessities’, but as a form of expression and objects of desire. Tailoring skills became increasingly sought after and created the market of tailoring as we know it today. It was also the beginning of what we now refer to as fashion.

 

A Prestigious Vocation

Master Tailors soon became solely responsible for providing the majority of their local society’s clothing needs and their empowered role became a sought after vocation. As industry and society boomed, towns grew into powerful cities where fashion was used to portray status and wealth. Countries such as Italy, Spain and France were considered fashion ‘hubs’ and men would travel from all over Europe to have their clothes personally tailored by the very best craftsmen. During the 17th Century fashion was still very much influenced by royalty. King Louis XIV reigned from 1643 to 1715 and Paris became the place for the latest and greatest fashion. It was during this period that styles began to change and masculine attire started to become main-stream. Feminine doublets and cloaks, which had been standard dress code since the 14th Century, were being replaced with masculine fitted coats, vests and trousers, which were relics of what we now perceive to be modern fashion.

 

The Flamboyant French & The Birth of the Gentleman

 

Bespoke tailoring in the 19th CenturyWhilst the French reviled in overly flamboyant, decorative silks and pastel satins, which were derived from the French courts, the English were taking a far more practical approach.

In fact, by the 19th Century, glossy black coats and iconic English stovepipe hats and umbrellas were standard elements of mainstream English fashion. The silhouette of the modern English gentleman was born.

The masculine design and subtle detailing of English tailors soon dominated European fashion and London was commonly thought of as the un-official capital of it all. English designed business attire became increasingly popular and the Industrial Revolution further boosted demand. London tailors focused heavily on ‘fit’ and moved away from over the top decoration and fabrics. This emphasis on ‘fit’, and the quest to mimic and improve the human form, meant that good English tailors were highly regarded as the industry’s leaders. English tailors were responsible for promoting the idea of simplicity, and discrete fashion. Perfection was in the cut of the cloth and this would become the holy grail of modern fashion.

 

The Golden Mile of Tailoring

the origins of tailoring and bespoke tailoring and how it came to call savile row home.Savile Row, in Mayfair, London, was built between 1731 and 1735 and was named after Lady Dorothy Savile, the wife of the 3rd Earl of Burlington. It was originally the used to house British military officers and their wives, however, as British gentry became increasingly concerned with their appearance, Beau Brummell (the epitome of the well-dressed man) patronised the tailors of Savile Row and it started to be referred to as the “golden mile of tailoring”. In fact, it was Savile Row tailors that coined the term; ”bespoke”, when they described cloth as being “spoken for” by an individual customer.

 

Modern-Day Bespoke Tailoring

Modern-day bespoke tailoring still utilises traditional techniques and, despite advancements in technology, is still seen as a highly-skilled art form as opposed to an exact science. In a world where mass-production and ready-made clothing dominates the world of fashion, the tailor’s role has become increasingly essential. Savile Row is still recognised as the home of bespoke tailoring and it is here that you will find the very finest in traditional and modern bespoke tailoring.