Wool SUPER Numbers Explained - What Do Suit Fabric Super 100s, 180s... Mean?

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Generally speaking, worsted wool is the most popular fabric for men's suits around the world and while there are technically many fabrics that fall into the definition of worsted, there are subtle differences in classification among them.

One of these determining factors is the wool's so-called super number. You may be familiar with seeing terms like super 120s or super 180s on online retail pages or in fabric swatch books but what exactly does the term super mean in relation to worsted wool?

Before we can answer that question, let's talk a bit more generally about what qualifies as worsted wool. The term worsted can alternately describe either a combed yarn, a fabric made from a combed yarn, or a weight of yarn. A combed yarn, by the way, is made when wool fibers are rotated by metal combs that align the long fibers while discarding these short staple fibers. The result is a long lasting fine and smooth yarn with a somewhat glossy finish. Also, by adjusting the pull of these combs on the wool, one can get lighter or heavier yarns whereas varying the twists will impact the look, feel, and strength of the yarn. Tight twisting provides a crisper feel whereas loose twisting makes for a softer but weaker yarn.

To answer another general question, is a lighter worsted wool better than a heavier weight?

The answer not necessarily no. Similarly, you might be under the impression that a lighter weight weave is going to be cooler to wear and a heavier weight would be warmer but this isn't always the case either. Something that's heavy but relatively open in its weave like a fresco fabric, for instance, is going to feel much cooler when worn than something that's tightly woven and lighter like a super 150s fabric, for instance.

It's important to keep in mind then that a lighter fabric with a higher super number is not a hallmark of better fabric, it just indicates that the fibers used were thinner in diameter. Similarly, the super number doesn't provide any information about the weave or how heavy the fabric is.

So with standardization systems in place, super still sits as the top designation for how fine a wool may be. With that said, some companies have gotten a little subjective again in exactly how they're grading their super wools. So for example, a super 200s wool from one manufacturer might be a bit different in how fine it is from a super 200s wool from another manufacturer. Things are generally going to be fairly consistent, overall.

So a higher super number will mean that a fabric is going to be softer to the touch and generally will feel more like luxurious. Conversely, a lower super number will mean that the cloth is more sturdy and probably warmer.

Now you may be wondering, how do these super numbers translate into considerations for wearing?

Stated simply, anything with a higher super number is going to be more temperamental and hard to care for over time. The thinner, finer fibers of a wool with a high super number may have an amazing hand which is to say how soft they feel to the touch but they're also going to break down much more quickly than a heftier fiber would.

Speaking generally then, it's our opinion that it's best not to get overly caught up in the super numbers of your worsted wool suits. Very good quality suits can be created from wool in the super 100s to super 150s range and even below that, and of course, a suit that is well fitted to the wearer's body is going to look great regardless of what the super number might be or even if it doesn't have one. Conversely, something in a super 180s or super 220s wool is still going to look sloppy if it doesn't fit your frame well.

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Gentleman's Gazette gentleman's gazette men's wardrobe wool worsted wool worsted wool fabric fabric super numbers suit fabric super 100 super 120 suit super 180s suit super 200

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    Popular Comments:

kvt617 . 2019-04-22
Haha. I thought I knew everything about wool. I was really wrong. Great addition to the channel. I loved the tweed video and I will be sharing this one as well!
121 2 . Reply
Issac Newton . 2020-02-09
I need a suit that is a material for winter, but can be comfortable in summer at well. Is there such a thing?
121 2 . Reply
Vince Dubbed . 2020-01-23
When I watch this video I feel like I'm about to be attacked by a praying mantis.
121 2 . Reply
Arden Powers . 2020-01-14
Thanks so much for the education !
121 2 . Reply
WhatAreYouBuyen . 2019-12-23
I don't know if it is the lighting or the glasses, but it makes your eyes look HUGE!
121 2 . Reply
David . 2019-12-11
Preston is great but you need to put a box under his left leg. It's bit a bit off putting how he stand at an angle.
121 2 . Reply
Khánh Vũ . 2019-11-24
For some bizarre reason, all the fabric shops in my city only have super 120s and up, and all of them are some kind of cashmere wool blend sometimes with silk too. Sometimes, i just want a sturdy fabric yet it is impossible.
121 2 . Reply
LiangHan Yang . 2019-11-23
I love you face :)
121 2 . Reply
Ash Smith . 2019-11-14
Is leather, wool?
121 2 . Reply
mark kay . 2019-11-12
preston, what do you think of charles tyrwhitt's new "top drawer" line? i love this brand
121 2 . Reply
Marcelo . 2019-11-05
Isn't this suit too big for you? That's what I was wondering (see 13:45 and forward). Thanks!
121 2 . Reply
Voramet Chinanggulpiwat . 2019-11-03
i confused are cashmere worsted??
121 2 . Reply
dangerouse1993 . 2019-10-31
For tweed suits, what is it super number .?
121 2 . Reply
Top Feed Coco . 2019-10-19
New here... Weird dude 8-/
121 2 . Reply
ThunderRazor . 2019-10-09
I definitely prefer a more durable fabric, but I also prefer a more rugged look. I don't mind rough fabrics on my body so I almost never go for something fine and smooth.
121 2 . Reply
My right slap kills instantly . 2019-09-24
Hey, I have a 180s wool suit, can't I wear it 3-4 days in a week? Please help me.
121 2 . Reply
dadoody . 2019-09-23
I like my super 80s wool suits
121 2 . Reply
Zahinn . 2019-09-19
Is that you Kal-el?
121 2 . Reply
SAHIL SHARMA . 2019-09-17
That jaw line is Killin me!
121 2 . Reply
Gopi Stardom . 2019-07-15
The cheap and best you can have is super 120s. Go for them blindfolded..
121 2 . Reply
Rover Coupe . 2019-05-12
This is like the Open University. M.
121 2 . Reply
Sue M . 2019-05-11
Good job from Master handspinner. A few minor points. 1. The ‘s’ after a number refers to Bradford count Skeins. Bradford used how many skeins (S) from a pound of wool ( but also we calculate count from silk, linen, cotton using a different constant in the equations) 2. The super wools are Merinos which I believe you mentioned but there are other super fine wools Cormo, Rambouillet to name two. Merino has branded itself as ‘wool’ however it has become a monopoly. Merino is the silk of wools. Not appropriate for all applications. We are losing sheep breeds’ genetics which is bad for all sheep. 200 sheep breeds out there. We in the fiber community are fighting to save rarer breeds. Long wools for example would provide excellent luster and tremendous longevity so great for outerwear. 3. Wools breath which is why they are great even in summer. My husband wears wool jersey tshirts for example. But as you say, if lining is acetate, there goes wonderful quality of wool to wick moisture. Try to line with cotton or linen for summer or some unconstructed jackets unlined. 4. The finer super wools drape but the ‘coarser’ wools hold their body which is why vintage suits used more of those wools. So by buying super wools which are so flimsy you are buying how feels to the touch alone. Those drapy fabrics needs a lot more understructure to get it to have shape. If you had a wool with more ‘body’ less understructure is needed. Make sense?

Otherwise great job.
121 2 . Reply
Charlotte Vatin . 2019-05-10
Dont Want ton be too picky buuuuut some of your videos happen to be released juste à few days after hugo jacomet’s. With that Being said once again thats another great video !
121 2 . Reply
Tv France . 2019-05-06
Thanks, very informative. Really like the history aspect of the lesson.
121 2 . Reply
Campari Soda . 2019-05-05
HAHA women watch this too 😀 - have got men to bring up, don't we? 😀😀 Carnelian cufflinks oh my!!
121 2 . Reply
Pawzzz . 2019-04-30
121 2 . Reply
Mahgoub Abdalla . 2019-04-28
I love your program so much.
121 2 . Reply
Mahgoub Abdalla . 2019-04-28
Sorry I want to know if you have online shopping ?
121 2 . Reply
Asumani . 2019-04-28
I love the way this gentleman has presented this session, magnificent
121 2 . Reply
Olibara Hosasa . 2019-04-27
The answer is 'not necessarily no'
121 2 . Reply
Dinesh Gore . 2019-04-25
Good information like always. 👍👍 However bring Sven back. New guy needs to mess up his hair a little and deepen his voice. He reminds me too much of "American Psycho" with Christian Bale. Creeps me out 😞
121 2 . Reply
Cineo . 2019-04-25
Will you ever make a video to compare english and italien suits? That would be great!
121 2 . Reply
Endtimeguitarist Endtimeguitarist . 2019-04-25
Has anyone else ever wondered what the quality of wool is from companies like Michael kors, Perry Ellis, and Calvin Klein? Any company that puts out a product that isn’t a super number for that matter. I’d like to know more about these wools since I’d like to know what these companies are producing and how much they are making off it versus what it’s actually worth and the quality difference.
121 2 . Reply
Wasa Bista . 2019-04-24
That word "gifting" again. Doesn't anybody just GIVE things anymore?
121 2 . Reply
David Ng . 2019-04-24
My custom made suits are super 130s. They are soft and resistant to winkles.
121 2 . Reply
Wongheichi . 2019-04-24
Excellent video! May I suggest that you film a video discussing different weave (e.g., plain weave, hopsack, twill) of fabrics in the future?
121 2 . Reply
Cj Mad Racer . 2019-04-23
Would you consider making a video about espadrilles,
would like to implement them into my wardrobe for this summer but still not sure about the do's and don'ts, thanks! 
Once again great vid!
121 2 . Reply
Greve Johan Johansen . 2019-04-23
Could you make a video about tools for house work and cars? I think it is a important skill that all men should know.
121 2 . Reply
Tommy Cha . 2019-04-23
best video ever... love it. respect and well done.
121 2 . Reply
john t . 2019-04-23
Good video Thanks @UCEgoThiTZG6wbTVA6B1Ksaw
121 2 . Reply
Tony Stark . 2019-04-23
When I have suits made I mainly consider super numbers in the respect of how durable it's going to be. I don't want something too fine because I don't want to wear it out prematurely. With that in mind I like to stick between 100s and 120s
121 2 . Reply
Richard - . 2019-04-23
Worsted in Norfolk has less than 1000 people. Its more a village than a city :)
121 2 . Reply
John Matthias . 2019-04-23
So, anything over 100 is super?
121 2 . Reply
kristjann . 2019-04-23
Could we get a bit more distance between the camera and the speaker?
121 2 . Reply
D T . 2019-04-23
Ah, so it's normal that my 'Super' fabric suit doesn't have the big red "S" on the chest...
121 2 . Reply
Dan_GD . 2019-04-23
I really enjoy your content, but I usually get discouraged to watch the video because of the (I believe, perceived) movement of the background due to the change of frames in the shot. It makes me a little seasick, sorry.
Changing of subject, Preston is on fire, well done!
121 2 . Reply
Mike D . 2019-04-23
I miss the real gentlemen
121 2 . Reply
Mike D . 2019-04-23
Are gentlemen allowed to grow neck beards?
121 2 . Reply
Aireney Kirkendoll . 2019-04-23
I love the history lesson, how they actual sheep were moved around great info and although I would love to have 180s plus the best I own is 150 and I love it
121 2 . Reply
Noah Wou . 2019-04-23
Superb video!
121 2 . Reply
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