It’s a common misconception that ‘super numbers’ in suiting terms refer to the thread count of the fabric. In fact, it is a measure of the fineness of the sheep wool yarn which is twisted into the fabric and is simply a method of grading that. The finer the wool, the higher the super number. Fabrics with a higher super number are generally more expensive as the wool used in manufacturing them comes from sheep bred for the fineness of their wool.
Are higher super numbers better?
Not necessarily. Think about the suits you own. The higher-end ones may be made from silk or cashmere and these are likely to be more comfortable and reserved for special occasions. You wouldn’t want to wear your silk suit every day, which is why most work suits are made from wool or cotton. It’s also worth noting that super numbers are unregulated and there are stories of some unscrupulous manufacturers buying up short but high-micron fibers just for their high super numbers. These fabrics are not very durable and are unsuitable for tailoring but are still advertised with high super numbers So, if you’re looking at a suit with a high super number which is unbelievably cheap then you should be skeptical – remember, you get what you pay for.
What super number should I look for in a suit?
The super number is just one aspect that you should look for when choosing a suit. It can be a helpful indicator but shouldn’t be used in isolation to assume that one suit or one fabric is better than another. But in general terms, a super number in the 110s-120s will indicate a suit that is suitable for daily use. The fabric should have an abundance of raw long-staple fibers which are long enough to be twisted tightly with the yarn, allowing for a more durable suit that is suitable for the rigors of daily wear. Super numbers in the 130s-150s bracket are softer and richer in texture but are less durable and would be used for a suit that is worn occasionally for important events such as a major conference or a wedding but would not withstand daily use. Anything above 150 would be more likely to suit a special occasion. These finer suits made using fabric with higher super numbers are more likely to tear and are more difficult to repair.
If you’re unsure which fabric to choose you should seek advice from your tailor. At Exclusive Tailor in Phuket, our expert tailors are always on hand to help answer any questions. Whether you’re looking for a high-end bespoke made suit with a high super number or something stylish yet suitable for daily wear, our look book is full of inspirational ideas for every occasion. To check it out visit our website or give us a call and let’s chat about your next custom-tailored suit.