If you've never been very interested in suits before you got engaged, then you've probably found that shopping for what you'll wear on your wedding day feels pretty confusing. At first glance, classic black or gray suits might all look the same, but a closer look shows that there is a lot more detail than you may have expected. Picking out the right suit for your big day means knowing exactly what you want and what to look for.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the fabric and material of a wedding suit, and that's exactly where this guide comes in. Suits can come in all different fabrics, and the fabric you choose can say a lot about your style and the look you're going for. To help you navigate it all, we consulted with menswear experts Oscar Udeshi and Matt Ramirez.
Meet the Expert
- Oscar Udeshi is a tailor and menswear designer and founder of Udeshi Tailoring. He launched his brand Udeshi in 1999 and by 2002 he became the youngest menswear designer at Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
- Matt Ramirez is the senior vice president of marketing for Generation Tux, an online tuxedo and suit rental service.
How to Choose the Best Material For Your Suit
Picking the right fabric for your suit can be overwhelming, and one way to make it easier is to avoid going out of your comfort zone too much. For a wedding, you really want something that feels right for you. "I would recommend getting a suit that fits the wearer's physique and personality," Udeshi tells Brides. "A made-to-measure suit is an excellent choice to make sure it's perfect for the groom and there are no compromises."
When it comes to both fabric and fit, feeling comfortable is the main priority. "The groom needs to feel and look good in the suit," Udeshi says. "You don't want a delicate or precious fabric. You want a suit that you put on and that looks and feels great and then you forget about it and enjoy your big day."
Of course, picking a suit fabric also means taking the event itself into consideration. "Think about where and when the wedding will take place and how formal it will be," Udeshi reminds. Being comfortable is number one, but the dress code, the venue location, and the time of year are just as important when deciding which fabric to go with.
He also recommends going for something classic rather than something very trendy. "Choose something that won't date too quickly in the photos," he advises. A bold, statement-making suit might be fun now, but it can feel like a mistake later.
You'll also find that some fabrics come at a higher price point than others. For a wedding, you might want to go for something higher quality, even if it costs more. "Some cheaper materials do not breathe and you can overheat, or they may have a heavier weight that will get increasingly uncomfortable as the day/evening goes on," Ramirez says.
At the end of the day, you want to pick a suit fabric that looks good on you, feels comfortable in every way, and fits the time of year and type of event you're going to. Here's a look at what you need to know about the most popular suit fabrics out there.
Popular Suit Fabric and Materials
Blended fabric is exactly what it sounds like: a mix of two different fabrics. For suits, this usually means wool or a type of wool as the primary fabric. The other fabric could be silk, linen, cotton, or something else. Blends typically offer a bit more versatility. For example, a wool and linen blend means the suit won't be as heavy as a full wool suit, but also won't be as cool as a full linen suit, making it ideal for transitional weather.
Cashmere is a very lightweight and soft natural fiber that is thought of as a particularly fine type of wool. Because of how soft and luxe it feels, cashmere suits will come in at a higher price point than most fabrics. It's a versatile fabric that will likely get a lot of wear—Ramirez notes that it's great for all types of events. That said, Udeshi says that there are some downsides. "Aside from being expensive, it is also a little fragile and can crease, and is not recommended for men's trousers as it is too soft," he says.
Ideal for spring and summer weddings, chambray is a type of cotton fabric that comes off as more casual than many other suit fabrics. It's usually light blue in color and can look similar to denim, and has a soft, lightweight feel that makes it great for warmer weather.
Save a chambray suit for a daytime wedding in the summer or a more casual event.
This natural fiber is a really popular suit fabric choice for many reasons: it's comfortable, it isn't too expensive, and it's easy to find. "Cotton is a soft fabric that allows for movement, but wrinkles and creases easily," Ramirez says. Both Ramirez and Udeshi note that cotton suits are never going to look as crisp, sharp, or as formal as something like wool, although they're still suitable for most occasions.
Picture a wedding taking place on a snowy day in the middle of the winter—this is the kind of wedding you would wear a flannel suit to! The fabric is usually a type of wool and feels warmer than your average suit fabric. "Flannel fabric is usually found in suits or sport jackets and can be made of many different fibers," Ramirez says. Flannel typically has a thicker appearance that makes it come off as more casual than formal.
Lightweight and airy, a linen suit is ideal for summer weddings, especially ones on the more casual side. While it's comfortable to wear and beautiful to look at, linen has one major downside: it wrinkles quickly. "It's a more casual fabric that creases as soon as one looks at it," Udeshi explains. In his opinion, this is exactly why it's not ideal for a groom: it can easily look rumpled and messy in photos right away. His one exception? "A very casual, barefoot, beach wedding."
For those looking to save on a suit, polyester may be the way to go. Because it's made of synthetic materials, it's considerably cheaper than suits made of other fabrics. Ramirez adds that polyester "is quick-drying and resists wrinkles well." However, that cut in cost has its downsides. "Polyester will breathe less and can feel warmer than other fabrics used for suits and tuxedos," he says. It can also have more of a shine than wool or cotton, something that many don't find aesthetically pleasing in a suit.
Wear a polyester suit during an autumn or spring wedding since it's not warm enough for winter weather or cool enough for extreme heat.
This cotton fabric has a distinct look to it thanks to how tightly woven it is. Because it's cotton, seersucker is more breathable. "This fabric is lightweight and great for summer events, but can often appear wrinkled because of the tight weave in the fabric," Ramirez says.
When you want your suit to be as luxurious as possible, opt for silk. Because it's a luxury fabric, it's one of the highest price points out there. Keep in mind that silk has a shiny look to it, and as Udeshi points out, it's not very breathable. It's better suited for events in cooler weather.
Ramirez recommends reserving a silk suit for your most formal events. This expensive fabric can look too dressed up for something casual.
Another type of wool, tweed suits are especially popular for autumn weddings and have a unique look to them. Because tweed has such a distinct look, it's going to work better for more informal events.
This luxe fabric feels just as soft as it looks. "It's a great choice for formal events and has a unique feel often described as smooth," Ramirez notes. Udeshi adds, "Velvet is usually used more for tuxedo jackets. Having an all velvet men’s suit makes quite a statement."
A natural fiber that is both breathable and wrinkle-free, wool is easily the most common suit fabric out there. "It is the most versatile fabric for suits, hands down, with great crease resistance and options to be matte or shiny, depending on what finish it is given," Udeshi says. Wool is comfortable, it works for any season, and it looks good at almost any kind of event. You truly can't go wrong with a wool suit, and it's one you'll wear over and over again.
When shopping for a wool suit, look for Merino Wool. "Merino Wool is temperature regulating, durable, and is a great lightweight option for a spring or summer wedding," Ramirez says. "But, if it’s fall or winter, it won’t leave you out in the cold. Plus, you can layer your look with a vest to add some additional warmth."
When shopping for expensive, high-end suits, you'll likely come across worsted wool. This popular material has a smoother and softer finish than regular wool, with a lovely texture that has zero fuzziness. It's also more lightweight than regular wool.