Superfine. Super 110’s. 120’s. 130’s. 15o’s even.
Some men love choices. Some don’t want to have to make another decision. Some just want the best, period. Fortunately for all of you, Leviner Wood is ready and willing to accommodate each and every preference. To help make one of the decisions simpler for you, we thought it might be a good idea to explain what all that Super business is about.
It’s about marketing. And how good a cloth feels. It refers to the width of the individual fibers of wool, which previously was only identified by micron number, sort of like thread count in bed linens. (The lower the micron, the silkier the fabric will feel.)
In England, where there are a fair number of fabric producers, the count is measured in “hanks” (a spool of 560 yards of yarn) which is the number of spools of yarn that can be spun from one pound of raw wool. A count of 80 can be woven into 80 hanks of 80 yards of yarn. The thinner the raw fibers, the more hanks can be spun from them. The resulting cloth will be silkier feeling, and usually more expensive.
Years ago an English firm of spinners began giving out the “Golden Bale” award. It was bestowed on the batch of raw wool that they deemed to be of the finest quality. And for years that finest quality raw wool topped out at a count in the 80’s (about 19.5 microns.) Nothing finer could be engineered. Then one day, thanks to scientific advances in breeding sheep, a finer fleece appeared. The day of the 100’s had begun. The excited cloth merchants deemed the new 100’s count to be “Super.”
Enter the Italians, who know a thing or two about stylish dressing and are constantly introducing newer and newer innovations into the field of menswear. In Biella, the Italian weavers developed looms that could rapidly produce the lightest weight cloth with the lowest micron number without breaking the delicate fibers. The new Super numbers jump by a factor of ten and each factor of ten represents a half a micron less than its predecessor. Cloth with a finer “hand” (the tailor’s term for how it feels) than cashmere can be woven from the highest Super-wools. Putting on a suit made from Super 150’s for example, may be likened to slipping beneath silk sheets. Tailoring such fine fabric can be tricky; we’re very good at it.
That’s all well and good, you might say, but with so many Supers, which fabric do I choose?
Depends on your needs. Do you travel often? Are you frequently on television? Will you only wear the suit for special evening’s out or is it to be the backbone of your working wardrobe? Once again, you’ve got us. At Leviner Wood, we’ll make sure to steer you in the right direction. You’ve just got to ask.
(Lots more fascinating and amusing information can be found in “The Suit” by Nicholas Antongiavanni, from which we cribbed a lot of the facts about Supers. A copy of the book will be sent to the first person to leave a comment on this post!)