The Truth Behind Super 100
Are you searching for the truth behind Super 100? Well, look no further. We’ll breakdown the history and selling point for Super 100 suits. For starters, let’s breakdown the difference between the two styles of wool suits that you may run into; Worsted & Woolen. These wools are prepared in different ways resulting in a different look and feel. If you were to magnify them, worsted yarns look smooth and have long fibers, while woolen yarns are much hairier with lots of short fibers. Therefore, worsted wools are slick when woven and woolen wools end up being softer fluffier fabrics. Woolen wools tend to be warmer because they are full of air which acts as insulation.
Origin of the ‘S’
In the 18th century, wool merchants would label their fabric as low, medium, fine and super in order to identify the level of quality. As you can imagine, this process was entirely too subjective for wool merchants in Bradford, England; so new method was created. The merchants would use a scale based on the number of hanks that could be spun out of one pond of combed wool. A “hank” is simply one strand of yarn that is approximately 560 yards long.
Fast forward to the late 60’s. The Department of Agriculture devised a grading system for wool based on fiber diameter and the standard deviation in relation to each Bradford count.
Now, Onto The Numbers
When you see suit tags that say Super 100’s or Super 140’s, the number represents the number of times the worsted wool has been twisted. Generally, the higher the number, the finer and lighter the cloth will be. The higher Super count will also mean that it has a smoother texture and appears more luxurious. This, however, doesn’t mean that a Super 80’s suit is a piece of junk. The lower the S number, the “sturdier” the cloth. It is generally heavier and the texture is a bit coarser.
As you can imagine, a Super 160’s wool will feel better on the body since it is much finer; however, it won’t have as much wear because the fabric is more delicate. The higher fabric counts are considered high maintenance and are therefore worn occasionally. Although the finer counts are often more expensive, some retailers take it to the extreme and offer woven counts of Super 220 and above. Be wary of such labels.
A Super 100’s suit, whilst not as fine or smooth as a Super 160’s suit, has greater durability and is much more practical for everyday wear. This should also be considered if you are likely to be in a suit most days of the week.
The graphic below will help guide you on your next suit purchase, to ensure that you are buying based on what you need and not a gimmicky sales pitch. You should now be well prepared to buy with confidence now that you know the truth behind the Super 100.