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Super Numbers Explained

Ever walked into a fabric store looking for suit cloth and felt totally overwhelmed by the many choices?

You ask for assistance and feel inundated with alien terminology of made-to-measure vs a bespoke fit, and then questions about Super 130’s and 150’s while you stand there wondering if there is an easier way to buy fabric for your suit.

Super numbers are easy, once you know how they work and  when you do, you will be sure to sound like the sophisticated gentleman that you are.

So, what is a Super number?

Experienced tailors judge the quality of men’s suiting fabric by quality and the Super number – this is a scale to determine the grade and thickness of suiting fabric.

The higher the super number, the lighter the fabric weight and the lower the thread count.

Most Super numbers start at around Super 100’s. To qualify for this grading, the fabric must be finer then 18.5-micron (a micron is a unit of length equal to one millionth of a metre) - as the scale progress the micron count shrinks. The scale can go from Super 100 to super 110’s, 120’s, which is what most English mills such as Holland & Sherry use to create a quality winter suit. The chances are that if you open up your wardrobe a lot of your winters suits will be the classic Super 120s.

 

The Loro Piana wool spinning mill in Italy

The scale progresses from 120 to Super 130’s, 140’s, 150’s which is commonly used by brands like Loro Piana as it is a lighter fabric and has a 16-micron count.

More luxurious Supers like or 170’s are often used by Arabic men for garments like the quintessential ankle-length Dishdasha.

Today, Super numbers go all the way up to Super 200’s which is the finest and most expensive fabric.

If you are looking for a suit to be worn a few days per week, we suggest between a super 120’s - 150’s and of course impeccable tailoring.  If you want to spend a little extra for a special occasion, then a Super 160s is a great choice!

We hope this knowledge will help you in your next suit fabric purchase decision - happy shopping! 

Did you know: Ermenegildo Zegna doesn’t use super numbers, the brand differentiates fabric weight using micron thickness.