After a balmy run up to Christmas and warm start to the new year (where we saw a few confused daffodils emerge), it is finally starting to feel like a proper winter. Temperatures have dropped dramatically and we’re really starting to feel the chill.
At Henry Herbert, there are three things we always keep in mind to combat the cold: fabric, layering and outerwear. The three go hand in hand to keep you toasty. Below we address part 1 of our three-part series where we share how to Combat the Cold.
Choose a natural wool fabric for your bespoke suit
Now is the time to dry clean and store your cotton summer suits (may we recommend Jeeves). British winters, as we know, unfortunately tend to be both cold, and wet. Cotton when wet, is a particularly poor insulator – if anything, it acts to conduct heat away from your body, and retain moisture close to your skin (hence the chill factor), and is not quick drying. Meanwhile, wool fibres trap tiny pockets of air between them, helping to insulate you. Wool also wicks or pulls moisture away from your skin to keep you dry. This effect both keeps you warm during the winter, and can keep you cool in warmer situations by helping evaporate sweat more quickly. This is why you will often see merino wool being described as having “temperature regulating” properties. Finally, wool also retains its insulating properties much better than cotton when wet, and as an added bonus, wool is generally more hard wearing and is more resistant to dirt and oil stains than other fabrics like cotton.
It is therefore not a surprise that wool is fabric of choice for most bespoke suits intended for wear year round, but especially during the colder months. A mid to heavy weight 12-13oz fabric would typically be excellent for year round use except in the warmest months. However you could even choose a weight upward of that (14-15oz) for added warmth. We would also recommend thinking about a Harris tweed suit – tweed is a moisture resistant, very durable fabric which is why it is the fabric of choice for outdoor use e.g in shooting suits. However, we have seen the use of more refined tweed cloth intended for bespoke suits, adapted for city use to great effect.
The technology and fabric utilised by base layers intended for skiing can also be invisibly adpated underneath your bespoke suit. If you tend to wear a cotton t-shirt under your shirt, swap that out for a thin merino wool t-shirt or borrow a base layer from your ski gear for invisible, added warmth whilst staying chic and tailored on the outside. The fabric next to the skin, in such cold conditions, should wick sweat away as well as keep you warm. Stay tuned for Combat the Cold Part 2 – Layering With a Waistcoat. and Part 3 – Bespoke Overcoats.