A guy’s first suit shouldn’t be cotton, but his favorite may well be. Unlike heavy wool flannels or breezy linens, cottons are not seasonal acts. They’ll never have quite the fineness of a worsted wool but, instead, they offer a multi-season alternative that’s casual, versatile and full of character.
Cotton suits age gracefully because they’re built to take a few knocks. Like good denim, they’re made with the expectation of fading, and are sometimes garment-washed to jump-start the process. Since they’re more laid-back by nature, they’re also ideal crossover garments for traveling. The jacket and pants can easily be worn separately throughout a trip and then reunited for a sharper look as needed.
Like wool, cotton can be brushed to create a rich, soft surface (think moleskin, a soft but hardy fabric, or corduroy, its leisurely, intellectual cousin). The material performs equally well in blends, with added wool for density and richness or silk for strength and luxurious sheen.
It’s sometimes assumed that cottons are best in summer but, seersucker aside, they’re even better on the heavier side. While you can enjoy a mid-weight cotton suit year-round in temperate cities, heftier cloths will shine from cool fall days until the end of spring. Here are ten ways to add cotton to your suit rotation.
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