What is a thread count? Super numbers explained

10 March 2016
What is a thread count? Super numbers explained

If you’ve bought a tailor made suit or are looking for one currently then chances are you’ve come across the terms thread count and super numbers. With many sources probably expecting you to already know their significance without explaining it you’ve probably been left wondering what they are and why they’re so important to the suit you buy? To help you through the process we’ve looked at what they mean and how they should impact your buying decision below.

What is a thread count/super number?

To begin with the terms thread count and super number can be used interchangeably as they both refer to the same thing. The thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads in one square inch of a fabric. This ultimately affects the feel and durability of the suit – with a higher number providing a softer feel but making it less durable and a lower thread count resulting in a suit more capable of withstanding the demands of regular wear.

Which super numbers are better?

Many tailor made suits start at a thread count of 80 and can stretch to over 200. However the most commonly worn are those ranging between 100tc and 140tc. Fabrics over super 100s are considered to be quality materials however don’t expect your tailor to snarl if a 80tc fabric takes your fancy.

While a higher thread count produces a finer material, it’s impossible to say which thread count is better. As with many things in fashion, it’s very much dependent on the individual and the purpose of their suit. Here’s a quick breakdown of what to consider when buying your suit:

How often it’ll be worn – How regularly you are planning on wearing the suit should be one of the biggest determining factors in which thread count you opt for. If you’re buying a suit which you’re planning to wear on a daily basis then we’d highly recommend a lower thread count (in the region of 80-120). On the other hand if you’re getting the suit for a one off occasion or know it’ll be worn very infrequently and you really want to look the part  then you’re open to opting for a fabric with a higher thread count, with somewhere in the reaches of 160 or 180 being suitable.

Wrinkles/creases – Fabrics with a higher thread count are more likely wrinkle during their wear. Therefore if you’re going to be sat down quiet often then we’d suggest going for a lower thread count which will be far more resistant to creasing. A higher thread count may be suited more to warmer months which will allow you to remove your blazer to avoid creasing it.

So you’re probably starting to understand the relevance of a thread count, well here’s a little curve ball for you. A high thread count doesn’t always guarantee a superior feeling material. The quality of the yarn itself plays a major role in the final finish of the fabric. Therefore it’s possible for a 120tc cloth to actually feel smoother than one that is 160tc.

This is why we’d recommend you get a first hand feel for the different materials in order to develop a better understanding of what they actually feel like under the hand. At Hemingway we have a choice of over 3,000 cloths which you can come and see firsthand before having your suit crafted. You can visit us in Leeds or our Tailors on Savile Row, or get in touch with us on 0800 5423406 if you’re interested in finding out more.

Abbas Mahmood
Abbas Mahmood
As a lifelong purveyor of fashion, Abbas has been writing for Hemingway Tailors for 2 years, keeping readers up to date with style trends and delivering a regular insight into the world of tailoring.
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