In the realm of fine suiting, wool stands tall as the epitome of elegance and sophistication. Among its diverse variations, worsted wool reigns supreme, offering a spectrum of fabric qualities. Central to understanding worsted wool is grasping the concept of “super numbers,” which serve as a crucial determinant of fabric quality and characteristics.

Understand Wool by Understanding Super Numbers

Super numbers, denoted by terms like “super 100s” or “super 180s,” signify the fineness of the worsted wool fiber utilized in crafting the fabric. Essentially, the higher the super number, the finer the wool thread becomes. This metric is derived from the maximum number of hanks of wool that can be spun into one pound of wool. For instance, Super 100s wool signifies that 100 hanks, each 560 yards long, can be spun from one pound of wool.

Defining Worsted

Worsted wool, characterized by its smooth texture and durability, undergoes a meticulous combing process to align fibers parallelly, resulting in a sleek yarn. This combed yarn serves as the foundation for creating worsted wool fabric, known for its resilience and polished appearance.

How Super Numbers Were Developed

The evolution of super numbers traces back to the early 19th century when wool mill production and sheep breeding techniques were still nascent. Initially, super numbers ranging from 60s to 80s were deemed exceptional. However, advancements in manufacturing, particularly pioneered by English mills like Joseph Lumb and Sons, propelled the creation of higher-grade worsted wool, such as the groundbreaking Super 100s. Standardizing grading methods, like the Bradford System, ensured objective assessment of wool quality.

What Super Numbers Mean Today

Contemporary super numbers serve as indicators of wool fineness, with each number corresponding to a specific maximum fiber diameter in micrometers. Higher super numbers typically yield softer and more luxurious fabrics, while lower numbers offer sturdier options suitable for everyday wear. However, it’s essential to recognize that super numbers alone don’t determine fabric quality; factors like weave and yarn weight play significant roles as well.

Contrary to common perception, a higher super number doesn’t always guarantee a superior wearing experience. While finer fabrics may feel exquisite to the touch, they’re also more delicate and prone to wear and tear. Factors like fabric weight and weave influence thermal properties, with open weaves like fresco fabrics offering breathability despite their heavier weight.


Ultimately, selecting the ideal super number boils down to individual preferences, practical considerations, and occasion-specific requirements. While higher super numbers exude luxury, lower ones offer durability and resilience, making them better suited for daily wear. Emphasizing fit over super number ensures a well-tailored and stylish ensemble, regardless of fabric grade.

In essence, super numbers serve as valuable guides in navigating the intricate world of worsted wool suit fabric, offering insights into fabric characteristics and quality. However, they should be viewed as part of a broader assessment encompassing factors like fabric weight, weave, and personal preferences. By understanding super numbers, you unlock the key to crafting a wardrobe that seamlessly blends elegance with practicality, ensuring sartorial excellence in every ensemble.

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