A Guide to Fabric Weights

March 23rd, 2016

The beauty of custom tailoring is that you can create a garment that is perfect for your individual needs; the perfect color, the perfect texture, and most importantly, the perfect weight.

It’s not just about the climate in your part of the world, it’s also about your body type and personal preferences. Some guys (usually thicker/heavier guys) run hot and prefer lightweight fabrics that breathe and wick away moisture, so they don’t get sweaty. Other guys (usually thinner guys) run cold and find heavier fabrics to be more comfortable. Ultimately, the key to great tailoring is comfort. If you’re going to invest in a quality garment, it should be one that you feel great in, look forward to wearing, and can get the most use out of long-term.

This is why we include the fabric weight for each of our garments and advise each of our clients on the perfect fabric(s) for them. Fabric weight is determined by the actual physical weight of one running yard (tailoring fabrics are traditionally 60″ wide, although some mills do produce cloths on narrower, and sometimes wider, looms). Natural fabrics (produced by plants and animals) have incredible climate control properties – that’s why we make all of our jackets without a lining. This allows the cloth to breathe, wick away moisture and naturally regulate body temperature.

So as you prepare to start building your long-term wardrobe, here’s a break-down of the typical fabric weights offered in traditional menswear.

7 Ounces

fabriccloseups (3 of 8)

Seven ounces is about as lightweight as a tailoring fabric gets. This tropical linen is so light and refined, it would make a comfortable shirt. This is the lightest suit in my personal collection. I usually save it for really hot days. It’s a summer-specific cloth, although there’s no reason you can’t wear it year-round if you live in a tropical location like LA. Nothing says leisure better than a perfectly wrinkled linen.

8 Ounces

fabriccloseups (7 of 8)

An eight ounce cloth (like our Rust Hopsack or Silk Tweed Houndstooth) is best suited for the Spring & Summer seasons – although an earthy color can easily be worn long into the Fall (especially if you have the right overcoat). There are some awesome unique blends in the 8 ounce category, such as wool/silk/linen which we like to refer to as the “holy trinity” of lightweight tailoring.

9 Ounces

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A nine ounce fabric is often known as a “year-round” cloth, although it leans more toward lightweight than heavyweight. For this reason, it’s a popular choice for guys who “run hot” and want to get the most out of their suit purchase. Our graphite nailhead is a great example – you can see from the drape and sheen that it’s a lightweight cloth, but there’s no reason you can’t throw a coat over it for the cold days of F/W.

10 Ounces


Ten ounces is also a great weight for a “4 season” suit, although it can lean slightly to the heavier side. The challenge with many “4 season” fabrics is that they often lack the texture of a more seasonal cloth, which can make a suit slightly less versatile as seperates. For that reason, I often look for 10 ounce fabrics that have an interesting weave (like our navy hopsack) to give the garment maximum versatility as a business suit or casual sportcoat & trousers.

11 Ounces

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Eleven ounces is where we start getting into the more rugged, textured stuff. Our forest tweed (which is almost sold out – only enough fabric left for 3 more suits!) is a great example. Just look at the depth here with specs of khaki, tan and orange woven into this deep green wool. Heavier fabrics like this also tend to be more rugged and durable, making for a garment that can serve as a long-term anchor to your Fall/Winter wardrobe.

12 Ounces

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Twelve ounces is where magic starts happening. You get into fabrics with incredible visual depths and hand feels.Think flannels, tweeds, cashmeres, camel hairs, etc. The real soft stuff that makes you actually look forward to the cold Winter season. Typically these heavyweight fabrics also make for great seperates. Take our lush Hollywood Flannel, for example, it’s a smashing cold weather suit and the jacket can serve as a light coat for most of the Fall and early Spring.

If you have questions about fabrics, tailoring, our garments or our fitting process – please contact us anytime.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Alex Crawford.

  • cam

    hey dan, regarding the notched lapel on the 7 and 10oz. i notice the angle sort of pitches upwards say versus the 12oz. is there a certain term for this?

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      Now that’s an eye for detail! The smaller notch is sometimes called a “fishmouth” in old school menswear, although it doesn’t usually get that name until it’s quite a bit smaller (lapel and collar step closer to each other, making a smaller “pie slice” if you will…)

  • JoeFromTexas

    How big is the difference between the 8 and 9 oz? Or does it depend more on the openness of the weave?

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      About one ounce. Ha!
      It’s a fairly subtle difference, and to your point, you have to take into account the weave, and the blend. All of these factors are going to determine how the fabric breathes/insulates. For example, a 9 ounce wool hopsack is going to let more air pass through it than an 8oz twill cotton… Cheers Joe!

      • JoeFromTexas

        About one ounce. LOL. I was thinking about the initial navy hopsack in the first round (at 8 oz) which is sold out and the current “stretch” wool in navy (at 9 oz) and curious if the difference was significant.

        • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

          The 9oz stretch wool is UNREAL. It’s the most comfortable fabric I’ve ever used for tailoring… It feels even lighter than other fabrics of the same weight grade, due to the way it flexes and moves with the body. It’s especially effective for larger guys, and guys who like to cut their garments extra slim… Hit me if you have any more questions!

  • TO

    Nicely done ! :):) …definitely a re-reader

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      THX TO!

  • archie_stanton

    Great info, Dan – esp for us sweating it out in the tropics. But it seems hard to locate the lighter-weight choices in most retailers.

    Any info on the jackets you’re showing off in the 7 & 8oz entries up there?

  • Miguel

    Love the article Dan, great information about fabrics.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      THX Miguel!