Because I aim to build a minimalist wardrobe, I’m extremely selective about fabrics.
Choosing the wrong cloth is costly. If you want a winter cloth but make light-weight flannels — game over. Buying twice feels crummy.
To start, I pore over tailors’ swatch books and request many swatches.
When the swatches arrive, I carry them with me or lay them on my window sill. That way I see how the colors reflect in light and dark.
Having the fabrics within eyeshot also helps you think about them constantly.
The fabric must meet all three factors:
If you are commissioning a pair of trousers, visualize all the jackets and outerwear you own.
Take your swatches and set them against those garments.
Also choose a conventional color that will blend in. True story — I spent months searching for a perfect mid-grey flannel.
If this year’s colors don’t suit me, I’d rather wait for next year’s.
Some guys (or even tailors) will tell you there isn’t much difference between a 9 oz and 11 oz, 11 oz and 13, and so on. So pick whichever cloth you prefer.
Ignore that advice.
The difference is slight, but it’s there.
More weight = better drape. But also consider your climate.
Knowing the weight of a pair of trousers you already own will help. It’s not a definite indicator since weaves vary, but you will learn whether you prefer lighter or heavier weights.
The weave should depend on your fabric’s function.
A summertime fabric will benefit from an open weave, allowing breezes passing through.
A tightly-woven cloth, however, will give your garment more drape. It’s less prone to wrinkling.
I still have a lot to learn about weave. But for you, feel and compare different swatches.
Negotiating these three factors, find a fabric that will suit your climate and preferences.
Selecting fabric is difficult, but very rewarding once you’re done and wearing an appropriate cloth.