Odradek

Elite Member
I'm looking at a very nice vintage tweed overcoat on ebay. In fact it's been in my watch list for almost a year I bet.
It has the lapel of a well know London department store, no sadly no more.

The fabric content however is only 80% wool, with 10% polyester, 5% nylon and 5% "other fibres".
Lovely looking coat, but is this material a bad idea?
Obviously, it was the miracle fibre back in the day.
 

Quetzal

Suspended
Why not? As eagle2250 stated, "for the right price". If you like it, then buy it (clearly you do; I've watched MANY things on eBay, but not for as long as you have!).

Yes, some synthetics are fine, just as long as it looks right and is not ridiculously stiff. I found a suit (it's a recent thread about shoulders) that had 1% Spandex for a "comfort stretch" that I would have kept had the shoulders not have been so wide, and then there was that tweed/linen sport coat with a similar synthetic blend, though I left it behind because it was too tight in the waist and it's a sin to wear wool/linen blended clothing. Heck, even some of my ties have synthetics in them (30s-60s synthetics, mind you; rayon, darcon, acetate, and the like).

In your case with the overcoat, I personally wouldn't; I become terribly cold, and I don't want to take the risk.

-Quetzal
 

Shaver

Suspended
Your answer is found in 'on your watch list for a year'.

With very few exceptions, avoid polyester like the plague.
I am inclined to agree. As a general rule synthetic\natural mixes are not the material of choice for manufacturers of well-made decent quality items.
 
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Odradek

Elite Member
I am inclined to agree. As a general rule synthetic\natural mixes are not the material of choice for manufacturers of well-made decent quality items.
True enough these days, but this coat is from Simpsons Department Store in Piccadilly, London, which as far as I know went out of business in the late 1980's.
In the 60's and 70's synthetics were all the rage, even with top level manufacturers. Last year in a wardrobe in my father's house I found an old suit I bought years ago in Texas. Hickey Freeman no less, and it proudly stated that it was made with Corrigan Twill, which turns out to be a wool/poly blend.




Yes, I've been watching it a while, but always held off buying because of the poly content. Still on the fence.
Maybe the approaching winter will bring forth more nice coats for sale.
 

Balfour

Suspended
Simpson's was still going in the late 90s.

But 'what was the rage in the 70s' is not really a lodestar.

You mentioned in another thread you've lots of stuff you hardly ever have an appropriate occasion to wear without getting odd looks. In that vein, my advice would be quality over quantity. That would be my preference even when CBD is expected.
 

Odradek

Elite Member
Simpson's was still going in the late 90s.

But 'what was the rage in the 70s' is not really a lodestar.

You mentioned in another thread you've lots of stuff you hardly ever have an appropriate occasion to wear without getting odd looks. In that vein, my advice would be quality over quantity. That would be my preference even when CBD is expected.
True enough.
 

cdavant

Elite Member
A little synthetic is not a bad thing. It will wrinkle less and might wear better. There isn't a lot of money to be saved by adding a bit of synthetic to the blend, and most makers add it for a reason.
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
The 80%/20% blend should be just fine. Were I in your shoes, I would, without hesitation, buy it...for the right price, of course! ;)
5% "other" fibers might worry me. Woof! :eek2:

But some synthetic blends can be very useful. High quality cotton/poly in the right proportions can be very useful. Various elastic filament that is used as a very small contribution to cloth can provide extra elasticity where needed to cloth. And adding nylon can produce very tough, high performance cloth for outdoor wear.
 

momsdoc

Connoisseur
5% "other" fibers might worry me. Woof! :eek2:
But canine fibers are natural.

Actually, I once knew a nurse who had three large Newfoundlands who shed profusely. She would collect the long hairs and spin them into yarn which she would then use in her knitting of sweaters, working the yarn into the knit along with wool. I always wondered if her family smelled like wet dogs if they got caught in the rain.
 
Last autumn I spent literally months scouring stores and the internet trying to find the perfect overcoat, with 100% wool (or cashmere blend) being a key requirement. I ended up spending nearly twice my budget because I finally found one that I loved, and it had "Wool and Cashmere" stitched in big letters on the interior label. It wasn't until a few weeks later that I bothered to look at the mfgr's label and found that it was in fact 10% poly. I was pretty angry at first, but the poly is actually a specifically engineered fiber that is woven into the outer layer to enhance waterproofing. Water actually runs off the coat without penetrating the outer layer almost as if it was hitting a non-porous surface. The coat looks and feels great so I've come to accept and even like it.
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
Last autumn I spent literally months scouring stores and the internet trying to find the perfect overcoat, with 100% wool (or cashmere blend) being a key requirement. I ended up spending nearly twice my budget because I finally found one that I loved, and it had "Wool and Cashmere" stitched in big letters on the interior label. It wasn't until a few weeks later that I bothered to look at the mfgr's label and found that it was in fact 10% poly. I was pretty angry at first, but the poly is actually a specifically engineered fiber that is woven into the outer layer to enhance waterproofing. Water actually runs off the coat without penetrating the outer layer almost as if it was hitting a non-porous surface. The coat looks and feels great so I've come to accept and even like it.
Thank you for this!

This is a marvelous example that while natural fibers can be wonderful, synthetics can still be used to make them even better, not necessarily cheaper and worse.
 

Stubbly

Super Member
The fabric content however is only 80% wool, with 10% polyester, 5% nylon and 5% "other fibres".
Lovely looking coat, but is this material a bad idea?
My understanding is that a small amount of nylon, polyester, etc. can strengthen wool fabric.

More than once, I've ripped my overcoats at the stress points (e.g. pockets, vent, belt loops). So, I would welcome a quality wool/blend overcoat. An 80-20 blend sounds about right.
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
Where does this notion of synthetic materials/fibers being relegated to inferior garments come from?

Technical and synthetic materials are often the smart choice depending on function.

By the way, tell that to Loro Piana. Their blending of synthetic and natural fibers gives their outerwear incredible form and function.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
^^Alas, I fear that many of our natural fiber fabric purists, choosing to exclude anything but 100% pure whatever, are (as that old saw goes) "cutting off their own noses to spite their respective face(s)!" Two percent spandex in an otherwise pure fiber mix fabric can add great wearing comfort to a garment. Twelve to 15% polyester fibers mixed with the pure wool fibers in a fabric can result in an uber comfortable garment that remains comparatively wrinkle free and offers the wearer a better look! :teacha:
 
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