sharskin gray

Sator

Honors Member
Is Sharkskin American English for Pick-and-Pick?

Outfitters may be selling suits as "sharkskin" that are not strictly sharkskin - or is pick-and-pick actually different from sharkskin? Also, why call it sharkskin if it doesn't look like the skin of a shark? Maybe sheen/shine is the wrong word. Gabardine I would describe as having a shine, but the effect is quite different from what I call sharkskin. It catches the light, and has more depth than gabardine, which looks flat.

That's another fair point. This one has been debated to death before both here and on the London Lounge, whether sharkskin and pick-and-pick are the same. Nobody in previous threads was able to quote published sources to state they are different. V&A clearly state that they are the same.

The only technical details I could find in print I have already quoted in this thread ie that they are both two toned twills (which is to say a 4 ply or 2/2 harness weave). The argument previously put forward was that the finish of a sharkskin was different to that of a pick-and-pick. And certainly the way a cloth is finished could account for differences in smoothness and sheen. However, apart from hearsay on the internet I have never seen it stated in print that this was the difference between them - indeed printed sources state that they are same thing.
 

whistle_blower71

Super Member
In praise of the shiny suit...

What is the problem with suit cloths having a subtle sheen? I have a mid-blue pick-and-pick/sharkskin suit from Woodhouse that has a wonderful finish to it that does not look like it is wearing out or only suitable for nightclubs.
This is achieved in the finishing process (not the weaving) where the cloth is heavily pressed under paper. It is a traditional method.

W_B
 

dragon

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Thanks for all the replys. I'm not looking for a pick and pick pattern. What I really wanted was a light to a very light solid grey suit.

I contacted a tailor in HK and he was going to send me some swatches and sharkskin was one of them and I thought, maybe foolishly, that it was referring to the color of the shark's skin. I was concerned also with the sheen
which I don't want.

either way I will post the swatches once I get them.
 

fullgrain

Senior Member
Thanks for all the replys. I'm not looking for a pick and pick pattern. What I really wanted was a light to a very light solid grey suit.

Now you tell us.:icon_smile:

Sator, no offense taken, it's all in the name of better knowledge. [And this is much tamer than the "what is bespoke" threads.]But the source you gave us, Dressing the Man You Love, which does equate sharkskin w/ pick & pick, also states that sharkskin does have a sheen, for the reasons Rich stated. :icon_smile:

p. 80: Sharkskin A worsted fabric with a slight sheen, sharkskin is generally found in darker shades with additional highlights created by the interchange of dark and light threads.

Looking at old fabric books and patents on the web, yep, there is nothing about sheen, and the weaving pattern does sound just like pick and pick. Perhaps the definition evolved in the US as new fabrics and finishes became available?
 
Last edited:
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

IMPORTANT: BEFORE POSTING PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF THE LAST POST OF THIS THREAD. IF IT'S VERY OLD, PLEASE CONSIDER REGISTERING FIRST, AND STARTING A NEW THREAD ABOUT THIS TOPIC.