The Guide: Hopsack
Without a doubt, “hopsack,” is a fun word to say. But it’s more than just a word: it’s also a fantastic fabric for suits and sportcoats.
Its name may sound unusual—until you hear the back story. Once upon a time in England, coarse fabrics with sturdy, open weaves were used to make sacks for carrying hops. Over time, this type of fabric became known simply as “hopsack.”
Though typically woven from wool, it’s not the fibers but the weaving that defines hopsack. Hopsack has a more open weave in which the alternating warp and weft are made visible, creating a basketweave pattern.
The subtle pattern only reveals itself upon very close inspection. But it affects the appearance of the garment in other ways. Suits and sportcoats made of hopsack will appear softer and more textural when compared to more tightly woven fabrics like twill.
This gives it a more naturally casual appearance, making it a great choice for a standalone sportcoat. That same quality also makes it easy to wear a hopsack suit jacket and trousers as separates.
The loose weave of hopsack also makes it less susceptible to wrinkling, and means that any wrinkles you may acquire will smooth out more easily.
For all that, you can thank those hardy hops harvesters of long ago.