Wash and wear is a term that came with the era of funk, the Jacksons and double knit. Catalog stores like JC Penney and Sears had knit-based suits that when worn could bring out your inner Travolta circa Saturday Night Fever. Remember that white suit paired with a black wing collar shirt that most likely came in nylon? Good thing fashion and textile have made advances over the years and suit fabrics have become lighter and breathable—kinder, in short. Recently, Z Zegna introduced a new suiting material which is a supple merino wool—material that can go in the machine, pulled out to dry, and worn immediately. It is employed in the TechMerino Wash&Go suit, my current obsession. The sleek look, think that of the sartorial devil Lucifer Morningstar in Netflix’s eponymous series, unleashes one’s inner demons.
It is but expected that such fabric innovation will emerge from Zegna whose history is rooted in fabrics, and who is now considered one of the major producers of fine wool fabrics. So, why am I—to use my editor’s words—geeking over this suit? What makes it special?
First, it’s all about lifestyle. As a traveler and suit wearer, I can appreciate the fact that you can actually just chuck it in the wash. Fold it in the specially designed carrier (to manage the creasing I surmise), and set it at 30 degrees (I need to actually do it) and hang it dry. It has all the elements of a wool suit sans the polyester content. Gildo Zegna, Group CEO of the label, notes on their press page that a light touch up or steam will remove some of the crease but it looks good even without doing so. The suit is made with a simple and unstructured matte fabric, in navy or charcoal grey, with a slim silhouette and low rise trousers. It provides the modern suit look, complete with traditional elements of fine men’s tailoring.
The second reason? It’s about performance. This isn’t your ordinary suit; it is made with with TechMerino. Merino is one of the finest wool out there! This fabric, once treated with special finishing techniques, ensures maximum comfort in dynamic situations where fit must facilitate the maximum movement of the body. This new line has all other qualities you’d expect from a performance fabric, like natural temperature control and breathability—partially due to the natural fiber, partially because of the finishes applied. It combines lightness, softness and breathability with outstanding performance, with no other fiber—natural or man-made—able to match all of wool’s benefits. It’s like joggers for grown men.
Now, would you spend 1,500USD for this (they’re now on sale over at Mr. Porter but sizes are amiss)? It is the cost of a Zegna suit, with all the details to answer the modern man’s necessities—wrinkles managed and all. Will it save you on dry cleaning? You can’t really use that as an excuse. It costs 800 pesos to dry clean a 2-piece suit, and you really don’t send your suit to the cleaners more than once or twice a year.
So why buy it? Because it’s a good piece of clothing, and can be the perfect go-to for those long- haul trips when you are sneaking for an upgrade. Or, to borrow from Lucifer Morningstar, because it will fulfill the desire of being well dressed.