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Written by Sonia Su
Mohair comes from the hair of Angora goats and is known for its luxurious, soft, and lustrous properties. Like high-end professional dress shirts, a mohair suit is a type of suit made from fabric that incorporates mohair fibers and is considered a sophisticated and extremely durable suit for men.
This article explains what is mohair, the unique properties of the expensive fabric, the history of mohair from 3000 BCE to today, the use of mohair in suits, how to wear mohair, and how to care for mohair wool.
Introduction to Mohair
Mohair wool, or simply mohair, is a luxurious and durable natural fiber that comes from the hair of the Angora goats. These goats are primarily raised in regions with a semi-arid climate, such as Turkey, South Africa, the United States, and others.
The name "mohair" is derived from the Arabic word "mukhayyar," which means "select" or "the best." This name suits the fiber well because mohair is known for its exceptional quality and softness.
The distinctive feature of mohair is its long, lustrous, and silky fibers, which have a natural sheen that reflects light beautifully. The fibers are remarkably lightweight, yet they provide excellent insulation, making mohair garments comfortable to wear in various weather conditions. It is often used in making luxurious clothing items, such as sweaters, scarves, and socks, as well as upholstery, blankets, and other home textiles.
Mohair's unique properties, including its strength, resilience, and ability to take dye colors exceptionally well, have contributed to its popularity in the textile industry. However, because of its exclusivity and premium quality, mohair products tend to be more expensive than items made from other shirt fibers like wool or acrylic.
It is essential to note that mohair should not be confused with "Angora wool," which comes from Angora rabbits, not Angora goats. Despite both being called "Angora," they are distinct fibers with different characteristics.
History of Mohair
The history of mohair dates back thousands of years and has its origins in the ancient region of Anatolia, which is now part of modern-day Turkey. The Angora goat, which produces mohair fiber, is believed to have originated in this area. The early history of mohair production is closely linked to the region's culture and economy.
The use of mohair can be traced back to at least 3000 BCE, where the fiber was utilized to make clothing and textiles. The ancient civilizations in the region recognized the valuable properties of mohair, such as its softness, warmth, and durability, which made it highly sought after for garments.
As trade routes expanded throughout history, mohair found its way to other parts of the world. By the 13th century, mohair textiles had reached Europe, and the material became popular among royalty and the aristocracy. Mohair was often used to create lavish garments, and it gained a reputation as a luxury fiber.
During the 19th century, mohair production experienced significant growth, particularly in South Africa. The country became a major producer of mohair and remains one of the leading suppliers to this day. Other countries such as the United States, Turkey, and Argentina also became significant producers of mohair during this period.
Mohair in the 20th Century
In the early 20th century, mohair's popularity continued to soar, especially in the fashion industry. The glamorous Hollywood scene of the 1930s further boosted mohair's reputation, as stars and celebrities were often seen wearing mohair garments.
"Electric boots and mohair suits" is a phrase from the lyrics of the song "Bennie and the Jets" by Elton John. The song was released in 1973 and became one of his most popular and enduring hits. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a fictional band called "Bennie and the Jets" and describe their flashy and eccentric style.
The line "electric boots" likely refers to colorful or bright boots that might have a futuristic or flashy appearance, while "mohair suits" refers to the luxurious and stylish suits made from mohair fabric. Together, these elements evoke a sense of glamor and extravagance, characteristic of the glam rock era of the early 1970s.
The song's catchy melody and unique sound, combined with its imaginative lyrics, have contributed to its lasting popularity and cultural impact. "Bennie and the Jets" remains a beloved classic in Elton John's discography and a well-known song in the history of rock music.
Animal Cruelty Concerns
In more recent times, mohair faced some challenges related to animal welfare concerns and ethical considerations. Some animal rights activists raised issues regarding the treatment of Angora goats and the methods of harvesting their hair. As a result, efforts have been made to improve the welfare standards for the goats and promote responsible and sustainable mohair production.
Today, mohair remains a highly desirable and sought-after luxury fiber in the textile industry. Advances in breeding and production techniques have further improved the quality of mohair, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for clothing and applications with other textiles.
Despite its long and storied history, mohair fabrics continue to capture the attention of fashion designers and consumers who appreciate its unique qualities and timeless appeal.
Use of Mohair Suits
Mohair suits are highly regarded for their elegant appearance, premium quality, and durable fabric. The addition of mohair fibers to the fabric gives the suit a distinct sheen and a lightweight feel. This makes mohair comfortable to wear and suitable for various formal or semi-formal occasions.
The mohair fibers in the suit fabric contribute to its breathability and resilience, ensuring that the suit retains its shape even with frequent wear. The fabric also has excellent draping capabilities, allowing the suit to have a refined and tailored look. These suits are available in various suit colors and patterns, and they are particularly well-suited for warm weather due to their breathable nature.
It's worth noting that while mohair is luxurious and aesthetically appealing, they are typically more expensive than suits made from conventional materials like standard wool or this blue cotton dress shirt.
Moreover, while mohair is highly desirable for its properties, some people might be sensitive to it, as with any natural fiber. However, when responsibly sourced and processed, mohair is considered a sustainable and eco-friendly material choice.
For those seeking a sophisticated and unique suit, mohair suits are a fantastic option that exudes elegance in men's office fashion and refinement.
How to Wear Mohair
Wearing mohair garments can add a touch of luxury and elegance to your outfit. Here are some tips on how to wear mohair:
- Choose Quality Garments: Look for well-made mohair pieces from reputable brands or designers. Quality mohair should feel soft and plush, and the fibers should be tightly woven.
- Consider the Occasion: Mohair is versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For a casual look, opt for mohair sweaters or cardigans paired with jeans or a skirt. For a more formal event, a mohair dress or suit can be an excellent choice.
- Layering: Mohair garments are great for layering. You can wear a mohair sweater over a shirt or blouse for added warmth and style during colder months.
- Color Coordination: Mohair comes in a wide range of colors, so choose hues that complement your skin tone and fit well with your existing wardrobe. Neutral suit colors like black, gray, or cream are classic choices that can easily be mixed and matched.
- Accessorize Thoughtfully: Since mohair has a luxurious and sometimes bold texture, consider pairing it with simple accessories to avoid overwhelming your look. Subtle jewelry and classic accessories can balance the overall outfit.
- Be Mindful of Shedding: Mohair fibers can shed, especially with newer garments. To minimize shedding, gently shake the garment before wearing it.
- Care Instructions: Check the care label for specific washing and maintenance instructions for your mohair garment. Generally, mohair should be hand-washed in cold water or dry-cleaned to preserve its quality.
- Seasonal Suitability: Mohair is an excellent choice for cooler months due to its insulating properties. It keeps you warm without being too heavy or bulky.
- Mix with Other Fabrics: Combine mohair with other fabrics for interesting and stylish outfits. For instance, pair a mohair sweater with leather leggings or a mohair cardigan with a silk dress.
- Confidence is Key: Wear mohair with confidence! Its unique texture and sheen make it a standout fabric, so embrace its luxurious appeal and enjoy wearing it.
Remember that mohair is a natural fiber, and some people may be sensitive to it. If you have any allergies or skin sensitivities, it's a good idea to try the fabric in a small area before investing in a mohair garment.
Overall, a mohair suit can be a fabulous addition to your wardrobe, offering comfort, style, and a touch of sophistication when paired with the right quality formal dress shirts.
How to Care for Mohair Wool
Caring for mohair garments requires some special attention to preserve their softness, luster, and longevity. Follow these essential care tips to keep your mohair items in excellent condition:
- Hand Wash or Gentle Machine Wash: It's best to hand wash mohair items in cold or lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Avoid using hot water, as it can damage the fibers and cause shrinkage. If you prefer to use a washing machine, choose a delicate or wool cycle with cold water.
- Avoid Aggressive Washing: When washing mohair, avoid excessive agitation or wringing, as this can lead to felting or matting of the fibers. Gently swirl the garment in the water and press it gently to remove excess water.
- Use a Softener or Conditioner: Adding a small amount of hair conditioner to the final rinse can help maintain the softness and luster of mohair. Alternatively, you can use a wool-specific softener designed for delicate fibers.
- Dry Flat: After washing, reshape the mohair garment to its original dimensions and lay it flat on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid hanging mohair items, as the weight of the water can cause stretching.
- Keep Away from Direct Heat: Never place mohair items near direct heat sources like radiators or heaters, as excessive heat can damage the fibers and cause them to lose their softness and sheen.
- Store with Care: When storing mohair items, fold them neatly and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid tightly packing them, as this can lead to wrinkles and distortion.
- Brushing: Gently brush mohair garments with a soft-bristled clothing brush to remove any loose fibers or surface debris. This helps maintain the fabric's appearance and prevents pilling.
- Keep Away from Moths: Like other natural fibers, mohair is susceptible to damage from clothes moths. To protect your garments, store them with moth repellents or cedar chips in the storage area.
- Spot Cleaning: If you notice a small stain on your mohair garment, spot-clean it immediately with a gentle soap solution and a soft cloth. Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can damage the fibers.
- Professional Cleaning: For more extensive cleaning or for valuable mohair items, it's best to seek professional dry cleaning services specializing in delicate fabrics.
By following these care tips, you can keep your mohair garments in top-notch condition and enjoy their luxurious feel and appearance for years to come. Proper care ensures that your mohair items remain a cherished part of your wardrobe.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mohair Suits
Is mohair good for suits?
Mohair can be an excellent choice for suits, particularly for special events or warm weather. It provides an elegant appearance, comfort, and durability. However, due to its higher cost and less versatility compared to wool, it may not be the ideal choice for everyone. Ultimately, the decision comes down to individual preferences, the intended purpose of the suit, and budget considerations.
What does a mohair suit mean?
A mohair suit is a suit made from fabric that includes mohair fibers, offering a luxurious, sophisticated, and comfortable clothing option for those seeking a premium garment.
Why is mohair so expensive?
Mohair commands a higher price compared to more common fibers due to several factors, which include its limited supply based on the availability of Angora goats, which primarily thrive in specific regions with semi-arid climates; labor-intensive production involving Angora goat grooming by hand or machine; high-quality attributes of exceptional softness, luster, and strength; and its status as a luxury material.
Is mohair a luxury fabric?
Yes, mohair is considered a luxury fabric. It is highly valued in the textile industry for its luxurious and desirable qualities, making it a sought-after material for various high-end products.