Simon Crompton for Permanent Style

At the end of last year I began a project to create a versatile top coat with Sartoria Vergallo – the Italian tailor based in Varese that I have used twice in the past, for a navy cashmere suit and a silk houndstooth jacket.

The aim of the coat was to create something that could be worn over both tailoring and knitwear, so it needed to be cut quite close over a jacket and be adjustable at the waist. I also wanted it to function with the collar up, ideally buttoning at both the chest and chin.

Gianni, the cutter at Varese, is very adaptable – along with his fitting skill and excellent value, it is among the reasons I turn to him. He suggested a shirt-shoulder, as used on Neapolitan jackets. This would enable the coat to sit over both a jacket’s padding and my sweater-clad shoulders more easily. He also put no padding whatever in the coat’s shoulders themselves, just canvas.

Next, the waist. It is not easy to create an adjustable belt on the back of a coat without having unused buttonholes showing, which is a little ugly. My camel coat I had made at Graham Browne had a lose strip of material that fastened onto buttons, which was both a little simple and left the unused buttons exposed.

Simon Crompton for Permanent StyleSimon Crompton for Permanent Style

Our solution was to have one show button (left, in the image above). Behind that button are two poppers that enable the belt to be moved across. You can achieve the same thing with small, hidden buttons on the back of the belt, but that is harder to adjust when wearing the coat. As you can see, the right-hand side then adjusts as expected, with one buttonhole and two buttons.

This solution has worked very well in the two months I have been wearing the coat. I can even loosen the belt when I get on a bike, for example, and tighten it again when I get off at the other end.

Simon Crompton for Permanent Style

We also included top and bottom pleats as per the Martingale style. The bottom pleat buttons up, and is made entirely with folded material. Many tailors cut the cloth in order to make it easier to construct.

On to the front of the coat. It is a one-button shape, but cut so that the lapels fasten at the chin, using the lapel buttonhole. The problem with such a design is usually that the lapels bow outwards between the two fastenings. Even a three-button coat or jacket, as my Caliendo one is, has this problem.

Of course, if you place another regular button between waist and chin, there would be a buttonhole in the lapel, which is not ideal. (You can see that effect on my Cifonelli tweed.) Gianni’s solution was to place a small button beneath one lapel, and a loop of silk on the other side, with a keeper so it could be tucked flush to the cloth.

Simon Crompton for Permanent Style

As you can see, this functions well in keeping the jacket together. It is also a nice and subtle style detail. However, the silk is a little too flimsy to be used easily and cannot be fastened one-handed. We did try a strip of the overcoat cloth but that was too thick. We’re working on alternatives.

The only other thing I will change at some point is the lapel buttonhole. Gianni’s finisher made a good stab at a Milanese, but I hadn’t considered that it would become distorted when used. A regular buttonhole is better for functionality.

The cloth is original Loden, which is best known for its use in the deeply vented Loden-style overcoats. It is a dense cloth with a short nap that gives a more rigid feel to the coat. As with a heavy worsted, it looks particularly lovely when tailored bespoke, flowing cleanly over the chest and back.

Gianni charges €2000 for such a coat.   

*UPDATE*
I forgot to add that Gianni also suggested a vertical slit for the left in-breast pocket. This has worked extremely well, as it enables me to reach in and get my wallet without unbuttoning the mid-lapel loop… 

Simon Crompton for Permanent Style

 

Photography: Jack Lawson

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
74 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marc

Very nice Simon! The fit, the details, the belt on the back… Congrats!

Anonymous

This is a proper coat, with some proper tailoring, that can get proper use and at a proper price. MORE LIKE THIS!

Anonymous

Would love some more pictures/details/information on use about those buttoned pleats as well please!

Massimo

Dear Friend Simon
Your Coat is wonderfull, and among various and “exquisite” details, I particularly love the button at the same height of breast pocket that closes the coat,….wonderfull! Another thing,…what a splendid shoes!!!!! Coulg You gently tell me who is the shoemaker or brand? Best Regards, Bertoni Massimo (Italy)

Massimo

Dear Simon,
….many thanks for your (fast) reply. I’m waiting for your post about your wonferull shoes. Thanks again. Best Regards, Bertoni Massimo (Italy)

Scott Fisher

Simon,
The Loden fabric is the perfect shade of dark green. It’s very difficult to find a proper Loden coat. Can you recomend any company that makes attractive and well made Loden outerwear? Years ago I found one in a shop in Vail,Colorado and didn’t buy it immediately and came back a few days later and it was gone. That was a big mistake and I haven’t seen one since that I liked even half as well.

IM

A very good coat by the looks – did he really only charge you 2000 euros for it? A bit of a bargain if that’s all you had to pay!

JW

Hello Simon,

Is that a mirror shine on those G&Gs?

Chris

I loved the video you did for Harrods, would love to see you do some videos to see some movement/better appreciation of the cloth. I suspect you’re not the exhibitionist required for such indulgences malheureusement…

Rabster

Love the coat !
The shoulders and the exact length are superb features.
Also, I notice your trouser length is almost above the shoe . Do you prefer this to the normal 1 break at the front and no break at the back ?

Saumil

Hi Simon, really nice details. How about flat waxed lace for the button hole?

Andreas

That is one amazing piece of work. I love it.

Scotto

I love the “functioning” lapels. I’m a believer in form follows function and I’ve always assumed this is why they existed in the first place. This is a feature that I’ve always wanted in my coats, but never had the courage to ask for (out of fear it would result in a lapel shape that was not well proportioned).

Anyway, a big thanks for documenting your journey to the same end. I’m taking notes to avoid some of your pitfalls.

Hristo

Hello Simon,
I am interested in this topic about the working lapel holes too. I need a warm jacket, so buttoning all the way up is a good idea.
But I am somehow confused about how should the solution look like.
-> As far as I understand you are not that happy with the result with the Caliendo jacket (“bow outwards between the two fastenings”).
-> and you don’t like the look of the buttonhole in the lapel of the Cifonelli jacket. (“buttonhole in the lapel, which is not ideal”)
-> And you experiment with this silk loop in the top coat from Vergallo which shows that you look for solution different than the Caliendo, Cifonelli and Vergallo jackets.

Maybe you could explain your experiences with such jackets that button all the way up deeper so that there are no confusions.
And by the way is this actually a classic design? Are there jackets from the 30s-40s that button that way?

Actually I have chosen a fabric (500 g Fox Brothers 100% wool) and would have already ordered a jacket similar to the Vergallo one if I was not that confused.

Gio

Dear Simon,

I am becoming an avid reader of your blog and I would like to ask you a question I have so far been unable to answer satisfactorily.

As an Italian, I would be keen to explore the tailors of my home country. Besides the predominance of shirt shoulders in Naples, what regional differences will I find? Is there a go-to source about the history of bespoke clothing in Italy?

Thanks in advance and keep up the excellent work.

Kind regards,

Gio

Ken KLEIMAN

Hi simon
Great coat
Can you supply the name and mfg of the loden fabric?
Ken

Christoph

May i ask how you are getting on with the coat in daily life? I.e., is it one of those things you wear every time you have the opportunity to?

Oskar

What would you say is the weight of this cloth, roughly? I have been looking at some Austrian Loden mills and they offer every weight from 280g to 1000g. Thank you

Tony S

Hi Simon,

Genius solution for the belt. It looks really well. My issue is I cannot understand how it works. One button holes and two buttons? But I can see two button holes. Also, by poppers, do you mean the tiny metal snap fastener? I am trying to steal that idea for my first topcoat. Glad if you can take some time to explain a bit.

Also, do you think 17oz is a decent weight for topcoat? I can take cold weather easily but try to avoid something too thin for coat from aesthetic reason.

Thank you.

Tony

Thanks. Simon for your reply. For some reason, the notify-me-when-there-is-reply seems doesn’t work. So I almost missed your reply. Before I saw your reply, my tailor recommended the same mechanism for the left side too. So, also one button hole and 2 buttons. Any reason your prefer false button and snap?

Tony

Simon, I got your point. You are really a picky customer in a good way. Tailors must hate you but you educate us become a more sophisticated consumer! My tailor joked it sound funny to have fake button but then add a snap. But I convinced him to follow anyway without knowing the underline reason you just mentioned. He is also confident to find some thicker silk thread for the chest button and I will wait to see the result. I also stole the idea of a vertical (my tailor will do incline) inside pocket. Can’t wait to see the end product.

The notify me function still does work for me. I even checked the junk box.

Tony

Sorry. Still doesn’t work I meant.

KN

hi simon, i’d like to have a new overcoat made, one for use in purely casual settings. so i would never be wearing a jacket beneath it, only knitwear. as such, i would like the coat to have soft shoulders and be relatively unstructured. in particular, i would like to have a fabric with a great deal of texture (but in a mostly solid color) to make it all the more causal. do you have any recommendations for very textured fabrics for such a casual overcoat? i do not know if they made men’s overcoats in a boucle weave but that is the level of texture i am talking about.

FCS

Dear Simon,

I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, and firstly wanted to express my thanks for the work you’ve put into it, the website has been a great resource for me. I was hoping you could answer some questions for me on Vergallo. I’ve decided to take the step up to bespoke after several years of RTW and MTM with somewhat mixed results. I’m getting a SB 3-roll-2 navy suit and a DB navy wool overcoat cut by Gianni and have my first appointment with them in May.
Here are my questions:
Is an 11oz cloth enough to wear the suit year round except hottest time in Summer? (living in Munich, so it can get quite cold in Winter)

Regarding cloth for the overcoat: Is a 1000 gram cloth too much for a really warm overcoat, and is it better to get pure wool or a wool/cashmere mix?

Regarding your loden top coat from Vergallo: are you still happy with the back pleat/two button arrangement to loosen/tighten the coat, and the shoulder without padding just canvas? I would also like to be able to wear my coat over a jacket but also with knitwear.

For the buttons I can initially rely on Gianni’s suggestion, and if I don’t like his choice, I can provide buttons sourced by me at a later stage, right?

Finally, I am also thinking about trying the classic bespoke service with Whitcomb and Shaftesbury in London for a second (possibly warmer) one-button navy suit. Any suggestions for cloth aside from classic worsted?

Many thanks in advance

FCS

Great, thanks Simon.
Yes, I was thinking about flannel for the warmer W&S commission, but I am a little worried about carded flannel wearing out too fast. From your experience is my concern justified? worsted flannel is missing that lovely texture though which is why would like the carded variety. I very much liked your W&S air force blue flannel, by the way.

Another quick question on Vergallo: In my email correspondence with them they suggested an appointment duration of around 45 min for the first meeting. Admittedly I am new to the bespoke process, but this seems very short for picking fabrics for overcoat, suit, shirts (also getting two), and doing the measurements, no?

Thanks again

Peter

Simon did you ever come to a solution on the top button fastening? My thought was a strip of leather would work well.

Gavin

Hi Simon

Inspired by the beautiful creations on PS. I am considering dipping my toe into the world of bespoke with a bespoke shirt from Sartorio Vergallo.

Could you please share your thoughts on the cut, make and cloth selection of their shirts?

Many Thanks,

Gavin

Anonymous

Im looking to have an everyday overcoat made to get through New York winters. It mostly will be worn over a suit. I’m also looking for a hardy cloth that will withstand the rigors of everyday wear. Would you recommend loden or pardessus or something else? What weight do you recommend?

Anonymous

Thanks for the response. Do you recommend any particular wool in that weight? It sounds like loden would fit the bill, but not sure if it’s available in that weight. Also, I’m deciding between GB and Solito to make it. I know you like your GB overcoat, but you also said Solito make beautiful overcoats (though I don’t think you’ve had one made). Any recommendations between the two for an overcoat?

Hugh

Simon,

I’m a bit late to this, but I am looking for a similar, go-to, hard wearing overcoat (winters in Chicago). I am hoping for it to be more casual that can be worn over suits as opposed to more formal that can be worn over knitwear, if that makes sense.

In addition to loden, what are your thoughts on tweed for something like this? I love the depth of color and texture in tweeds.

Thank you,
Hugh

André

Could you elaborate more on the number of buttons? For this coat, you have chosen one front button. Why? And how would it change with more buttons? I thank you very much.

Paul

Lovely coat. What is the length? You’ve written quite a bit about the length of an overcoat, and critiquing how most are too short. What’s a good length for a topcoat? This appears to be shorter than most of the others you have.

Paul

Thanks Simon. On other posts you are quite clear that both topcoats and overcoats need to be the proper length. Are there any coats that can break this rule (i.e. be shorter?) I’m thinking in particular the pea coat, which is military style. If a pea coat can be shorter, why can’t some coats be mid thigh? Just wondering your rationale.

Lastly, are there any RTW topcoats/overcoats that you recommend?

Christos

Hi Simon,
i have had a discussion with my tailor about what material and weight to use for adding warmth to an overcoat / coat i am commissioning right now. It is a loden at about 580 gr. I am putting this question under your Vergallo overcoat because it is similar in material and weight to mine. Does your overcoat or any other of your coats have any lining, underlining, interlining (sorry, but i am not so familiar with this terminology) or similar to add warmth? What kind of material and weight would be suitable here? Would you recommend it at all? Or should someone simply go for a heavier / warmer outer clothe at first time? My Tailor was talking about a layer of woolen or cotton flannel or even a layer of polyester could be used! And only for the chest area, he said, because if that area is kept warm it is usually enough. How is your Vergallo overcoat regarding warmth?
Best,

Robert

Simon, this topic is likely inactive however I’d like to ask a question about Loden material and the traditional Alpine style sportcoat. Can that Bavarian/Austrian style jacket (not ceremonial like those worn at Trachtenverein/Schutzenfest) be worn on weekends or casually without looking like a costume? The buttons, embroidery, and accent colors would need to be toned down considerably. My wife and I recently watched “The Sound of Music”. The nicely-fitted, conservative Loden jackets (charcoal, navy, green) worn by the male characters appealed to me. It makes me curious to have one made – not an overcoat, but a sportcoat. In your opinion, could such a geographic/period specific style be pulled off without looking too affected?

Anonymous

Simon, Appreciate your learned input and I’ll take that advice. It’s easy to watch a movie and imagine yourself getting away with the same style. I felt similar when I watched the Thomas Crown Affair (1968) with the bespoke suits and cheeky accessorizing that Steve McQueen pulled off.
Anyway, your point is well-taken that this type of jacket would be targeted at occasions such as an Austrian-themed Festival, German Octoberfest, or when wanting to look like a tourist while visiting the Alps! Many thanks Simon.

JCMT

Hi Simon,

Could you share photoa of vertical slit, I am interested in making a same coat, so I want to know every details, thank you very much.

Kostis

Hi Simon . Congratulations about your site the work you are doing . May i ask you to advise me what is the use of an adjustable belt at the back of a coat ? Thank you.

Scott

Simon, can a decorative belt be removed by a competent tailor? I’ve seen some great looking overcoats that I liked except for having a half belt in the back.

Anonymous

So technically with a bespoke jacket you don’t really need a belt?

Which 2 overcoats in your wardrobe do you wear most Simon?

Anonymous

Hi Simon, how often and when do you still wear your single-breasted coats? Not sure if I should buy one.