My final jacket from Ferdinando Caraceni in Milan is superb in many ways, including fit, make and finish. The style, however, is interesting and not necessarily what I expected.
I started this project last year with Nicoletta Caraceni, the daughter of Ferdinando Caraceni who now runs the outfit in Milan. For those that don’t know the lineage, Ferdinando was no relation to the Caraceni that started the famous bespoke tailoring dynasty – Domenico – but was, more importantly, the cutter for Domenico and then Augusto for 29 years.
Nicoletta is not a cutter, but she has a passion for perfection that I would liken to Lorenzo Cifonelli or Joe Morgan. It is this that attracted me to her workshop, and made my decision to commission a jacket from her rather than another of the Milanese tailors.
The fit of the final result is great. Particular attention was paid to the collar where it hugs the neck – as it should be – and then the smooth run of the lapels down the body. Those lapels are slightly wider than average (3.75 inches) but still balanced to the chest width.
The waist has a nice suppression but it’s not as slim as some. Indeed, at the final fitting it was really only the waist that we needed to change. Nicoletta has a slight bias towards a clean chest and back, rather than one that is closer to the body but risks pulling (particularly with movement).
This balance between a clean finish and close fit is a fine one, and most tailors err one way or the other. Modern tailors I have tried tend towards being as slim as possible, for example (Timothy Everest, Thom Sweeney) while more traditional ones (Henry Poole, Terry Haste) give slightly more room. It’s not consistent a rule though – both Anderson & Sheppard and Richard Anderson ran quite tight.
The sleeve is fairly full, but I like it. I would warn against sleeves that are too slim, both for reasons of comfort and style. A slim sleeve can often look rather mean, and counteract the masculine size of the chest and shoulder.
There is a slight pull across the shoulder blades which could be loosened up, but given the lightness and softness of the cloth (9.5-ounce cashmere) the back is very clean. Nicoletta ran the shoulder padding a little further down into the blades than is normal to help with this, which few people do.
Another interesting point is that like most other Milanese and Neapolitans, the seams on the jacket are top stitched. So it looks like one side is overlapping the other, rather than both turning together into the seam.
This is almost invisible on this jacket, as it’s grey stitching on a grey cloth, but the effect on the shoulder line is striking. It makes the transition from shoulder into sleeve head very clean – the line is almost uninterrupted, and creates a look that is perhaps halfway between a classic suit shoulder and a Neapolitan ‘shirt shoulder’.
The overall style, however, is a long way from the casualness of a Neapolitan jacket, and it is this that was the element that surprised me.
When I began the process with Nicoletta, I expected the jacket to feel more informal – perhaps suitable for wearing with chinos or denim. But although the construction is very light, and it has that clean shoulder I referred to, it is too formal for that. Beautiful here with formal trousers, and it would be great in a suit, but nothing approaching the Neapolitan softness.
The cloth, by the way, is from Dugdale’s – the Luxury Flannel and Cashmere Jacketing bunch made by Cerruti, number 6910. I highly recommend it. There aren’t many good lightweight cashmeres out there – the English ones are heavier and the Italians (Loro Piana, Zegna, Caccioppoli) vary hugely from season to season. This is a more solid range you can return to year after year.
Jackets at Ferdinando Caraceni start at €4200 (suits from €5500). Obviously very expensive; but with the current euro exchange rate, cheaper than a lot of Savile Row.
Beautiful coat, but a couple of points;
. Is the buttoning point a little high?
. The coat length looks perfect at the back, and there doesn’t seem to be an issue with the balance, but from the front it looks a little short relative to your hands.
. The sleeves look a tad short.
Did you go for three cuff buttons to emphasise the informality ?
Hi Nick. As I’ve always said, you can’t really assess the finer points of fit from photos. Tip the camera slightly one way or another, or hold it a little higher or lower, and it all looks different.
The buttoning point, sure, though I like it at that point (just on my natural waist). And the sleeves could be a tad longer yes – I think they have shortened slightly with wear that is putting creases in the cashmere.
I normally have three buttons on sports jackets, yes, or one with the Neapolitans.
Beautiful jacket (bias, since i have the same cloth;). The back and general fit is excellent.
A little short for my tastes – but not obscenely so.
Did you consider hip patch pockets?
I did, yes, and that would have made it more casual. When it looked like the jacket would be more formal than I had expected, I went for flapped pockets instead
Hi Incognito & Nick,
Even if it were a DB, it would be fine at this length. Frankly, I just wonder how long a … jacket (sportcoat) should be to you. I would be really curious to see yours.
I don’t have a blog so seeing mine would be difficult – unless you are a colleague?;)
I never intimated it was one of those fashionable bum-ticklers; i just prefer my jackets to reach the second knuckle on my thumb; and my suits to be a touch longer than that. It is a smashing piece nonetheless, the length notwithstanding.
Btw, isn’t a DB supposed to be shorter anyway?
A DB often would be slightly shorter yes.
That’s a pretty long sleeve length. Another rule (of thumb!) is your wrist for the jacket and base of the thumb for the shirt
This is exactly what I thought until I read the following posts.
Knowing that wouldn’t be enough, for you would need to find out an excellent Taylor who could make these alterations for you. And believe me, you would be utterly amazed by the end result!
It’s undeniably beautiful and an interesting midpoint between Naples and Savile Row. The price is very high though, more or less in Liverano territory – would you put it in the same league in terms of quality?
Yes. Perhaps a touch below, but only a touch
The jacket price is a tad more expensive than you are able to get at Anderson and Sheppard and Henry Poole but slightly less than at Richard Anderson.
I like the cut of the jacket but the back issues are not acceptable given the price point.
Interesting piece and I can share your experience “this will be a casual/formal jacket that can be used for X” then you get it and it doesn’t turn out as you’d envisaged which is part of the fun of bespoke.
I’m glad you have started listing the prices of the commissions again, this for me is the most helpful aspect of Permanent Style, as it saves needing to make that awkward enquiry to the tailor themselves when you are considering working with someone new.
I personally would like a page on your site which acts as an up to date price list ‘starting at £X’ for all of those tailors you have experience with.
Thanks J. Good idea
Beautiful jacket,It is looking nice and perfect to wear in wedding and other functions.Really looking dapper.
Worth noticing indeed is how little details such as shoulders or pockets have an impact on the level of formality of a jacket, and thus how best to wear it.
I really like the shoulders on this jacket. I struggle with Neapolitan shoulders, because my shoulders hunch rather more than I might like (far too many hours on the bike!), but a normal roped shoulder feels too formal for many jackets. This is a really nice middle ground. Does it have a light padding?
One of the things I have never thought to ask a tailor about where the lapel joins the collar. It appears very high on this jacket creating a very sloping line between the lapel and the collar, is there any structural element to this or purely a matter of house style.
I was expecting this jacket to be more like a grey version of your Elia Caliendo brown tweed (which I have to admit is one of my favourites), but it is far more formal. I quite often struggle to judge how formal a jacket/suit will be before I see it finished, I am glad to hear I am not alone in this!
It does have a light padding yes. The join where the collar meets the lapel is called the gorge. It’s purely a style thing although gorges have become higher in recent years
Details on the shirt? The jacket is nice, I’m sure that cashmere feels great.
Nevermind. I read your other posts, I guess more details on the shirt is coming.
No problem. People aren’t used to Reading so much substance on blogs!
Simone Abbarchi. Details soon
It’s funny how you have this inverted color wise with another look you did with the brown jacket and gray trousers. This one feels more for the Summer and the brown jacket seems to fit better w/ Fall/Winter. Not sure if that was intended but interesting with flip flopping the colors.
I seem to remember that you have previously said that 100 % cashmere is not optimal because of the wear, but you seem to have commissioned quite a few jackets in cashmere over the years. While not as durable as tweed, it would still stand the test of time I assume?
It’s not going to wear as well as other wools, but as long as it doesn’t get very heavy wear (eg is your only blazer) it should be ok.
Lovely jacket indeed — I am curious, you mentioned that this is a light weight cashmere, however, for someone based out of the humidity hell that is Taiwan, cashmere, of any weight, is probably not advised?
It will be hard outside, yes, though no harder than other normal woollens (worsteds, high twists etc will be cooler)
Stunning jacket. But as an outfit, jut a bit too drab for my taste. Having recently commented on a recent post and your sophisticated palette, (multiple colors, russet tie) by contrast, something is missing here; the spark the elevates the entirety.
Thanks John, always interesting to hear. The aim is very different here I suppose – a quiet refinement, that would be unlikely to draw any attention yet would be stylish and sophisticated
Simon you’ve written on A. Caraceni and F. Caraceni, what would you say is the difference between the two in terms of house style? are there any differences in quality?
There aren’t many, no, though I haven’t had anything made at A Caraceni so can’t speak to them in the same depth
Hi Simon, you mention that the jacket might be too formal for jeans (i.e. you wanted it for a more casual look). I think it worth considering the type of denim it might be matched with; colour, cut and weight are important but also the ‘grain’ – is the colour full or more ‘washed’. A fuller grain with a deep indigo tone can still match to a light coloured, soft, non-worsted cloth (as in this case). Also to ensure a more casual, sporting flair did you consider slanted vs. the straight pockets? It is clear from your confident stance that you are happy with the commission but if you were to repeat for a more casual outcome would you tweak colour, cloth (perhaps a tweed or patterned), the cut or all of the above?
Hi Stephen, I agree denim can vary a lot with wash and grain, but the fundamental weight and body of it means it will never work with more formal jackets like this, for me. Slanted pockets wouldn’t help, but patch ones certainly could have done.
A tweed, linen or cotton would definitely have been more casual. However, the thing that makes it too formal is the cut and make of the shoulders, which is the fundamental aspect of the tailor’s style. I wouldn’t ever ask them to change that (mostly because it rarely works if they’re taken that far out of their comfort zone)
Your Solito looks better but this is nice overall. Hard to judge fit in photos but it seems very good.
Absolutely TC! The pictures are purely indicative. The analysis is in the text, reflecting experience
A very nice jacket. I like the proportions and the cloth.
Personally I don’t think it’s too formal for jeans — providing they are the correct pair and I always think this colour looks good with claret cords and dark brown suede Chelsea boots.
Do you own either a green flannel suit or trousers? Wondering if green would be a better choice over the brown seen here.
I have a green flannel suit, yes. Interesting point – that would obviously have avoided the problem with the brown shoes. My green cotton trousers wouldn’t have so worked that well but dark dark green flannel is certainly worth considering
I don’t think you’ve ever done a post on it Simon!
It would be great if you could since I cannot think of seeing any other photo evidence of a man wearing green flannel suitings on the entirety of the ‘Net.
Indeed. I’d definitely like to see this green flannel suit. Especially in London
I’d also like to see your pents commission from the infamous Ambrosi;) as I spy with my monocle in the Brio feed you being fitted ?
Indeed. Will do them soon.
Has The Rake lost the plot? (See The Travelling Man piece on its website). Thank God for Simon and common sense. This is everything that you want from a sports coat. It’s very versatile and a good piece to acquire.
I think ‘The Rake’ is in desperate need of a good editor.
The last few issues have been lacklustre and it is good that Simon retains his qualitative eye.
As an aside, I used to buy the occasional piece from Zegna but frankly I think the lunatics have taken over the asylum. It’s such a shame when a venerable house confuses style with unwearable fashion.
We love The Rake, don’t we? It’s a fantastic refuge in a barren wilderness. What I’m concerned by is Sarah Anne Murray’s piece (as mentioned above) which sounds like a complete volte face of the magazine’s principles. The ludicrous Gucci clown outfit that is pictured is a way of dressing that’s completely alien to The Rake’s devoted and loyal readership. Miss Murray is a wonderful writer and a very sharp dresser. Is this really what she thinks? The text of the article sounds like a complete surrender to the scruffy, casual, obnoxious masses who have had things their own way for too long. I can only hope that I misread the article.
I, probably like most of this style council, have been an ardent supporter of ‘The Rake’ since its debut. That said, we can’t live in denial and the past two or three issues have not been good either from an editorial or visual perspective. They need an outstanding editor (would the male Anna Wintour please stand up) otherwise I fear they will go the way of all flesh.
relax Mac it is only clothes and playing the devil’s advocate, some people would find classic menswear utterly boring. designers come out with various permutations of attire because it is not about wearable clothes but about creativity and design
The left sleeve appears too long and the right one too short and seems to have creased like linen, and the three ridges at the back all stop at the middle seam. But you look nice.
I gave up on bespoke after I found certain brands for my shirts and jackets which suit me almost to a tee – small alteration on shoulder length. Bespoke is a truly luxurious experience in terms of time. The amount of time investment and countless visits and the end product is still imperfect. This article sums up the bespoke experience. For high prices, you still get an imperfect product which is still much better than many other tailors! tells you how imperfect tailors can be! a lot of bespoke in London and HK are actually made to measure standards of fit and you will get only a few true bespoke in a few tailors in France/Italy/Japan and USA. I love English designs but sadly the standard of tailoring in London have declined while prices have mushroomed upwards.
I’m afraid I couldn’t disagree more. No bespoke I’ve ever had comes close to made to measure.
I’m with Simon on this one albeit I think he meant to say “No made to measure I’ve ever had comes close to bespoke”.
If you have given up on bespoke it’s simply because you haven’t found the correct tailor for you.
Selecting the tailor that is right for you is just so important. It really all begins and ends there.
Like you, I’ve had disappointing experiences but since I’ve been going to A&S, I’ve been in sartorial heaven and the reason is their house style with the famous ‘A&S drape’ is just perfect for me and I feel so at home in it.
As for cost. If you go to Zegna and select something from their Platinum collection, you can blow £4000 plus no problem and yes, you’ll get a great cloth and the finish will be good but it will be from a stock block that is adjusted to better fit you.
Go to A&S and for the same money you will get something that enhances your own appearance and which will fit you like a glove. It will be yours and only yours and you can specify any detail you want.
Frankly there is no comparison but you have to find the house style that is correct for you.
“The fit of the final result is great.” Does anyone else think that Simon should start wearing his glasses again? The sleeve lengths are uneven and ridiculous. For all the finessing over irrelevant minutiae, and given the obscene price tag, you would expect to at least get the basics right.
Hey Philip. It’s not really possible to analyse these things from photos, hence the emphasis on my views. You can spend a hour pressing and posing until it looks perfect, but that’s just as distortionary.
Thanks for sharing this! I was wondering if you know of any other tailors in Milano (or Turin) that might be a bit less expensive, but still has a good reputation?
Vergallo (in Varese, but also travel) are worth looking up. Have a search on Permanent Style for old posts on them
Thanks! I asked them about shirts, and they said the price was around 180 Euro.
I judge this jacket in its completeness and to me it is an anonymous jacket, definitely not an high tailoring work.. Apart from this, the back is very tight in the middle, they didn’t worked out your blades problem and it falls at the hips level.. not really a superior work as one should expect by such an estimated sartoria so far.
As I’ve said before, I’m afraid you really can’t judge those things from photography. Which is why people rely on the actual text and review
Hi simon, can you compare this jacket style (shoulders,chest,etc.) with Rubinacci vintage cashmere jacket and with Cifonelli herringbone DB?
Have you looked at my recent posts about house styles that suit you, and lapel widths? Both have comparisons from a style point of view in there
Had this fabric been made into a Neapolitan jacket, could it have worked with jeans? The pattern and colour suggest it could.
Yes, I think so
What is your view on the longevity of cashmere? Obviously lovely to the touch, but I would assume it is much less hard-wearing than other woollen materials.
Yes, that’s true. It will not hold up anywhere near as well to being treated badly, for example.
Perhaps it’s not best for your first or second sports jacket, but you third – by which point it is likely to get less use
Simon, this jacket on balance is superb. I noticed that you said that you normally prefer a three button model on sports jackets. Would you mind elaborating just a bit about why? Also, do you prefer a two button model for suits?
I normally have three buttons on a sports jacket (with a nice roll from the third to second) because the slightly shorter lapel and rolling is more casual. I might have two buttons on a smarter blazer, for instance. I generally have two buttons on suits for the same reason.
There’s some more on that in this series in case you haven’t read it: The Guide to Suit Style
Maybe being a cutter doesn’t limit her viewpoint.
Regarding the fit, are the armholes high? And by saying she errs on Clean chest and back to you mean with a little bit of fullness or tight, I am not certain I got that.
Quite high, yes. And I mean she errs on the side of being close to the body, but not tight no
Hello Mr.Crompton! I really really want to ask you about.. Between the F.Caraceni and Henry Poole’s SB suits, What’s the stylistic difference? Which house gave you more satisfaction?
Row and Milanese style look simillar in my eyes…
Which one(style) do you prefer?
Caraceni has a bigger, squarer shoulder. Personally I didn’t like the single breasted style anywhere near as much as the double, so I’d probably opt for Poole there