Whitcomb and Shaftesbury classic bespoke

Back in October there was a lot of interest around my post on the bespoke service at Whitcomb & Shaftesbury. Their ‘classic bespoke’ service, which involves cutting the suit in London (by a very experienced Row cutter), and then having it largely made in India (in a workshop run by a Row tailor) promised fantastic value at £1350 + VAT for a suit.

I’m glad to say that this promise is fulfilled. I have received and worn the suit, and can highly recommend it. It is as good in cut as most other Savile Row suits, and almost as good in make.

Whitcomb and Shaftesbury bespoke suit

Whitcomb actually offers two services – one partially made by this Indian workshop (wholly owned by them) and one by a normal Row tailor. I had suits made in both, in order to compare them.

I’ll post pictures of the second one later, but there are so few differences that it’s barely worth pointing them out. The chest, lapel and collar are still hand-padded; the buttonholes are finely hand-stitched; every other area of finishing you’d expect from Savile Row bespoke (eg hand-stitching the lining of the waistband) is there.

Whitcomb Shaftesbury side adjustor bespoke suit waistband Whitcomb Shaftesbury pocket Whitcomb Shaftesbury collar melton bespoke suit buttonhole Whitcomb Shaftesbury suit buttonhole  

This shouldn’t really be surprising. The same cutter and coatmaker (John McCabe and Bob Bigg) managed the making of both. The only thing you’d be looking for is a difference in execution – and there are some tiny points there.

The finishing on the lining isn’t quite as neat – but as you can see on the images above, it’s still good. And the buttonholes have had a machine stitch on the back as a guide, before being finished by hand. This is something most tailors don’t do, but you do occasionally see it used on particularly soft or lightweight cloths.

There are also things the Indian workshop can do that you wouldn’t give to most Row tailors. Like the lap seam down the back of the jacket (an idea I shamelessly copied across from my Chittleborough & Morgan suit). And although some of these details weren’t perfect on the examples I saw in the Whitcomb & Shaftesbury workrooms, this lap seam was very nicely done.

Whitcomb and Shaftesbury lap seam bespoke suit

The cut is lovely and lean, with the suppression of the waist accentuating the sharp style we were going for – single button, more open foreparts, unflapped pockets, plus that lap seam of course.

The shoulders are quite soft and natural, although the team can certainly do more roping if requested. Interestingly, there is also quite a lot of drape to the chest – something I like on my Anderson & Sheppard suits both for their comfort and impression of a bigger upper body.

Back in the day, Kilgour French and Stanbury cut with a good bit of drape. That’s where John worked until 2010, and it is still his style.

This is a proper Savile Row suit. It is made to the same standards, by people with the same training, with most of it (pattern, cutting, fitting, alteration) still done in London and the heavy-lifting done in India.

Whitcomb and Shaftesbury bespoke suit close-up

I can understand why some people don’t want a suit where any of it is made abroad. People even complain when they find out some of the work is being done just off Carnaby Street, rather than in a basement off Savile Row.

If those people want that product, they now know exactly what they need to pay for it – £3,050 (the price of the Savile Row Bespoke product) rather than £1,350 (the Classic Bespoke). Location makes no difference to me, but if you want it you can pay £1,700 for the privilege.

I’ll reflect more on the overall style of Whitcomb & Shaftesbury, and where it sits relative to other tailors I have tried, when I publish the pictures of the Savile Row Bespoke suit.

Cloth: Holland & Sherry, Classic Worsteds, 12/13oz

Worn with:

Whitcomb and Shaftesbury bespoke suit lapel

Images: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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The blue suit……seems to be a popular choice for people in sales professions at the moment. Do you see this as suitable for business, or not so much?


Haha, good to get that one cleared up.

I personally think Airforce Blue can look business appropriate in the Summer months, but more for Belgravia than Broadgate perhaps.


Simon quick question. Im going to order my first bespoke suit and I know your not supposed to wear it two days in a row and ideally once a week… But then what do you wear for the rest of the week whilst your building your bespoke suit collection to the point you have 5 bespoke suits in rotation? As this can take a year or so?


Thanks Simon. So basically I will be sad 4 days a week for a while!


If to compare, which make is most value for money? This one, or good value english tailors (for example grahame browne)?



If I´m not completely wrong, but the diffrence in price is not that very big. If not Grahame Browne has changed his pricing?



How would you compare this to Grahame Browne given the close pricing?

Can you confirm the exact fabric for reference if it is navy rather than the mid blue the photographer has managed to make it look like?


Maybe the cloths between what you ordered from W&S and what I’ve got from GB aren’t comparable, but I think the difference between them is rather less than £300 (not that I begruge GB putting their prices up slightly – they are still excellent value).

Adam Jones

I would second that cloth ref. It looks a really nice sturdy twill from the picture. Just what I’m looking for


Wow, I think this looks fabulous! The shoulder fit looks (to me) the best of your suits on here.
Interesting to see how well a lime tie works too; I wouldn’t have considered that.


It looks great. I really like the concept of this – certainly a product with much more soul than your average MTM suit. My worry for a business like W&S is that they’re underselling themselves – the price seems too much of a bargain. After all, people happily walk into Canali and hand over £1500 for factory made MTM suits from a block pattern – I would expect to pay much closer to £2k for a bespoke product like this (which even then is still a cracking deal). There is a tremendous amount of added value in their product – the Savile Row cache, the fact they’re actual tailors and not salesmen – which I don’t think is being communicated in the price.

Reuven Lax

Very flattering! And quality is quality, no matter where it’s sourced. This is one thing that has kept me reading your blog – you’re not a snob (in that way).

I feel like this product has not been well advertised in the past. My first British bespoke suit was last year, and if I had known about them I might well have talked to W&S. Maybe this blog will help change that.


Perfect as far as I see it…

Matt S

This looks perfect! This is very close to my ideal suit, though I wouldn’t get the lap seam on the back, and I’d get flapped hacking pockets. Seeing how the cutting is the most important part of the suit, they truly understand where costs can and can’t be cut.


Looks good, if somewhat ‘softer’ than I imagined given the cutter’s Dege background.
Did the tailoring being done on the subcontinent mean that the suit took longer to make compared to their S. Row Bespoke? (Which one imagines is the standard 6-9 weeks.)


Simon — if you have any influence on this company (and I suppose you do in a way because clearly they wanted you see their quality and write something about it) for the love of God make them hire somebody who redoes their website. On first sight it looks horrendous: Tacky, cheap and overall so incredibly bad it almost feels like a parody or scam. I mean look how they photographed those “models”…


Impressive finish, congratulations! When writing about the second suit might you include some further detail about the Cutter/Coatmaker and their views on what makes a good silhouette? Out of interest what draws you to the back lap seam (I find it an interesting feature).
Some advice if you would; I’m looking to get a suit (tan cord) garment dyed thinking blue, dark green or dark grey (not to be worn for work). Advice on prospective colour would be welcome!
As a footnote Shortlist today have an article on Penhaligon’s free fragrance profiling service. It is not bespoke as with Floris and leads customers to the existing range via a Q and A. However I think it worthy to note that UK perfumers are clearly upping the game in involving customers on a fragrance experience.


Hi Simon, I know comparing tailors from Italy and England is like comparing apples and pears (style wise), but just from a quality perspective how would you compare Sartoria Vergallo to this W&S offering? As they are roughly in the same price range, I consider both of them for my first bespoke suit. Following your blog, it seems that you were very happy with Vergallo in the past. Thanks and all the best, Michael.


Hi Simon. Thanks for this. Suit looks great and fantastic value, how would you say this would compare to Edward Sexton made to measure which is slightly more expensive.


Very compelling offering, thanks for covering. And hands out of pockets do allow a superior view of cut and style.. nice one.


Looking at the second photo the silhouette appears to show a wider hip then shoulder and quite large ‘flaps’.

Also , It’s great that you still bring your expertise to clothes within a lower price bracket ….sometimes I think we’re losing you to the luxury market a little too much .
This is a price bracket that most of your readers could stretch to and so we need more of this from yourself .
Great article .



Just one point on pricing. According to their website the price GBP 1360 is without VAT. Ie price including VAT is GBP 1362.

Graham Browne is GBP 1050 INCLUDING VAT, ie the difference in price is GBP 500, not 300 as stated in the comments.

Still strikes me as cracking value though. One thing I worry about is whether their business model and pricing is viable in the long term. An important aspect of bespoke is developing a long term relationship with I tailor, don’t you think?



hi Simon, very interesting article. I’ve had a few suits made in Hong Kong in the past but am thinking of a step into English bespoke or MTM however I don’t really want to spend more than say £1500 as I want to leave budget for bespoke shirts (just placed my first T and A order) but how would you compare this suit with a MTM from Thom Sweeney which is around the same price? I wear my suit 12 hours a day but tend to have the jacket hung up most of the time, so really it’s trousers that are as important to me. thanks!


Thank you Simon, very helpful advice


Thanks Simon. Interesting article. How flexible would you say they are in terms of cut, construction etc? Predominantly a ‘Savile Row’ style or do they stray into Neapolitan construction as well? If the later, have you seen any examples?


Thank you. I’m sure you’ve mentioned it elsewhere but which of the Neapolitan tailors are you thinking of in particular?

Daniel N

Thanks for the recommendation of the neapolitan tailors. I have checked them out however note that:
vergallo – e.2200 for suit, e1750 for jacket
solito – e.2500 for suit, e2100 for jacket

This is slightly out of my budget. I’m looking at getting a first sportsjacket for casual wear made but the justification of £1500 for one despite the longetivity is negative. Any other recommendations? I am unsatisfied considering GB is 850£ but their forte is not in this style of tailoring.

Many thanks

Daniel N

Thanks for the response – What is your view towards a staple in soft suiting in regards to lining and canvassing – Half/quarter lined whilst Thin Half/minimal canvassing?

Also for the sake of comparison – would the drawbacks of mtm for soft tailoring (disregarding fit as obvious) be less of the hand details. With a business suit I can see the clear value add with the handpadding of canvas and shoulders, but for softer tailoring of less canvassing and natural shoulders, (overall less structure) the compromise should not be as drastic? Having said that moreso that the fit quality shines through


Have been considering a Drakes MTM recently Simon, as a soft option. Wondered if you had any thoughts ?

Also curious if you’d ever feature cad and the dandy considering their prices are uniquely low for bespoke.


Thanks Simon,
I’m sure you know, but I think Drakes especially would be of benefit to a lot of readers. Drakes MTM program is priced only slightly above its RTW, so its something I’ve wondered about a lot as I try and build my own tailoring wardrobe, especially of softer styles.
Equally, as I’m probably going to take the leap, if you’d like any feedback from me on it, I’d be more than happy to share.


Hi Simon

Very nice suit. Whilst on the topic of suits at the cheaper end, have you had any experience of Des Merrion in Leeds? Or perhaps heard anything about his work?


Sartoria Dalcuore and W & S; both very interesting articles. I question, upon reflection, if you can go to Spain and Italy (and India via W & S) might we see a time when you take into consideration the many fine UK tailors at points outside of London. Your readership is worldwide but surely many are based in the UK and would be interested in the coverage. I’m all for casting a wider net but let’s keep it in the round.

nick inkster

Re your question from Anonymous above, Des had made me a couple of garments. The quality of his work surpasses anything I have had from the Row, or any of the big name French or Italian tailors often named here. Many have looked at his handwork and been amazed, more so when they hear about his prices. He values fit above everything, but as he does all the work himself, it is a very easy relationship.

Give him a try; I don’t imagine your will regret it.

Oh lord

One of your best suits in my opinion! Great width and shape of the lapels with a nice roll, and well balanced gorge (don’t you think the “modern” gorge placement is too high?). I also liked the jetted pockets (although I thought you only liked them on tuxes). Bravo!

Reuven Lax

How would you compare W&S to Steven Hitchcock based on style and quality?

il vecchio

Do you mind me asking what make your glasses are? They look very good and suit your face and style

Nick Inkster

As has been mentioned, your tie is stunning, but sadly it doesn’t feature in Drakes’ current line up. Any thoughts as to where I might find one?


Simon I live in Geneva but get over to London at least once a year – sometimes up to 3 times a year although never with any great predictability.

How many fittings would you say one need to work in to have a W&S suit made, and could these be spaced out over a year or so?


Thanks Simon. Incidentally, did you get a second (or third) pair of pants made and if so, what was the additional cost?

Was this cloth amongst their offerings at their base price or was there a cost supplement? Accepting your assurances that it is navy, I think it looks great and would do well in my eyes for my perception of “business” which may differ from those in the financial sector…


Bravo Simon, you sound extremely pleased with it.


This article maybe one of the most significant you have written in terms of opening up bespoke suiting to a market that couldn’t justify the £3k plus cost of a ‘row’ suit, irrespective of relative value. As a more extreme example how does it compare to your C&M and Cifonelli suits: if you say it’s nearly as good that may change everything!! 🙂 Have a good weekend.


Thanks for this Simon. In terms of an every day style for work, would you so this would be more suitable than Edward Sexton?

Cedric Yarish

That pocket square fold is on point. I mean it’s so majestic, amazing you should do a tutorial on it.


This is great to know. Thank you. I might someday soon be able to have a quality bespoke suit as this falls within my budget. Outstanding blog, Simon.


Hi Simon,

After giving myself a headache of what tailor to try next after a poor experience from a new(ish) city tailoring firm (that shall remain nameless), I commissioned a new suit from GB in Dec. I have to say at the first fitting was impressed at the quality / value.

I have however been following this W&S post with interest as I use to use Kilgours semi bespoke service 10+ years ago.

From the sounds of it you were quite impressed with the offshore made suit.

In your opinion is this offering from W&S worth the extra cost over a GB suit ?

And would the W&S offshore bespoke offering be vastly different in quality from a from a fully bespoke suit from someone like KH&L?

The reason I ask is that I’m trying to find a sensible mid way point balancing cost/quality (budget range 1.5k to 3k)

Great post btw.

Many thanks

Henry Beardsell

Do you think W&S is better value, better workmanship than Alexandra Wood ( do you know whether AW is bespoke proper, fully canvassed, basted etc ) ?


Henry Beardsell

Further to previous comment, is it fair to say W&S is something akin to an English Sartoria Vergallo ?
Great post Simon, really enjoyed.


Wonderful. I have gone for a three piece with extra trousers in the classic bespoke and this makes me feel happy! Gone for a nice navy classic worsted. The extra trousers came in at around £350, I believe (I saw a post below about this).


Thanks! I am happy to share my experience/pictures in 4-5 weeks when it is complete, if it is helpful?


Does whitcomb ever come to NYC


Simon– what is your experience with Rubinacci in London? Can I trust bespoke services there as I would in Napoli? I’m soon travelling to London, and am interested in a soft shouldered jacket or two. Would Rubinacci London do the trick better than Russell at Graham Browne, with whom I’ve already had one rushed suit made in the past? Thanks for your time, JK


I really like the dramatic asymmetry in your tie knots. However even though we probably buy the same brands (and silks) my four-in-hand tends to come out smaller and less tilted. Care to share your trick?



as I’ve indicated in my comments on your Vergallo loden coat post, I will also be trying the W&S classic bespoke service for a winter flannel suit. Since you praise John McCabe for his cutting, I was wondering whether needs to be involved in the measurement process and therefore needs to be present during the first appointment? Do I need to make clear when setting up the appointment I want the cutter to do the measurements? Apologies if this is an obvious question.

Thanks in advance


Congrats on the blog. A similar question. Following your review of W&S I have scheduled an appointment for their upcoming visit to NY. I understand none of the cutters will come on this trip but Bob will be present for the initial consultation and measurement. Is sufficient to have the master coatmaker in the fittings or you absolutely need to see the cutter?
Thank you,


Quite pleased with my first “classic bespoke” suit from W&S. Fit is very good and I find the level of make and finishing not too far behind my other English bespoke suits. I was able to travel to London to meet Sian for the basted fitting. There were two more fittings in NY with Bob (got the suit at the end of the second one). I liked their house style but it indeed has more drape in the chest than I had experienced in the past. Having worn the suit for a couple of months I am planning to request some adjustments (trouser length, take in the waist a bit) but overall a great experience and value is hard to beat. I will still use my other London tailor but certainly plan to include W&S in the rotation.


Simon, have you tried a MTM service such as MyTailor in the United States? They have outfitters (not tailors) who measure you, and their cutters/tailors are in Hong Kong. Their sessions do include fittings. Quite affordable at $500/600 trousers.

I remember you recommending MTM for those building a trouser wardrobe, but i’m not sure if this company would follows ideal fit, considering they outsource their labor and the cutter is not in consultation with you.


Got it, thanks. Another question: in another post you mention desiring to be measured at the house itself; a friend of yours had gone to a trunk show and did not receive good results with fit. Do you still recommend visiting the tailoring/shoemaking house itself, at least for initial consultation?



Your website is an amazing read. Keep up the good work! Can you recommend me some affordable tailors in london? I’m a student 🙁


Thanks!! which is better in your opinion?

Sam L

Dear Simon,

I am a long time reader of your blog, and I am delighted to say that I am going to be getting my first bespoke suit this fall from W&S based on your review. Since I am attempting to avoid the common pitfalls of my first bespoke suit, I am going to get a mid-grey or charcoal suit that could be a great suit to wear for work throughout the year. I was hoping that you might be able to recommend a particular type of fabric. Thank you for your help and the great website.

Best, Sam

Andy Maher

Thanks for your blog Simon! I’m attracted to the Classic Bespoke offering from W&S for a wedding suit but think I favour two button and slightly stronger shoulders. Do you think W&S would still be a good choice and do you think they would accept these preferences or is their house style quite set?


Thanks for your reply Simon. I think I’m inclined to forego my preferences in that case! From what I’ve read on your blog and others, I think W&S are the superior tailor and I’d rather compromise my style and get a better quality suit. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do but that’s my gut feeling! Thanks for your advice though, it’s useful.


Do you recommend against a tuxedo as a first commission from a tailor? Was planning to do so with W&S during their next trunk show.


Thanks Simon for this wonderful blog,
W&S seem to be a interesting chaps..

I have got two questions which I think a lot of people toil with.
A.) How do you find out whether a certain off row tailor is really good? (In my case I am interested in Connock & Lockie, Lambs Conduit Street but I am open to other suggestions..).
B.) If you decide to trust one and go for it how far can you “impose” your ideas of cut and style on them? Say, could I ask the tailor whether he would be willing or able to make a Huntsman-style jacket – I fear he would feel rather offended..

Some of us surely do not desire to try out lots of tailors but love and romantically hatch the idea of naturally having “your” tailor where you get many different things from over the years and build a trusting relationship. I am a doctor – trust and confidence is my core value…


Thank you Simon.


Hello Simon,

Wonderful site! I am new to London and to tailored suits and so have been reading your site obsessively. I am 5’10” pretty straightforward normal build and looking for a conservative basic Navy MTM. Today I met with Tim Everest, W&S, C&D, and Gieves & Hawkes. I didn’t think too much of G&W so am taking them out of the running. I note your enthusiasm for W&S. How would you compare them to Tim Everest or C&D for MTM in terms of quality and value? Tim Everest offered a 10/11oz super 120 fabric for £1450+VAT with full canvas and extra trousers done in six weeks at a factory in Czech. W&S was at about the same price point without the extra trousers for a super 100 9/10 oz made in seven weeks in India.


I can’t afford full Savile Row or top Neapolitan prices for my bespoke fetish, so I first read this review with great interest. As a far-flung western Canadian from the provinces, I’m not at all put off by the cheaper W & S option of having the finishing done in fellow former Commonwealth colony India; on the contrary, especially with their dedication to good training, ‘fair trade’, good wages, etc, I find this option not only economically attractive but also ethically admirable.

Eventually, in a visit to London last summer, I had W & S make me a versatile grey flannel three-piece and I was extremely pleased: absolutely wonderful cut and fit, and exquisite hand finishing.

Next, however, I ran the risk– despite your seemingly strong opinion against drawing a tailor away from his ‘natural’ house style, Simon– of asking Suresh to make me an even softer, more Neapolitan style sports jacket. The fact is that I haven’t had the fortune to connect with any Neapolitan tailors like I have a couple in London, so I asked Suresh what they were comfortable with. Insisting on something still identifiable as W & S, bearing Bob and John’s beautiful fingerprints but of much softer construction, I was reassured with confidence by Suresh. I chose the Holland and Sherry 892004 slate blue Harris tweed and plunged in.

I must say that I sincerely couldn’t be more pleased. The jacket they’ve made me has jumped immediately into top place as both my best fitting AND most casually comfortable piece of clothing: the shoulders are just what I wanted, even softer (much softer) than in the suit jacket; there remains, despite the soft structure, a bit of English drape that I love in the chest; and really it’s the waist that is absolutely sublime– a perfect pinch, fitting me so well between the arm holes and waist; most of all, the skirt is truly the most beautiful I’ve worn in a jacket, with even the snifter-shaped patch pockets perfectly proportioned for its exquisite lines.

Although I agree, Simon, about expecting no artists or artisans, tailors or otherwise, to takes ‘bribes’ that stretch their natural styles beyond zones of comfort/ experience— but with W & S I clearly wasn’t asking too much. I hope someday to access (and afford) some ‘pure’ Neapolitan tailoring— but in our globalized world, even from a post-modern perspective— ‘purity’ is a questionable concept regardless.


Hi Simon. I’m thinking very seriously about commissioning a suit from W&S, using their Classic Bespoke service. I wonder if you could tell me, from your experience, about the rough timeframe of this process. i.e. how many weeks from measuring to first fitting, from first fitting to second fitting, etc. Also, is their normally a third fitting?. Thanks very much.


Another question Simon. One of the reasons rate Whitcomb is the presence of cutter John McCabe. I notice that they have recently taken on a new cutter called Sian Walton. Do you know anything about her?


So I presume you would have no hesitation in using W&S even if you were not working with John McCabe


Dear Simon,

Would you recommend W&S for a relaxed soft shouldered cashmere jacket to be worn with chinos and jeans? (Living in Paris and only going from time to time to London, difficult to sync with the neapolitan tailors)

Thank you very much for all your great advice!



Great thank you very much! And in your opinion would a soft jacket from W&S be suitable to wear with relaxed chinos and jeans?

Thanks for everything!



Great, thanks a lot!


Would you say W&S would be a sound option for someone’s first bespoke suit and if so, any advice on a maiden voyage such as this?


Sorry if i’m asking something you’ve already been asked, but are there any other comparable offerings in this price range/overseas production for a first foray in to bespoke, or are W&S out there on their own in this regard. An appealing option cost wise compared to what some charge for RTW, and safe in the knowledge that the factory workers have been paid a fair wage. Thanks as always


With the W&S being a better product?


knowing that W&S now have two cutters would it be wrong to ask for sian walton to cut more in the Thom Sweeney style ? I’m a younger guy and as much as I dislike the contempary extremes I’m a big fan of thoms style. sorry if its a silly question.

many thanks


Following on from my previous questions, I would just like to say that I commissioned a Classic Bespoke Suit from W&S for my wedding day, cut by Sian in a dark navy Holland and Sherry 9 1/2oz Mohair. Couldn’t have been more pleased with it! Desperate to find an occasion to wear it again!


Hi Simon,
After much internet research and reading your recommendation I have taken the plunge with W&S. Classic bespoke, single breast in Minnis grey wool cloth 12/13oz. Great service and advice. Now looking forward to first fitting in 6-7 weeks. Really great blog.

Richard Watson

Hi Simon
Just been to W&S to collect my suit and have to say Sian has done a wonderful job. I hope you do not mind me mentioning, but I noticed that you also have a new piece in work with them and that it has been made in a toile initially. This is the process by which my suit was also made. The results are great and I would very much enjoy hearing how your experience is.
Kind Regards


Hi Simon
How strange, and to deepen the mystery further it was a pair of trousers which I had seen. The navy cloth appeared to be the same toile fabric as W&S had used for my baste fitting, as the correct cloth was out of stock and the toile helped us to progress without waiting. I am no expert in cloth so I can very easily have been mistaken and, of course, you know better than I what you have being made. I look forward to reading about your experience in the near future.


That explains it, thanks

Salvatore Mundi


My experience not so good. Very good sales and marketing. Important stitching unfinished and then came undone. Fit not good.


Thank you, Simon, for your evaluation of this bespoke option from W&S. Your comments in the discussion are helpful in triangulating their merits. I also found the comments of others instructive and food for thought.

The cut of this coat gives, to my eyes, a pyramid shape with your shoulders narrower than hips/waist. Is that a consequence of your intentions or is it more John McCabe’s style of cutting? I noticed that the Saman Emel jacket (22 January 2018) gives more prominence to your shoulders and to my eyes, a more balanced presentation.

Whilst acknowledging that the intent of any bespoke tailoring is to enhance and flatter the wearer, I would be interested to read more about the ‘tricks of the trade’ used to mitigate different physical challenges. In my case, a long body and short legs!


Hi Simon. Thanks for all the informative articles. I am planning to order my first bespoke suit soon. After reading your reviews, I am definitely considering the W&S Classic Bespoke offering. But as I live in Geneva, and Varese would not be such a long drive from here, would Sartoria Vergallo also be a great option for high-end bespoke at relatively good prices? Or are they at a much higher price point than W&S?
Could you also compare the house styles of both tailors? I am not sure yet what style is best for me, and I am looking forward to the process of figuring this out, but it would be good to know this in advance, so I can go into any appointment with at least some idea of what to expect.
Are there any other tailors in the Milan/Northern Italy area that I should consider as well, that would be great starting points to the high-end bespoke world?
Looking forward to know your thoughts. Thank you in advance.


Hi Simon. Thanks for your reply. Is the Vergallo house style soft but not as soft as Neapolitan style suits? So it would still look a little more formal than the Neapolitan style?


I want to have a morning suit made. I initially thought I would go for A&S as I love the style and think they would guide me through the process extremely well. I worry, however, that they might be a bit expensive. Would W&S be a good option. They seem stylistically similar (soft w some drape), and affordable. I just wonder if for something traditional and rarer like morning dress they would be able to help guide me through the process as well as A&S.
if you have any other suggestions of tailors for morning wear (through word of mouth) I would be super grateful for the input
Very best


Thanks simon. As ever a brief article on this subject would be highly appreciated!


Also – is it fair to have comparisons with A&S style here? Thansk


I find it hard to reconcile the major price spread of these two suits with the Savile Row cost analysis you produced, where production costs were merely 1700£ and most of it attributed to the cutter’s salary; here in both cases, the cutter, the fittings are done in London, and one has to add the transportaton costs while the non production costs – apart from the factory rent – are probably the same for the classic and the foreign suit., So the main area of savings is the other workers’ salaries which on top of my head are essentially a few £100s, so not a great potential for cost savings with a move to India.
What am I missing?


Hi Simon
This Navy suit is exactly what I imagine I’d have for my first bespoke, but I don’t understand about this lap seam at the back? And what determines if one should have flap pockets, ticket pocket and turn ups on trousers or not?
I really like how the waist is just a pitch slimming/tapered but not too slim like most “fashionable” suits out there now, almost uncomfortable to see let alone to wear.
By the way, do you know what’s the price at W&S for a Classic Bespoke tweed jacket? And a pair of flannel trousers? Would you recommend high rise or mid rise?
Thanks for advice.


Hi Simon,

I like the lap seem as an added detail to subtly highlight the craftsmanship and wonder whether this would be acceptable on a double breasted suit?

I am debating a single or double breasted suit in dark navy for my wedding.


I’m looking forward to commissioning a suit for my wedding next March. I particularly like the drama of Edward Sexton cuts in subtle fabrics, similar to your grey flannel suit.

Ultimately, the tailor will be chosen to suit my budget. This makes Whitcomb & Shaftesbury’s classic bespoke service most likely, though Sexton’s offshore bespoke service might also be an option.

With this in mind, what difference (if any) would there be between a suit cut by a cutter who specialises in a particular house cut, and a cutter who deals with a wider range of styles?


Thanks, Simon. That’s very useful.

So the variation in style is house to house, rather than cutter to cutter. That makes more sense.


Simon – are you familiar with Redmayne 1860’s MTM service and, if so, between Redmayne’s “1860 Acclaim” MTM and W&S classic bespoke, which would be better quality?


Hi Simon, quick follow up on the cloth and finding the right shade of navy for business. From the H&S Classic Worsteds bunch do recall if this was the navy, dark navy or midnight?

Stephen Pini


One of the things you commonly say is not to change house style too much as there is a risk it might not turn out as expected, based on cutter experience, etc.

However, how far does that extend to? For example, can the lapel width (not shape necessarily) be extended slightly?

I am considering a suit commission using W&S and I personally like a wider lapel as it looks better for my body type (proportionally larger chest and smaller waist).


Stephen Pini

Thanks Simon.

Curious on the lapel width used here. I would estimate 9cm but if you get a chance to measure it I would be grateful.

In terms of house styling, who would you compare W&S to? It looks a bit like Anderson & Sheppard and Dege & Skinner.



Hi Simon,

Having few things made by by Whitcomb now, would you recommend them for a first bespoke suit ? I am split between Graham Browne and Whitcomb. The prices are comparable. It does not matter if WS are getting some part of the work done in India, the suit looks fantastic in the photos. To be honest I am leaning more towards WS now but cannot make up my mind!



possibly a slightly unusual choice I’d like you to ask about, purely subjective of course: for a first bespoke commission, if your budget was a tad higher then W&S classic – say 2000£-3000£ – would you still choose them (and add an extra trouser to get to 2k+) or go with one of the cheaper Italian tailors, say Vergallo or Solito, (at around 2200 – 2500£) or give a young / next generation Saville Row cutter a chance (e.g. Jennie Adamson et al. – around 3000£ but entirely made by them)?

I understand there a differences in style obviously. I’m more interested in the actual craft.

Thank you


P.S. I’m also based at Mortimer House, on the 6th floor. Will introduce myself soon when I see you around.


Hi Simon,

Apologies if I’ve missed it somewhere but what is the lapel width here? Really like the balance and proportions of this particular suit, perhaps it would be worthy of a style breakdown sometime?




How does their house style translate to a relatively casual sports coat (like a tweed jacket with some casual detailing that could be worn down with denim, or up for the office with flannel)?


If done as a sports coat, would you consider it too structured/formal to wear tieless? It seems to have a bit of drape, and the shoulders aren’t too “military”?


Hi Simon, how does this “classic bespoke” service compare to Savile Row on after-sales servicing? Can one bring the suits in for complimentary sponge and press, for example?


Hi Simon, can i suggest an article on what are realistic expectations for bespoke services, and how to get the most out of bespoke-made items? I don’t think this is something you have covered already (apologies if i have missed it).

My reason for the proposal is that i had a bespoke suit made by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury last year and i can’t say i was impressed by their service, but i am also not sure if my expectations were set too high. To give some context, i am early 30s and now have the income to dabble with a few bespoke pieces; so far, this suit and spectacles from General Eyewear (selected based on reviews on your site, thanks!). As bespoke is new to me, for both pieces i did my best to educate myself beforehand, but naturally must rely on the experience of the service provider. For Whitcomb & Shaftesbury i can’t say that i feel they provided a great deal of guidance. In addition, the fitting of the trousers was really quite poor, yet the stand-in fitter (John was away) pushed me hard that they were fine. I tried them at home but was not convinced, so i went back in and saw a third fitter (not sure where they get people from when John is not available) who agreed they were too baggy, and alterations were appropriately made. In the end, i am happy with my suit, but i didn’t feel that i received a great deal of support/guidance from them, not what i was expecting for a bespoke service anyway.

Similarly for General Eyewear, great guys and i am very happy with the end result. However, they didn’t provide much design input during the process, and i really had to manage and push the project along. What i wanted was them to guide on what would look best based on their (extensive) experience, which they never really gave.

However, am i expecting too much? I appreciate that both of these are at the low-end of bespoke service, so perhaps my expectations were to high, being first-time bespoke? I also expect that you may receive favorable treatment in many instances, possibly skewing the actual standard of service.

I am probably being naive, but my expectation prior to these two experiences was that i should be able to turn up and they do the hardwork for me. The reality seems to be that you must thoroughly educate yourself regarding manufacture and design points, and have a clear sense for what you want, in order to get the most out of the process.

Just a suggestion! And great work on the site, a unique and reliable resource!


Thanks Simon, much appreciated.

Yes, for the first-timer expectations can certainly be too high, which was the case for me. I also appreciate your point about “opening up the possibilities, rather than providing something concrete and narrow”, which is not something i had considered, but fully makes sense. I guess it’s about having the knowledge and confidence to get the most out of them and the process.

I can’t comment on how many of your readers are in a position like me (i.e. new to bespoke), but i would certainly be interested to know more about 1) what to realistically expect from bespoke, and 2) how to get the most from the process. I guess this is relevant to the greatest number of people in the context of a bespoke suit, and it would great to know what are the key points that should be thought about (choice of cloth etc.).

More insightful would be a personal perspective on how your relationship with bespoke has evolved with time/experience. I’m sure you have more ideas for content than you can possibly cover, so just a couple of suggestions!

Yes, i believe it was Sian (it was a lady). She corrected my trousers and identified there was an issue straight away. Very happy with her.


yes please!


Hi Simon-

I have 2 W+S suits now and have been happy with both (both business suits). Do you think their house style could work in a deep navy seersucker SB? To be worn with knit ties and open neck shirts to dinners and casual events in summer? Or would it be too structured? I ask because our access to Neapolitan tailors in Los Angeles is limited but I wanted something I could wear in summer similar to the way you’ve been wearing your charcoal G+H linen suit. Thanks!


Is there an equivalent for this type of value with other articles (i.e. shoes, shirts, etc.)? I mean, top quality stuff for about a 1/3 of the price. It almost feels like cheating.


I had a navy worsted two piece suit made at W&S which was cut by Sian. She is very kind and nice
and lovely to talk to. However, I will not be returning to W&S because I believe the suit was compromised in cut, not so much in make. Full disclosure: I did weigh 6kg more when I ordered the suit than I did at the first fitting.
First fitting was very compromised. The suit was very large in the shoulders, it had no shape in the body, but the first fitting is for the tailor, so I left it to her to do her job and I had lost some weight. I had a second basted fitting, in which some of the issues were accounted for.
We now turn to the problems I believe the suit has. Firstly, the armhole is quite low and it is restrictive (I compare this to a subsequent bespoke suit I had made by Ciardi). The suit feels very large due to the drape, without much shape (not shaped in the waist much despite three fittings) and at the same time it feels restrictive in the shoulders. The pleat on the trouser is quite shallow which makes it not functional. I explicitly did not make any comments about the suit while it was cut, except answers to questions I was asked. Even though W&S is affordable compared to Savile Row, I would prefer neapolitans which are comparable in price to W&S but in my experience produced a much nicer fitting and much more comfortable jacket than W&S. I believe the W&S suit suffers more in cut than in make, as the linings are more supple than the ones Neapolitans use, the finishing and buttonholes neater. Also, the drape cut I realised is not much to my liking as I feel it makes me very big. I have large shoulders, am tall and have a relatively slim waist, but don’t feel comfortable looking bigger.
The feeling I got when discussing some of these details with the team at W&S was one of denial of some of the problems. Therefore, I will not be going back as I see it as a bit of a risk. I wanted to share my experience at W&S. It is just “one man’s opinion” but going in I was definitely expecting more. The result may be due to specifics in my case.
P.S. Normally I would have ordered the suit at the weight I normally am, not the higher weight. I had a strict deadline though.


Would be nice to see W&S in the style breakdown series.


Looks like ink blue solid from H&S classic worsted?

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
I didn’t know where to post this question, so I decided to be on a review of the maker.
Should the button and buttonhole align when the jacket is unbuttoned? I have a severe drop in my right shoulder and the button is a good 2cm lower than the buttonhole when unbuttoned. When buttoning I believe this creates a line along the right side of the jacket and most importantly pushes the collar up and it doesn’t stay flush to my neck. The strange thing is that this occurs in three different suits from 2 different makers with 3 fittings each. As there are no buttons and buttonholes on the fittings, I couldn’t detect this issue. So essentially the questions are:
1. Should the button and buttonhole align when the jacket is unbuttoned?
2. Can anything be done to rectify the situation.
It’s not the end of the world, but it certainly bugs me to face an issue which I did not face with RTW- a collar gap.
Looking forward to your thoughts.
Alex N.

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
Thank you very much for your assistance. I will give my jackets back to my W&S and Zizolfi for adjustment. I specifically don’t want to blame either as certainly most clients are quite satisfied. I always try and relax and don’t rush my fittings. I certainly couldn’t see it in any of the fittings but it’s the exact same thing with both tailors. I mentioned it as a collar gap to Zizolfi after the first one and we thought we had resolved it at the fitting but when I wore it a couple of times, I saw the same issue again. What I also find interesting and perhaps would be an interesting point of discussion with a tailor is that even though my right shoulder drops, I don’t think my right armhole should be lower. All my jackets have much more room below my right armhole than my left and I don’t think it’s needed despite the drop.
Thank you and have a pleasant weekend.
Alex N.


You described some English suits as cuted with small drape (e.g. Henry Poole etc.) in the style breakdown series. Is your W&S suit cuted with a similar amount of drape or more?

Is it possible to request a little bit less drape from W&S?


I like the house styles of Henry Poole and G&H, but I hoped to get the first bespoke suits a little bit cheaper. That’s the reason why I considered W&S, but I don’t like the drape cut. A little drape like Henry Poole uses is fine, but not more. If I request a little less drape, is the W&S suit then comparable to a Henry Poole or G&H suit? Or do you think I’ll not be happy with a W&S suit?


Not necessarily more structured, but cleaner in the chest and different in other style aspects. Your green linen G&H suit is really close to what I like. Are there any similar services like the Huntsman 100 from other savile row tailors you would recommend?


Hi Simon,

Do you see any difference between Sian and John in terms of their eye and pattern and fitting quality (from what I’ve read on the website, Sian seems to have a more modern style compared to John)?

Also, is it usually preferable to have the person you first meet about a garment also do the pattern and fitting?

I ask because W&S have offered me the option of seeing Sian initially and then having John do the pattern and fitting later, but my instinct says it would make more sense to have the same person doing both.

Apologies if these are ignorant questions, but this will be my first foray into bespoke (thanks to the amazing information you’ve provided on this website)!

Many thanks.



I commissioned a suit from W&S and Siam was the cutter. The navy suit turned out lovely and is a comfortable business staple. The entire team was excellent and I await the return of their overseas visits.

How would you compare the style and quality of a W&S suit to either A&S or Steven Hitchcock?

Thank you.


Hi Simon,

I was wondering if you knew how prices for Saville Row Bespoke and Classic Bespoke have changed at Whitcomb & Shaftesbury since this article was written in 2016?

I am considering the Classic Bespoke option for my first bespoke commission. Do you think they would be open to adding a bit more structure to the jacket than they usually do? I am fine with the amount of chest drape in their house style but would like to see slightly stronger shoulders and a bit more roping. At the same time, I wouldn’t want to be impolite and ask them to do something entirely different compared to their usual cut.


Hi Simon,

Looking back at this, would you still have gotten the suit in 13oz instead of something like a 10/11oz? Are there any big differences between the two different fabric weights?


Hi Simon. I am still a student but want to get my first bespoke suit made; would you still recommend Whitcomb and Shaftesbury’s ‘classic bespoke’ — and have you any experience with Huntsman’s £3,500 classic bespoke?

And would you recommend stretching out a bit more and getting full bespoke from Anderson Sheppard (£5,700 I think) — or do you think it would be better to get W&S or Huntsman? (And which?)


Hi Simon,

Thank you for getting back to me. I will take your advice and go with Whitcomb then. What are your thoughts on Huntsman 100 (I think that’s what it’s called right) anyway?

Also, in terms of Whitcomb’s house style–I prefer a more classical style although my technical knowledge of suiting is lacking. I don’t want any slim, modern stuff. Am I safe to give them full and total control and have the suit made in their house style, or will I end up regretting it? I like traditional and full, not modern and sleek. Would you have any advice for what I should ask for if you don’t think their house style fits with that criteria?

Thanks again,