Manning square shoulder

  
So, how shall we tackle this one then? Look at house styles in turn, or body shapes?

I suggest we should look at each major house style, and consider the effects that each has on the body – accentuating one aspect, minimising another. It can then be up to the reader (one of whom asked this question) to apply those effects to their own shape.

For an important point is that no style is necessarily ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for a particular body. It just makes that body look wider, taller, bulkier or slimmer. It’s up to the wearer what they want to look like.

House style also has an important effect upon formality and style in general, and we will touch on that. There’s no point picking a suit that makes your shoulders look great but it is entirely too formal.

We will also focus on the shoulders and chest. Because they are the most important things in the look of a jacket, and because they are most affected by house styles.  

Lastly, it’s worth emphasising that these exercises in consideration of shape and structure are just as useful in picking a ready-to-wear suit as a bespoke one. A Huntsman ready-made suit fits into style no.1, most Italian RTW brands fit no.3, and Neapolitans like Attolini fit no.5.
  

Parts of the shoulder suit jacket


Basic areas  

A: Shoulder padding. More raises the shoulder and gives the impression of strength in the shoulder
B: Roping of the sleevehead. Gives the impression of width without needing a padded or extended shoulder
C: Length of the shoulder. Affected both by how wide the shoulder is cut, and by how far the wadding extends into the sleevehead
D: Drape in the chest. Extra material gives the impression of strength in the chest
  

Kent Haste Lachter 2


1. The English structured

Most traditional English suits have a good amount of padding in the shoulder, making them quite square, and heavy canvas in the chest, cut fairly close to the wearer.

You can see that effect in the linen suit above, made for me by Terry Haste. The shoulder is large, making me look broader and perhaps stronger in the body than I actually am (I have relatively sloping shoulders).

That breadth of shoulder can also make you look slimmer, as the angle between the shoulder and waist is maximised. It’s an effect that can also be achieved by long, peak lapels and might be preferred by someone that is very slight and wants building up.
  

drape jacket 2

  
2. The English drape

The other major house style, led by Anderson & Sheppard, is known as the ‘drape’. The shoulders and chest are softer, and the shoulder a little elongated as well.

But most importantly, extra material is draped across the chest and back – in the case of the chest, with hand-padded canvas giving the chest a definite curve, suggesting greater bulk to the chest and upper body.

You can see something of this curve in the picture above of an A&S jacket. I’ve always liked it because I prefer the impression of strength in the chest rather than shoulders – and the drape has the nice knock-on effect of being more comfortable.

The effect is often disliked by shorter or slight men, who want more shoulders and breadth.
  

Camps-de-Luca-suit-fishmouth-lapel

  
3. The French shoulder

Although the major French tailors differ in many ways, their general approach to style is quite similar. They all make a much softer shoulder and chest than the English, and the chest is quite ‘clean’ – cut close to the body.

But they achieve an impression of breadth similar to the English structured tailors by emphasising the very end of the shoulder – the sleeve head. The Cifonelli ‘rollino’ is well-known, but the full sleevehead of Camps de Luca is also pretty distinctive (as seen in the photo above).

This is effective on those that want a broader shoulder but dislike structure. The close-cut chest, however, can accentuate the area in those that are thin in this area.

Many other tailors, English and Italian, also make use of a roped shoulder to create this effect – I’ve had some of mine cut deliberately with more rope for this reason.
  

Caraceni-bespoke-cashmere-jacket

  
4 The square Milanese

The style cut by most tailors in Milan and Rome derives from the Abruzzo region and Caraceni diaspora. It is similar to the French in terms of shoulder and chest structure, but usually without much rope to the sleeve.

The shoulder is quite extended however, pushing out into the sleevehead even if there is little rope. This is in sharp distinction to the Neapolitans in the south of Italy, whose sleeves drop immediately (some would say beautifully) from the end of the shoulder.

This Milanese style can seem square on some men. It broadens the shoulder but doesn’t have the padding or roll to lift it up. The effect is often favoured by guys looking for a lightweight but relatively formal style.
  

Elia Caliendo

  
5 The soft Neapolitans

A jacket cut in Naples usually has the very least padding and canvas required to maintain a clean look to the shoulder and chest. More importantly, however, it often has a ‘shirt shoulder’ where the sleeve noticeably runs underneath the shoulder (a look more similar to a shirt than a normal suit).

The effect is to give no extra height or breadth to the shoulder – to make them appear small and rounded. A large man or one with big shoulders may like this, as it adds nothing more to what they already have.

It is here that style becomes most important. Because men that buy Neapolitan jackets usually do so for their ultra-casual, relaxed appearance. They are the only jackets – for me – that work with jeans.

Where an English tailor may say that his suit makes the man look his (physical) best, a Neapolitan may well respond that his makes him look cool. Or simply shrug his shoulders.  
  

edward sexton flannel suit best of british copy
High-flying Edward Sexton shoulders. Lots of padding and rope

   
There are many caveats to this list, and many omissions (nothing of pagoda shoulders, nothing of Florence, nothing of buttoning point, hips, length or foreparts). But it should hopefully serve as an introduction to the idea of thinking about the effects a style creates – and then whether you want those effects or not.

I’ve seen fat men wearing double-breasted drapey jackets, that essentially make them look like a ball – but they pull it off with aplomb. And I’ve seen big, square-shouldered men that look great in big, square-shouldered jackets.

It’s a question of taste, of personal style. Of understanding the rules rather than memorising them – or, as Picasso put it, “learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”.
  

Photos by Luke Carby and Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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Anonymous

What can we learn about what styles help with height? I’m not short (6ft) but would like to look a bit taller & thinner.. whats best?

Paul Ching

Hi Simon, firstly…great encyclopaedic website! I live in Hong Kong and it was through your Trunk Show calendar that I found out Huntsman will be in town next weekend at which time I booked an appt with Mr. Bailey. You noted above that Huntsman cuts a longer jacket; I am 5’8″ of average build, but my arms and legs are on the short side. Is their one-button house style appropriate for me?

Thank you.

Fred

Very useful Simon, thank you.
In a world where suits are still popular but less obligatory than they once were, the Neapolitan style has the advantage of dialling down the formality of a suit by a notch. You can dress it up or down more easily and therefore more versatile.

Robin

Great post Simon. Thanks!

Gus

Is that a new linen suit in the offing?

Anonymous

This is tremendously helpful, and (for me) rather timely. I have just had the second fitting for my first bespoke suit (from a recommendation on this blog), at a tailor whose house style would probably be described as ‘English structured’. When commissioning the suit, I followed the wise advice to ‘let the tailor cut his style’.

At the basted fitting, the impression of a jacket that actually fitted my swimmer’s frame, particularly in the small of the back, and across my only shaped chest was wonderful. At the next fitting, however, I was struck by how ‘big’ the jacket looked. My first impression of the heavily padded shoulders and rather militarily roped sleeves was that the shoulders had been cut 1/2 an inch too wide, compounded by a much larger degree of drape than I had expected from this style (and than I have seen in photographs on this site from this tailor). We are slimming down the chest and the waist a little, and the tailor has suggested pressing down the padding in the sleeve head to make it a little less roped. My question is: is this impression of the jacket being somewhat ‘oversized’ likely to be entirely down to my relatively untutored eye, or is this an issue of fit which I should address at what (should be) the final fitting? The shoulder padding extends about 1/2 or 2/3 an inch beyond my shoulder on each side.

Anonymous

Thanks so much for this. I have now collected the suit, and it looks fantastic. It’s amazing the difference in overall effect that a slight slimming of the chest and waist has achieved.

Oskar

Very relevant, thanks Simon. Would you go for a linen suit with patch pockets in fit no.1 again? Or was that more of an early adventure?

S

This is probably the thing I think about the most when it comes to tailoring- great article!

David Royce

Interestingly, for images 3 & 5 the jacket is “popping” on the left side of your chest, in other words, it seems odd that an expensive bespoke tailor wouldn’t cut the pattern in a way so that your jacket would lie comfortably flat against your chest (i.e, the whole point of going bespoke is to get a perfect fit). I see this problem constantly with men wearing ill fitting off-the-peg suits and bad MTM.

j00

Dear Simon,
I am a long time reader and find your site fantastic, I do have a question, I have long pondered about this; style and body shape, I am a quiet simply big I have a 54″ chest, 40″ waist, 5’10” tall and sometimes have a struggle with tailors (a resent trip made me look massive), could you point me in the right direction or have any suggestions for something that may make me look smaller.

j00

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your answer, very helpful. I working a business environment that is conservative yet has to be informal, I tend to go for a low gorge jacket with shawl collar and patch pockets to lower formality (Always in a dark colour, normally a stripe or herringbone) and you are completely right dark green is a great colour. Do you think I should change this? The other problem I have is shoes, do you have any suggestions?

j00

Dear Simon,
I mainly go for comfort above all else (normally a Chelsea Boot due to added support), so something a bit more stylish. As I am sure you can imagine I do not have light feet, most shoes tend to only last around 6 months or so, even when rotating them. Something stylish yet durable.

j00

Simon,

I found your articles on shoes, I must have missed them. Great articles, using your recommendations I will try out some bespoke ones as soon as possible.

Jamie

Hi Simon, a sort of related question: Do you have any experience of or views on the various British regional tailors? I have found a few online that provide semi and full bespoke suiting (with a basting stage) in a price point that is more affordable to me than anything that I can find in London (especially adding in travel costs etc.) however I am having a hard time finding any kind of guide or informed reviews on the different businesses.

Thanks

J

Jamie

Hi Simon,

Thanks for responding so quickly. I would definitely welcome an article along those lines. Something to help navigate the potential pit falls and ensure that I’m not making a decision based on a false economy – many of the tailors I have looked at offer resonable prices but if the workmanship is not up to scratch it makes more sense to pay a little more elswhere.

One that I contacted advised me that their suits are made per individual and individually cut and include full fittings in baste stage and a final fitting with 1/2 floating canvas or a full floating canvas but no specific mention of paper pattern.

Thaks again

J

John

Hi Simon,
This is absolutely a great post! It takes us to a different, level of understading of the various styles! Thank you so much for introducing this new approach to style!
At once, I eventually have got the answers to questions I couldn’t properly articulate. For instance, I better understand what lends a true British classic Blazer, even one with patch pockets, its sharpness!
Now for all those who can’t afford bespoke jackets or suits, I just wonder whether alterations could be helpful to them to gain more leverage in dealing with the kind of issues, which are at the center of this post.
John

Anonymous

I can appreciate that this might be a difficult question to answer, but in respect of those who use wheelchairs, or whose posture is different from the usual, what should be the things to look out for, or would it be the same across the board? The way I see it is (and please correct me if I’m wrong), tailors should see the suit in much the same way with one crucial difference: the person wearing it would be almost exclusively sat down. Would such a situation pose any difficulty for the tailor in bringing their house style across? Or can the tailor still bring the necessary amount of drape to the suit, and have the same structure to the shoulder as if the person was standing up?

Many thanks,

A more than curious observer 🙂

Anonymous

Much appreciated for your thoughts, Simon. You’re right, t’s probably a question best suited to the individual tailor.

Bespoke is currently a long way off for me in any case, but it’s definitely something that I am contemplating, and looking forward to, at some point in the future.

Many thanks again, and keep up the good work!

Hugh

A specific option may be a kilt jacket, or something similar. They are cut shorter, and thus wouldn’t bunch up under someone while sitting.

Anonymous

Great post, this is the content any reader can appreciate! Just out of interest, if it’s not too personal, how many suits, odd jackets and shirts do you have approximately? Or even just blain blue shirts. The latter is interesting for someone who wears shirts for all occasions, and also as a ratio between shirts and suits. Thank you.

Brett

Simon-
Great post! The fact that each jacket example is tailored to fit the same person (you) makes it much easier to draw comparisons between the styles. The French style is interesting, but I never really see that type of cut here in the U.S. Is it more complex or costly to produce, or just very limited to France?

Anonymous

Great article, very helpful! More of this, please. Thanks

Neil

Great article Simon.
Would the shoulders in the Edward Sexton example work on a separate jacket – or is this normally best left for a suit / formal wear?

David

What a fabulous post – absolutely the best yet !
House styles are quite difficult to judge but are so essential to consider when it comes to anticipating new adventures.
Personally, I love the A&S single breasted house style. Which, given my shape (5′ 8″, 43″ chest, 33″ waist – yes, I was a Rugby ‘hooker’), may seem an unusual choice but effectively I find it quite slimming and as Simon points out; slim, clean, high trousers are key to looking less vertically challenged! Something that A&S manage with aplomb and my preferred cloths have been corduroys and linens which probably give their house style a more louche/relaxed look than would otherwise be the case.
That said, given my life style – I wouldn’t mind having a jacket or summer suit made by one of the ‘Soft Neapolitans’ and love the look of Chittleborough on others.
Two very different things – I know – but would value the opinion of Simon and other Permanent Style aficionados.

suffolk

I always thought a man needed at least two tailors. And it was important that each tailor is aware of your custom with the other.

Rob

Great article Simon. I would love to read a follow up on other aspects such as lapel size, buttoning position, gorge etc etc. Are there any books you can recommend on similar issues?

I also wonder if you could make a list of tailors you have tried by each style?

Best
Rob

Julian

I’d like to second Rob’s request. I would also love to see some more articles looking at other stylistic issues in the same depth that you have addressed shoulders here.

For me the most troublesome issues I have with jackets (all single breasted), apart from shoulders and chest/drape that you’ve covered so well here, are height of the buttoning point, degree of open-ness/closed-ness of the front quarters (which in combination make a huge difference to the front balance of a jacket) and a third issue is the degree of waist suppression (I have slightly big hips so too much can look a bit too effeminate).

Anonymous

Excellent article Simon, the type that gives a real depth of understanding. A comment raises the issue re. regional tailors and proper bespoke. Here is a list; I believe all conform to the triple aspects of proper bespoke; that of unique pattern, proper construction and multiple fittings. De’Ath in Tunbridge Wells, Alexander James in Manchester, Michelsberg, Rodney Cundle and Des Merrion in Leeds, Charles Campbell in Preston, Mark Purcell in Birmingham, D Major in Fulham, English Cut, Barrington Ayre in Cirencester, Norma Cheney in Norwich, John E Monk in Liverpool, Ted Williams in Sheffield, Buckingham Tailors in Buckingham, Clifton suits in Bristol, John Blades in Northumberland, Robert Tracey in Staines, Mood and Russell in Sidcup, Peter Johnston in Edinburgh, Campbells of Beauly, Ken Williams in Abergavenny, Regent Tailoring in Salisbury, Schultz Bespoke in Cheadle, Crichton Bespoke in Cheshire, Souster and Hicks in Woburn. There are many, smaller bespoke firms in London off the Row but nonetheless fully bepoke (Henry Rose, Redwood and Feller etc.). They may not all lead the way in tailoring but as many have been in business for years they must surely produce good, well made, bespoke garments. I am sure that there are many more names should readers wish to add to the list.

Viswa

Informative post,i like your post,thanks for sharing some informative article..

Lisbon Clubman

Very interesting post Simon! Not only to learn a lot more about other styles than mine, but as a simple and very well written way to revise already known concepts and get familiar about new ones!
Thanks

Pontus

Simon, .
I have been a loyal reader since you started out, precisely because of this kind of analytical, yet light hearted take on men’s style and tailoring. This is where you excel. Very good read. Thank you.

J

Hi Simon, what about Spanish tailors (Madrid)? I do believe you have got some jackets from them.

Phil

Thank You for this excellent post! Although it has already given me a lot of information on how to choose the right suit for me, I still have the following quedtion: while more than 15 years of Rugby and weightlifting have left me with broad shoulders and chest (which I don’t mind wearing casual cloth) I like to look slim(mer) and taller in a suit (given the fact that my work environment is very conservative). As I understand you article, I should tend to the unstructured styles. Yet, I feel that this style is to casual for my job. Any suggestions, which style to choose in this case would be highly appreciated.

Your loyal reader,

Phil

Naveed shah

Simon, as always a very informative and interesting article. I’m interested in your view on the house style at Whitcomb and Shaftesbury? having read some of your earlier articles I am considering a bespoke suit from there , I’m 5’8″ and around 11stone, 31″ wait and quite sloping shoulders so I think a more structured style will suit. is that what I can expect to find at W&S, or could you recommend other quality bespoke tailors (off the row given my budget!)?

hugh

Simon,

Where would you say the W&S style fits within the categories above? I met with Mahesh and Bob last month, and though a new suit wasn’t on the cards then, it certainly is in the coming year or so. They described house style as having a fair bit of drape, and being softer than other english makers. Do you think they would be able to make something (relatively) soft but sharp, comparable to a northern italian? Sorry for the meandering question – but it is so hard to pin down and articulate nuance without the hands-on experience. It’s why we keep reading!

-hugh
chicago

hugh

Thanks for the reply, Simon! Now the follow-up: how would you sum up the traditional Kilgour style?

hugh

This is why I am so looking forward to your Finest Tailors series as a reference: having a brief descriptor of the house and cutter style and where it sits relative to other houses and regional styles.

Robert Crawford

Dear Simon, Thank you for all the wonderful information and passion you have for clothes, I thought it was just me.
I am returning to London after working in Italy for 1 year, my job is a Travelling Valet & PA. My 1st purchase will be a pair of Edward Green boots. I am also looking for advice my budget is about £900 for a suit or sports jacket and trousers. I do like Anthony Sinclair. Who would you recommend? Thank for your time in reading my email.
Yours sincerely
Robert

Philipp

Hi Simon,

I plan to have my first bespoke suit made, and I’m so far eyeing with A&S, Huntsman and Poole. I plan to visit all three before I make up my mind, but my question is, how do I decide? What sort of things should I be asking or looking for, that go beyond the basic differences in house style that I have been able to figure out so far. Can I try on a model jacket, to visualise the style on me? Is there any point in looking at cloth choices before I’ve decided which one to go with? I presume for the sort of conservative suit I want (plain navy, SB), their selection of cloths will be quite similar.

Thanks for your help!

Philipp

Hi Simon,
Many thanks for your reply and the links! There is indeed a lot out there and I’ve read quite a bit of it. I presume the tailors will be able to point me in the right direction. I’ve certainly followed your advice and thought a lot about what I want. Your posts are very helpful, especially when you highlight small details, which I would never have thought about, e.g. the position of waist straps on the seam of the waistband.

Best wishes!

Joël

Hi Simon, thanks a lot, as well for the previous answers.
Let’s be a bit more specific. I’m a 6′ 4″ tall guy, with a 50″ breast, rather large shoulders, and since I can’t do much sport anymore, when taking a deep breath 48″ on the belly, 38″ waistline.
What I would like as an end result, for a more formal dress, is to appear a bit slimmer. For my taste, I prefer structured shoulder, and I really don’t care if the suit will broaden me or not at all. My shoulders are pretty flat naturally.
Any advice here ?
My thanks !

Robbie

Great post!

I’m about to go for my first double breasted in mid grey flannel. I’ve decided on a change of tailor and am going for either A & S or Solito.

I play rugby and as a consequence have broad shoulders and relatively large chest. My question is in two parts :

1) Of these two tailors , which would you choose for a double breasted flannel?
2) Should I even consider double breasted considering my body shape?

Love your blog.

Anonymous

Great post, thanks! Curious what your thoughts are on the very tall. I’m 6’10” somewhere between slim and athletic build. Most of my jackets are type 4 from a local Italian tailor who trained in Rome. I’d like to broaden out my styles, thinking of trying French shoulder (Cifonelli) or soft version of type 1 (Poole). Something about the drape of type 2 scares me off as if the nipped waist and heavy chest will be a bit over the top on a jacket my size. What do you think?

Anonymous

Dear Simon
Im very skinny and tall(187cm and 62 kg) with a thin waist ,slightly pigeon chested . I would like to look more bigger.What are the things for me to notice when I choose a suit and what would you recommend? Thanks!

Miyamoto Kojiro

Hello Simon!

I read and learn a lots from your website about the world of bespoke suit. I’m thinking about have my first bespoke suit now and I still doing some researches. I’m 6’1 (185cm) tall with broad and square shoulders. With the muscular built, my chest area is very thick. I want something with sharp and straight silhouette and light garments. Something that strong and masculine without accentuate my chest area too much. As the man who is very knowledgeable about men’s clothing like yourself, I would like to ask for your opinion regarding what house style of suit would fit me best? It would be even better if you could recommend me the tailors in UK, France or Italy.

Thank you for answering my question and have a great day.

Miyamoto Kojiro

Thank you so much for your opinion. However, I still have one more concern. As I live in Canada and there is no good tailor here. The only way to get a good bespoke suit is to travel elsewhere. If I decide to go to London, I can only stay for 2 weeks. I have already contacted a few of them on The Row like Richard Anderson, Maurice Sedwell, Edward Sexton, etc and they said they can prioritize my order in the way that I could come in for all the fittings during my stay (2 weeks). Do you think it’s a good idea? Would it has any negative effect on the quality of the suit?

Miyamoto Kojiro

Alright. Thank you so much Simon. Keep up with the great work. Have a great day.

Mr J

Thanks Simon – stumbled upon this after over a year. Great article.

Do you think the market place has been overly obsessed with Neapolitan cut and shoulders recently, where customers don’t necessarily think about what styles suit their body shape the most?

I am 6″ tall with pretty wide (but rather sloping) shoulders. I have a few jackets with shirt shoulders but the effect tends to be a bit too slanted. Do you think adding some structures or shoulder pad would help make the sillouette more flattering?

Alan

Hi Simon,

I would like to get a neopolitan style jacket made but don’t have easy access to a neopolitan maker. How likely is a skilled tailor to be able to achieve this style, including shirt shoulders, if it is not actually their house style?

Markus

Thank you Mr.Simon,

It’s very usefull. May I know how can the tailor make the shoulder slope like that?

Peter

Dear Simon, N&L has changed jacket sleeve button spacing to what Hackett had and calls it “Savile Row”!? I couldn’t find any article dealing with jacket sleeve button spacing on PS. Nor have I found a foto of you wearing a 2 & 2 button order spacing. What’s your judgment –
is this just a gimmick?

Peter

Dear Simon,
My ineloquent opinion is your ambitious classification needs far MORE illustrations! ?
Your loudest shouter Peter

Christian Riedl

Hello Simon.

What kind of stlye for a jacket would you recommend. I have wide shoulders and a chest with large circumference /volume. Additionally my shoulders are straight and do not decline from the neck to the should tip.

out of your description in the house stlyes it should ideally have less padding / canvas.

Best regards
Christian

Vegard

Hello Simon,
What style would you recommend for a bodybuilder who already has a wide chest and shoulders and wants his jacket to show it without overdoing it and looking like a caricature?
When it comes to design, I prefer the English style, military uniforms, and country/hunting wear, but I sometimes like to add one or two creative details to my clothes. I mostly wear black combined with grey, white or olive/military green. Some of my clothes are black with dark/blood red details.
I work as an IT engineer, which means I can wear pretty much whatever I want, so my clothes would generally not be too formal to avoid being overdressed.

Chancellor

There’s been much discussion here about aligning one’s body type to the house style that will suit them (and/or their desired look) best.

I’m wondering if you can elaborate a little on considering a tailor modifying their house style (intra-tailor variation) to suit you versus choosing a house style that suits you (inter-tailor variation).

For example, I have a very narrow frame, am above average height, have very square shoulders, and also tend to carry weight in my chest despite being thin. Because of the first three, I can easily look lanky, and so my main goal in a jacket would be to look a bit broader.

Perhaps an obvious choice would be a French or Milanese style–gives an roped/extended shoulder to widen me, my chest is already a little large so it doesn’t need building up much more and the drape of cloth over it will likely make it look muscular, the shoulders light padding will play well with my square shoulders, and the clean/close cut won’t create unnecessary cloth that may highlight my lankiness.

However, were I to go with a structured English jacket (because I’ve always liked the look), presumably a tailor would want adjust their cut to flatter me–use roping or extension to broaden the shoulders, shape cloth over my chest in a flattering way, lighten/shape the shoulders a little to compensate for their squareness, and use their usual clean/close cut.

I’m sure the two suits will look different in subtle ways–the English will still look more structured and military-like.

I’m wondering about your thoughts on the wisdom of going with an English tailor in this kind of situation. Obviously, you don’t want them to try to use a style that isn’t theirs. But if they are still using their style, but making it work for a body that naturally is maybe not best suited to it, is that ok our would you recommend against it?

Serge

I just came across this article and although it has been a while since anyone has commented I would like to add my thanks for this information and would love to read more about different jacket and suit styles as fashions change through the years.
I am just being measured up for a full canvas jacket. The style of the fabric and the quantity will allow for a blazer. Since it is full canvas and a fair amount of work, the tailor insists on a more formal style and would like to use flap pockets. If it is made as a jacket, will flap pockets work with this style or will it look like the top of a suit? This is my worry as it is a self designed dark navy blue wool/cashmere fabric but with some weight. I hate brass buttons but will consider using them to make the jacket look more like a blazer than the top of a suit.
Is there something I can do with the cut and style to help. Any thoughts please? It is currently planned as a 2-button with a low long collar (which I prefer as I am a little stocky) and medium-sized notch lapels. Thanks.

Anonymous

Thank you. I love the idea of horn buttons.
On the subject of pockets. I saw some interesting style with slanted front pockets. However all the pockets slant downwards i.e the front being higher than the back (which makes sense for access). However, these pockets on jackets or suits are only for aesthetic purposes nowadays. Do you know of any one who slants them backwards – i.e. the reverse of a standard hacking pocket – from low to high. I think it may make complement the cut of a jacket nipped at the waist and look rather sleek?

Nicholas

I’m looking at commissioning a casual flannel jacket in the ‘Neapolitan’ style; my preference is for an unstructured shoulder, however I’m not completely averse to a little half-canvas and padding. What would be your recommendation – to go unstructured, or to give in to a little padding?

Nicholas

Many thanks! Have you any suggestions as regards fabric? Syle-wise, I’m aiming for a Neapolitan structure, with English tradition in the form of jacketing and trimmings (flannel, unpolished horn buttons).

Jonny

Hi Simon,
Do you have any advice for someone with very square shoulders who also has very prominent AC joint? Ideally, I would prefer no shoulder padding as to not make my shoulders look any more square than they already are, but unfortunately no padding results in a big bump where bone protrudes. Would you consider a visible bump along the shoulder line to always be ‘incorrect’? I definitely prefer the softer silhouette of a Neapolitan shoulder (without roll), but its impossible for me to get a straight shoulder line with one.

Richard T

Hi Simon,

This is a very intel resting and useful thread. I’m fairly clear about the styles of most of the major tailors – A&S/SH drape, D&S/G&H/Huntsman varying degrees of classic English cut, Sexton and C&M highly structured etc, but I’ve been wondering about some of the other, slightly less “big name” tailors. I think I may be correct in thinking that W&S lean more in the direction of A&S, but with a little less drape and K&H lean more in the direction of Huntsman, but where would you place Thom Sweeney and Timothy Everest in the continuum between strong drape like A&S and structured English like D&S?

Richard T

Thanks, Simon. That’s helpful in calibrating my understanding of the tailoring on offer in the UK.

Drew Watson

Simon, I’d be interested in seeing you work with American bespoke tailors. I’m in the US, but don’t have the travel budget to go see an EU- or Asia-based tailor. I’m open to traveling for trunk shows by major Continental tailors, but would love to have a US-based tailor I could see without the time constraints of a trunk show.

Thanks!

Drew Watson

I’ll check out the write-up on Chris Despos. I used to live in Chicago, but wasn’t able to use him while I was there.

The other part of the trunk show process that makes me nervous — especially for a first commission — is the baste and subsequent fittings. Either they can’t easily be done, or a whole lot of time goes by. Any suggestions on that front?

Drew Watson

Simon, that’s right. Or that for a first commission, multiple fittings would be required, potentially several months apart each. I guess it isn’t much different than traveling to Italy to have something made, but I’d still like to have somebody more local I could see more easily than waiting for a trunk show.

I really appreciate your insights and engagement with readers. Will PS ever have a pop-up shop in the States?

James

Hi Simon, like many have already said below, great article! I was hoping you could give your opinion on something I am struggling with – I am 5’8 with a 36’ chest and 30’ waist, and I can’t decide between which of the Anderson & Sheppard and Huntsman housetyles would suit my body best. I prefer the relaxed elegance of the A&S drape cut, but am worried that it would not look as good on my body type – do you have an opinion?

Bernie

Hi Simon,

I’m writing to ask your thoughts on straight vs bellied lapels. I see that you are following along in the Siciliy Tailors thread on styleforum and wanted to ask you how you felt about their lapels that have a constant curve onwards towards the second button. Dieworkwear did an article on the subject and I’m inclined to agree that bellied lapels in general are a more dated look while straighter lapels are more masculine and young.

Bellied lapels create a U shape in the chest while straight lapels create more of a sharper V.
Technically speaking, is lapel curve the main reason behind the droopy U and sharp V? I’d like to understand how both effects are created in order to communicate with tailors, thanks!

Serge

I am not sure all bellied lapels look dated. I like the work that Yuki Inoue does and his jackets and suits look very fashion forward! Certainly makes a distinct change from the more mass market thin lapel, high button stance look.

Bernie

I’m referring to the Sicilean tailors UrbanComposition has introduced to the forum – Arrigo, Salvo, and etc.

Thanks for the note on the importance of the gorge, I can see how shifting the gorge angle and position would influence the “shape ” of the chest. An overly high gorge angle would probably be conducive to bellied lapels and therefore a U silhouette instead of a sharp V.

On a related note, I noticed there are differences to how much shirt space each jacket shows. For example, in this article the Milanese jacket collar is more compact and the visible shirt area is much less compared to the Neapolitan example, where you see much more of the shirting. What are the major drivers behind this effect?

Bernie

Thanks – does higher button placement also allow for better chest fullness and drape?

Also, Is there a different between fullness and drape, maybe in terms of cutting?

Bernie

Thanks

Michael Wee

Hi Simon,
I’m starting to explore the world of bespoke suiting, but it seems like the more I read the more confused I get. Most body type guides tend to focus on all body types except the muscular. My current favorite cut is Suitsupply’s Napoli, it projects a strong image without drawing too much attention to my shoulders, as a more junior person, the last thing I want to be remembered for is being the meathead in the room. I wear a 46 Jacket and 33 Waist, which brings me to my question. What cuts should I be looking into? I have wide shoulders, thick chest, and a relatively small waist. My thighs are also extremely thick because of rugby. Ideally, the cut should disguise my thighs without drawing too much attention to the taper from my chest to my waist. Love reading your blog and would love it if you could provide me with some insight into my conundrum.

Stanley

Hi Simon

I just have the second fit from wwchan, there is a uncertain question coming up:

they provide a option for me to decide ; the waist button either tighter (the suit more closer to my back) or loose

Where tighter seem trimmer my body and looker taller,
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9Cxb3s4XoE6cS1VejlJbEFVRFhqLVJaT01iRnUtQ0xUOWt3

And loose seem balance my body to have a stronger build
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9Cxb3s4XoE6c2ZVU1hDZ2ZiQmp3YUdmcnRjb2ZCMXQ5VUlv

As a skinny men, which style will be better for me?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Long-time reader, first-time poster as they say – love your work. I would very much appreciate your help with the following conundrum:

I’m 5’8″, 180 lbs with a thick chest, fairly broad and slightly sloping shoulders, and big arms – the combined effect of which is to create a markedly gradual, rounded transition from my shoulder line to my arms. (It can be a little difficult figuring out precisely how wide my shirt yokes should be.)

I’ve found that this creates a bit of a paradox for me Re jacket fit: While I don’t need a structured cut to give the impression of a strong chest/shoulders, I find that a traditional Neapolitan cut exacerbates the lack of a firm distinction between my shoulders and arms, making for not such a clean look. Hence, I actually appreciate some structure in the cut of my jackets.

When it comes to suits, no problem; I’ve had success with the softer but still structured drape cut.

But – here’s the conundrum – what about sports jackets that I want to be able to wear more casually? As I’ve said, I find anything like the Neapolitan shirt shoulder to be unflattering. What would you recommend? My best thought is to stick with the drape cut, or something else with structure, and just to build in lots of informal elements Re choice of cloth and design details – but I’d certainly appreciate your advice here.

At the end of the day I’ll prioritize a flattering silhouette above all – but I’d also like to have a sports jacket or two that don’t look overly formal when trying to dress down.

Anonymous

Very helpful – thank you.

My only follow-up would be whether there’s a way to get the casual benefit of the Neapolitan cut while incorporating a slightly more extended or structured shoulder – but I gather you’d say that a big part of what makes the Neapolitan cut so casual and suitable to be worn with jeans is the shirt shoulder ITSELF. So I really do have to make a choice.

And the choice in that case is rather easy – keep some structure in my sports jackets and just accept that I’m not going to be wearing a jacket with jeans (not the end of the world).

(Interestingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, my first really serious purchase when I began upgrading my wardrobe a few years ago was a handful of good cardigans, which pair great with jeans and still manage to look flattering even though they obviously have soft shoulders, maybe because that’s just the way sweaters look and there’s no possibility of more-flattering shape/structure.)

Thanks again, Simon!

Anonymous

Even without any padding, would such an extended shoulder provide a bit of definition between shoulder line and arm? (That’s really what I’m after – just a bit of shape, not padding per se.) Or would my shoulders still look quite round given that that’s their natural shape?

Again, probably best just to stick with the (relatively) soft English style I know I like…

Anonymous

Great – thanks again!

DKP

Simon – If one were in the Uk and looking to have a jacket that was a bit more on the comfortable/casual side that would be flexible enough to wear with jeans or trousers – are there any UK based tailors that do a decent Neapolitan style jacket or would it be better to find a Neapolitan tailor who makes visits to the UK? If so, any you particularly recommend?

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
throughout your experience have you found a style which is more able to
keep the collar on your neck than the rest? I would assume that an A&S suit
is better kept at the collar due to the drape and how it reacts to movement.
Are structured English suits more in danger of getting the collar away from the neck
when moving due to the nature of their internal structure? What about Neapolitans?
Best
Alex N.

Karol

Dear Simon, big thanks for the great post. I’ve got a question, however. Would you recommend any style other than 5 for an odd jacket that is worn mostly with chinos, jeans or cords? I’m fairly muscular, but with 182cm/140lbs I could use some extra width and bulk. The problem is, right now I’m getting into a work environment where formal suit would stick out like a sore thumb, and in a wrong way. Is there any way to get some of the benefits without throwing the casualness right out of the window?

Michael R.

Dear Simon,
I am looking for some guidance for a tailor. I am looking for an understated British suit which will
allow me to conduct my affairs without too much fuss. I am usually quite formal in both dress and manners, but don’t take hold myself aloof. I hate if people notice what I wear as it detracts from what I am saying. The tailors I have considered commissioning from on the row are Welsh and Jeffries, Richard Anderson (two button, straight flaps), Dege and Skinner and Benson and Clegg. Would you be able to give a suggestion who will suit me well? I am not a particular fan of the drape cut as it makes me feel big (read fat) and don’t like a strong rope similar to G&H. A style icon I really like is Nigel Hawthorne from “Yes, Minister” as Sir Humphrey Appleby.
Looking forward to your suggestion.
Michael

Michael R.

Dear Simon,
Thank you for your comment. The choice is hard even though it’s a pleasant kind of choice to make. I will go down to the shops and have a word with Nicholas and Richard and see how it goes. The social media pages are not good of either house as they mostly post their “interesting” commissions, which have nothing in common with what most men would commission for business. It’s a shame that more tailors don’t post a dark navy two button straight flap pocket two piece suit.
Thank you
Michael

DKP

@Simon – Following on from Michael R.’s comment – perhaps this already happens or is happening but I’m surprised more houses don’t reach out for guidance and consultation around how best to present themselves online. You can clearly evidence what works or doesn’t in this space and seems they mostly all miss the boat in this regard. Can’t expect them to know these things out of the box so surely seek out someone who does.

Anonymous

Does a full chest mean it is cut with drape?

Anonymous

Does a lean chest mean the same as a clean chest?

Can a chest be cut with drape and lean?

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
I would like to raise a marketing point of structured houses which doesn’t convince me at all. I have heard it repeated over and over again that it’s the structure that gives longevity to a jacket. I can’t fall for that as I see no reason for structured suits to last more than drape ones or Neapolitan ones. What is your view on this?
Alex N.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

I’m searching a bespoke tailor and I have a question regarding the chest canvas and how heavy it feels when wearing the suit jacket. I’m used to wear typical rtw suits like Caruso and I would like to know if the chest canvas of Vergallo (and other North Italians) is similar to that used in high-end rtw suits like Caruso (or Zegna or Brioni)?

Tom

Hi Simon, brilliant article; you’re a terrific writer. I’m a short (5’5”) lawyer with very broad, slopeless shoulders and a somewhat muscular build. I’m thinking about delving into bespoke and was wondering if one of the style categories might work particularly well for me?

I’m not sure if the Neapolitan style might be insufficiently formal for court and dealing with clients, but I also wouldn’t want my shoulders to appear overly bulky with some of the English house styles that use lots of shoulder padding.

Thanks!