Dege & Skinner finished tobacco-linen suit

Wednesday, July 6th 2016
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I wore this linen suit from Dege & Skinner for the first time while in Florence. The weather was hot, and airless, and for the past two days I had been wearing unstructured Neapolitan tailoring. 

The contrast was immediately noticeable. As soon as I put on the Dege suit I felt held - around the shoulders, through the chest, in the waist. I felt the shoulder pad and the curve of the canvas.

But, after half an hour or so, I got used to it. And then barely noticed it the rest of the day.

After all, even a Neapolitan suit is more structured than a set of pyjamas, and would feel constrictive by comparison. It's all relative.

I completely understand anyone that wouldn't wear a structured English suit in that weather (and there is certainly an argument that Savile Row suiting is best suited to other times of the year).

But I equally understand men that have always worn such suits (even braces, and waistcoats in the summer) and for whom it is second nature.

dege and skinner bespoke savile row

Structured tailoring also has the advantage, of course, of stronger lines and a sharper silhouette. It's all corners and fine curves - even in linen.

I've chosen to use photos here from that day in Milan during various appointments, in order to illustrate these flattering lines and angles. (I can do a follow-up post on the quality and make of the Dege suit later if readers would like.)

I've also deliberately not done straight up and down, static shots.

People over-analyse these, which is a waste of time given the distortions of any view or lens, and (more importantly) because this is not the beauty of bespoke. 

Straight up-and-down tailoring is the realm of basic made-to-measure. Or even ready-to-wear. It's akin to the 'hanger appeal' of designer clothing that is designed to look good primarily in that setting, rather than actually being worn.

bespoke linen suit dege savile row

The structure of bespoke allows a jacket to hug the wearer's neck all the way around. It creates a universal smoothness across the top of the back.

In the photo below, it creates that lovely curving lapel, and the smooth three-dimensional shape through the body. 

Despite being made from wrinkly linen. Despite the fact my body's twisting up and away, and my arm is raised.

In the image below, talking to Satoki Kawai of Satoria Cresent, the bespoke make keeps that curve to the lapel, the soft transition from shoulder to sleeve, and the smooth sweep of the skirt. 

It is these three-quarter angle shots that often show the loveliest aspects of bespoke, rather than 2D mug shots.

dege and skinner linen suit on simon crompton

There will always be a place in my wardrobe for this type of sharp English tailoring. And Dege & Skinner is perhaps my favourite of such English tailors I have tried (comparing to Huntsman, Poole, Kent Haste etc, not drape of Steven Hitchcock or super structured of Sexton/Chittleborough). 

Nicholas De'Ath, the Dege cutter, did a great job with the fit. The only thing that didn't quite work was the height of the trousers, which we attempted to keep high despite the lack of braces. 

Those will have to be lowered in the waist, which isn't the end of the world. I was happy to let Nick try his normal fit. It's both part of my education and part of the body of knowledge built up on this site.

dege and skinner linen suit

Dege & Skinner, by the way, are doing an extra trip to the United States this month - targeted at giving US customers the advantage of a historically low exchange rate. (They normally come three times a year, in February, June and September.)

Nicholas De'Ath, who cut my suit, will be in New York and Washington as follows:

New York: The Kimberly Hotel
Friday 22 July: 9am-6pm
Saturday 23 July: 9am-last appointment at 12pm
Washington: The Willard Intercontinental
Monday 25 July: 9am-4pm
Dege two-piece suits start at £4254 inclusive of VAT. 
Photos: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man
Tie: Olive printed silk from Drake's
Shoes: My bespoke adelaides from Gaziano & Girling
Shirt: Linen from Luca Avitabile
Bag: Michael Bastian tote bag, made by Frank Clegg
Gaziano and Girling bespoke adelaide