This post was originally written in 2012, following a request from a reader. It was a breakdown of all the tailors I have tried, split into different countries.
I have endeavoured to update it now, bringing the list and experiences up to date and combining two original posts into one.
There are now links in all the descriptions to posts elsewhere on the site, making this a useful jumping off point for anyone looking to research bespoke tailors.
There are 39 tailors in all, which is too many by anyone’s standards. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that someone pursue this course towards bespoke, or maintain this number of tailors. One to three is more like it (see post ‘How many tailors do you need?‘ here).
However, hopefully it is a useful resource for anyone looking for personal experiences and reviews of the world’s best in bespoke.
The biggest exponent of the ‘drape cut’, with soft shoulders and fullness of cloth in the chest and back. Together with a closely cut waist, it gives the illusion of a bigger chest and is very comfortable. Some think that the soft shoulders are unflattering.
It is among the cheaper houses on the Row, and I particularly like the double-breasted style as it has a relatively broad lapel with plenty of belly. Most of my suits are from A&S, cut by John Hitchcock.
The finest finish of any English tailors, learning from the French in their buttonholes among other things, Chittleborough was founded by two cutters from the legendary Tommy Nutter shop, where Edward Sexton was the head cutter. Roy Chittleborough is now retired, but Joe Morgan carries on cutting Sixties-inspired suits with large lapels, nipped waists and strong shoulders.
A highly traditional Savile Row tailor with a rich military history, Dege cuts a strong-shouldered, long jacket and usually braced trousers. Still family owned, they have benefited in recent years from turbulence at similar houses such as Huntsman.
Cutter Nick De’Ath made me a superb tobacco-linen suit. And although the higher rise of the trousers didn’t quite work out the first time, he was accommodating on several other points.
Edward’s style is similar to that of Joe Morgan, but his finishing and stylistic details are less about things like lap seams and Milanese buttonholes, and more about colour and cloth.
Davide Taub, of whose style I am a big fan, is now the head cutter at Gieves. He trained at Maurice Sedwell among other places and he tends towards a strong shoulder and silhouette.
A traditional English cut but with willingness to experiment. Currently making some of the best non-Italian soft jackets I’ve seen in terms of cut.
Although not the same standard of make as Savile Row, Graham Browne is by far the best value tailoring in London. I have had many things made over the years, I have all my alterations done there, and my first bespoke suit in London, which was made by them, is still one of my favourites.
(Choppin & Lodge was set up by the same team as Graham Browne, and shares resources.)
Run by Toby Luper, who is based in Leeds but visits clients in London, and has the suits made at Cheshire Bespoke. The style is English but with a particularly large and extended shoulder.
Toby is not a cutter, and normally I would avoid being fitted by anyone who is not a cutter. But the trousers Toby cut me are probably the best fitting I have.
The other one of the big three names on the Row, it is more flexible in house style than either A&S or Huntsman. The basic cut is strong and English, however, with slightly less padding and structure in the shoulder and chest than Huntsman.
I had a double-breasted Prince of Wales suit made, which has been quietly superb. It gets more compliments that almost anything else, yet it is conservative in everything by the cloth. Cut by Craig Featherstone.
The opposite of Anderson & Sheppard in style, with strong, padded shoulders and a closely cut chest. Relatively slim through the waist and with little skirt, it is known for a one-button fastening. Most other English tailors cut this traditional style, with slight variations.
I liked the hunting suit I had made by David Ward. We had some problems with the bi-swing back, as the vents stayed open and elastic was added inside to fix that.
John and Terry work with Stephen Lachter (shirt cutter) on Sackville Street. Terry was head cutter at Huntsman and his style is very similar; John tends to cut a slightly smaller back and slimmer leg – sharper, in that way.
John made my pattern and I have two suits from it, the second cut and fitted by Terry – hence the difference in styles noted above. The make was superb and I would say they are the best value on the Row.
Kathryn used to be the head tailor at Gieves & Hawkes. Her style is, like Poole and others, a traditional English military cut.
My travel blazer and trousers were cut by Kathryn Sargent while she was at Gieves. She has since set up her own premises, and made a beautiful tweed jacket for my wife there, which reflected her particular skill in women’s styles.
Bryan Manning is an old tailor who used to work at Kilgour and has operated on his own for several years, meeting clients at Holland & Sherry on Savile Row or in workrooms on Tottenham Court Road.
He is very good value for money, but the high-twist summer suit he made me had some issues, particularly around the finishing. The fit, however, was very good, and the suit was hand-padded and hand-finished throughout.
A city tailor, PA Crowe have a small shop near to St Paul’s cathedral. I worked close-by for several years and eventually had a pair of brown flannel trousers made.
The results were not great, with the persistent issue I have of hollow fronts and bulging rear causing the trousers to lose their sharpness all too easily. Not bad if they were Graham Browne prices, but unfortunately they are rather more expensive.
Richard used to be the head cutter at Huntsman and his cut is similar, though with less padding in the shoulder.
One difference is perhaps a more adventurous style; he has recently been making some for customers in wool jersey, for example.
Richard made me a tuxedo, single breasted with a shawl-collared waistcoat. It was slim and perfectly fitting, though my favourite part was the superb trousers.
Ben Clarke at Richard James has been growing the bespoke side of the business, which for the past few years has had its own dedicated premises on Clifford Street.
At the time of writing Ben is making a brown cashmere jacket for me, waistcoat and trousers, deviating from the normal Richard James style somewhat to make something softer and more casual. The waistcoat will be self-backed and designed to wear with denim.
Son of A&S head cutter John Hitchcock, Steven was trained there and his style is very similar. As he works in shared premises on the Row and is now independent, he is of course cheaper as well.
Steven made me a tweed jacket and moleskin trousers, and a couple of years later, a beautiful pale-grey jacket from the Lamlana bunch. If anything I found his style to be softer and drapier than his father.
A much more contemporary cut than anyone else on this list – a short jacket, narrow sleeve and fitted waist. Famous for their horseshoe waistcoats.
Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney are great stylists, with Thom the cutter. Their strength is style, youth and innovation. They made me a navy checked jacket and cord trousers several years ago, which fit very well (though I somewhat regretted the boldness of the windowpane check).
Tim is a wonderful stylist and designer. His cutter in the Elder Street bespoke operation in east London is Lloyd Forester. Lloyd’s style is traditionally English though with less structure; Tim adds a dash of innovation to the mix during the commissioning and fittings.
The suit and velvet jacket I had made were both well done. The strength is in Tim’s consultation, and the rack of unusual things that are guaranteed to be hanging around.
Run by two Indian brothers, Whitcomb & Shaftesbury have an extremely good value service called Classic Bespoke which is cut in London but has some of the making work done in a workshop they own and have trained themselves in India.
The result is perhaps the best place to start for any full bespoke suit. The full review of the navy worsted suit they made me can be seen here.
A small, second-generation tailor in Naples. Elia Caliendo is the cutter and his father still does some of the tailoring work. Neapolitan style is fairly consistent, with self-lined jackets in the foreparts, very light construction, shirt shoulders and those curving pockets. The biggest difference between them is quality of finishing and fit, and Elia is superb on both. He visits London every month or so.
I have had a summer jacket a Permanent Style tweed jacket and several other things made by Elia. He is in London often, which is a big advantage. My favourite Neapolitan.
Sartoria Dalcuore are a slightly larger tailor in Naples, with a workshop supplying ready to wear garments to places like Brio in Beijing, alongside traditional bespoke.
They made me a brown Crispaire suit for the summer which was beautifully fitted and in a classic Neapolitan style – only lacking a couple of details like fit around the trousers that perhaps could have been corrected at a second fitting.
Ferdinando Caraceni, one of four outfits doing bespoke in Milan and Rome under the Caraceni name, made me a cashmere herringbone jacket. A beautifully made piece, it was noticeably more formal than other Italians I had tried – more an unstructured alternative to a Row suit than a rival to Neapolitan casualness.
Nicoletta Caraceni is the charismatic head of the house, Ferdinando’s daughter.
Although not bespoke, the made-to-measure suit that Kiton made me through Harrod’s had all the handmade details that result from Kiton’s approach – an individual pattern and hand-sewn finishing such as buttonholes (but no hand-padding in chest etc).
The result was OK, a grey summer suit that suffered slightly in the fit for being measured, fitted and then fitted again by three different people, none of whom were trained bespoke cutters.
The best-known tailor in Florence, Antonio Liverano cuts a short jacket and slim trousers. It is quite contemporary in that respect, and has been popular with the guys over at The Armoury in Hong Kong. Check out their Tumblr for examples of the work.
Antonio is making me a purple jacket, which is not ready yet but you can see at the basted stage here. He is expensive, but I like his sense of style (he commissioned his own doughnut-patterned scarves) and the cut works well in casual jackets.
A Neapolitan trouser maker with a good reputation – and making trousers for some of the other Neapolitan tailoring houses – Marco Cerrato has started to expand more abroad with his brother in London handling a lot of commissions.
Marco is making me a pair of heavy cotton twill trousers, which will be published and written about soon.
Gianfrancesco Musella was one of the young tailors I brought to our Symposium event in Florence this summer, and no one better deserved the invitation. He is both highly skilled and genuinely innovative, bringing different flavours to the Milanese style.
Gianfrancesco has just started the process of making me a navy cotton suit, in the same lightweight cotton as my brown Caliendo. He is also in the process of moving to a bigger location, reflecting the growth in his small outfit.
Nunzio Pirozzi runs a highly regarded tailoring house in Naples, and works with E Marinella in London to both service his existing clients here and offer a service to Marinella’s customers.
Nunzio is in the process of making me a tan corduroy suit – very similar to an Anderson & Sheppard DB that I love, but single breasted and in the casual Neapolitan style.
The biggest name in Naples. Regular Neapolitan style, though with a big collection of vintage cloth on offer, a penchant for silk-scarf linings and Luca’s other inventions. Stores in Milan and London and regular visits to the US and elsewhere.
Rubinacci’s strength is its styling. The cashmere Donegal jacket I had made from an old 70s cloth was good, with a great make and ok fit. But it was Luca’s recommendation of the bronze-green lining that made it for me.
Salvatore Ambrosi is easily the best known trouser maker in the world, travelling to dozens of cities around the world and working with shops like Armoury, Brio and Brycelands.
Salva makes to a very high level, better than most Neapolitans, with lovely hand detailing. He also has considerably style, which helps rather with commissions. My experience was quite inconsistent though, with a few mistakes along the way.
One of the biggest names in Neapolitan tailoring. Gennaro Solito is a great cutter; he speaks no English but his son, Luigi, does. Their style is typical Neapolitan though they do a large number of regular (not shirt) shoulders too. Beautiful overcoats.
Luigi has made me a few jackets since he started visiting London with Neapolitan shirtmaker Luca Avitabile, including the first – a lightweight green sports jacket. They have since built up a big business and started travelling to New York as well.
A local tailor from the town of Varese, north of Milan, Vergallo has become a bigger name in tailoring since cutter Gianni Cleopazzo began travelling to London. A north Italian style, so softer than English but sharper than the Neapolitans.
Vergallo has made me a navy cashmere suit andhoundstooth jacket. Good make and fit, with an openness to innovation. Perhaps the best value Italian tailor coming to London.
The biggest of the Parisian tailors, the Cifonelli cut is characterised by a light construction but a strength of shape achieved by a roped shoulder and slim waist. Stunning finishing on the buttonholes, trousers and linings.
Cifonelli is my top recommendation for a business suit, given the shape. But then Lorenzo is also great on innovation in cloth and design, as previous posts on them will illustrate. Travels to London increasingly regularly too.
Camps de Luca are a small but no less fine Parisian tailor, and made me a beautiful grey two-piece suit with their characteristic closed notch on the lapel and small Milanese buttonhole.
Slightly square of shoulder, with a fantastically made trouser and exquisite detailing, they rival Cifonelli in most departments. Although they can seem more classic than Cifonelli, they do also make suede and leather pieces, and some unusual jackets for hot weather.
The best of the three Spanish tailors I tried, Calvo de Mora made a closely fitted grey jacket, a self-backed grey donegal waistcoat, and green cotton trousers. The jacket was quite close through the skirt and soft in the shoulder, although not as casual as a Neapolitan make.
Unfortunately Calvo don’t travel to London or anywhere else regularly. They are the most expensive of the Spanish tailors here, perhaps inevitably given the quality.
Sastreria Langa are best know for their shirtmaker, Mariano, who has a long and storied list of customers. The shirt he made was well-fitted, if quite formal and stiff in the collar, with a good deal of handwork.
The linen suit cut by Joaquin was a lovely piece, largely because of the colour of the Scabal linen. The jacket itself could have been made better and there was an issue with the shoulders – partly due to trying to create a Neapolitan look – which they are working to correct.
Reillo is a small tailor – one cutter, Jose Maria, with some help with making at the back of the shop. Like Langa he is good value for money, although the green cotton suit that we made together suffered rather in the shoulders.
Partly, as with Langa, this was due to trying to create a very soft, Neapolitan-style jacket, which is not the natural style the Spanish tailors were trained on.
Back in the days when I travelled to Hong Kong a lot, and had less money, I tried three or four different cheap HK tailors. Edward Tam at E.Italian was the best, at around £300 for a suit.
The cut can be a little boxy but if you’re insistent, it can be a great choice. Cut by hand and made by hand, with a fitting or two required. Not to anywhere near the same standard as bespoke elsewhere (try WW Chan or similar for that) but not a rip-off 24-hour tailor either.