Building a wardrobe: Neapolitan tailoring

Friday, January 6th 2017
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Tweed jacket by the tweed

In recent months a few readers have asked for a breakdown of how I built my wardrobe - my plans, my process and my lessons learned.

Doing so across all types of garment and even styles would produce a very long, unwieldy piece, so I thought I would focus on one aspect at a time.

The first, examined here, is Neapolitan jackets.

As time as gone on, I revert more and more to Neapolitan tailors for casual jackets and the occasional casual suit; and stick to English tailors for more business-like and formal suits.

It depends on your work environment and lifestyle of course, but I generally need a 50:50 balance of these two styles.

In the descriptions below have focused on my cloth and style choices, why I picked them and how they have built into a versatile wardrobe. Choices between tailors is covered in more detail on individual posts.

Rubinacci cashmere bespoke jacket and tie

Rubinacci donegal cashmere

June 2011

www.permanentstyle.com/2011/06/rubinacci-cashmere-jacket-4-first-fitting.html

My first experience of Neapolitan tailoring was at Rubinacci, in the (then) new store on Mount Street. I had got to know Luca Rubinacci and was particularly interested in his style, which had applications to the more subtle clothes I wear most days, as well as his louder pieces.

I wanted something very versatile but also with a little interest to it. The brown donegal-patterned cashmere we picked from the Rubinacci archive was, in retrospect, perfect:

  • The muted brown colour was both suitable for the office and casual enough for denim or chinos
  • Being an archive piece, the cloth was unusual and had an interesting story
  • Although more common now, cashmere cloths in a donegal pattern were unusual generally
  • I restrained myself from having a bright, silk-scarf lining, which was a Rubinacci trademark, and went for a nice shade of olive-green instead. Definitely the right choice.

As with all the pieces listed here, the jacket is pictured above, and the link above goes to more information on it. 

Elia Caliendo

Caliendo summer jacket

July 2012

www.permanentstyle.com/2012/07/elia-caliendo-jacket.html

The Rubinacci jacket was perfect for the UK - wearable seven or eight months of the year - but Neapolitan jackets are particularly helpful in the summer, so I was keen to try something lightweight next time.

When I began working with Elia Caliendo, therefore, I selected a Loro Piana summer fabric that was a silk/linen/wool mix, in a pale straw colour.

I’ve never seen such a great colour in a summer fabric since, and I even have fears of somehow damaging the jacket and not being able to get hold of anything similar again.

Most light summer colours are too pale or too strong to be versatile, but this muted yellow with brown in the weave was spot on, with the herringbone providing a touch of surface interest.

bespoke levi's denim and permanent style tweed copy

Caliendo grey tweed

October 2012

www.permanentstyle.com/2012/10/elia-caliendo-tweed-jacket.html

When we created a Permanent Style tweed with Breanish in 2012, I really only had Elia in mind to make it. The rough nature of the material was perfect for denim, and it therefore needed a Neapolitan make.

It also felt like a nice combination with the summer jacket and the cashmere Rubinacci.

All three fitted into distinct pockets, with the tweed being by far the most casual of the three, more likely to be worn at the weekend.

green-check-jacket-solito

Solito green lightweight wool

May 2013

www.permanentstyle.com/2012/10/solito-jacket-naples.html

So far, my choices seem to have been pretty deliberate and effective. I can take no credit at all, however, for this selection.

I originally wanted a grey glen-check cloth with blue and brown overchecks. I had seen a Sartorialist photo including something similar and wanted to replicate the look.

(Many of my early commissions were influenced by this - including glen-check suits at both Anderson & Sheppard and Henry Poole. Both would in retrospect have been better as Neapolitan-made jackets.)

When I visited Solito in Naples, it turned out the grey glen-check was sold out. So I went with the same pattern in a different colour - this green with black and orange. It was an interesting combination and both dark and subtle enough to not be too risky.

It turned out to be one of my best decisions. Something unusual yet highly versatile is hard to find, but this hit the spot perfectly.

Bespoke gilet 2

Caliendo brown Harris tweed

February 2014

www.permanentstyle.com/2014/02/neapolitan-tweed-jacket-elia-caliendo.html

This brown tweed might be my favourite jacket of all. But again I can take no credit for it.

Elia, having seen how pleased I was with the Permanent Style tweed jacket, showed me this archive tweed when he met me in London on one trip.

I loved the colour combinations, and since then I’ve become particularly enamoured with Harris tweed in general - its combination of plain colours made up of such bright, crayon-like threads is uniquely appealing. (A very similar tweed is available through Holland & Sherry.)

It may seem, by the way, that there have been precious few mistakes on this journey through Neapolitan tailoring. And that would be correct: coincidentally, there have been far fewer here than in English tailoring.

But it’s also worth noting that I started down this road a year after having my first bespoke suit - at Graham Browne. I had learned the lessons of having too-unusual styles (DBs) or colours (camel-hair overcoats).

cashmere jacket solito denim shirt

Solito navy cashmere blazer

June 2014

www.permanentstyle.com/2014/06/clothes-for-travel.html

If this five-strong collection of Neapolitan jackets lacked something (and God knows I’m always looking) it was a more formal jacket.

Not to replace the English suits, but as a more relaxed option around the office.

If I have any kind of uniform, it is such soft-structured or drapey jackets (so they can be worn at a desk all day), an open-necked blue shirt, flannel trousers and brown shoes. A Neapolitan but smarter option here would be good.

A navy-cashmere is as useful as it gets in that regard, and it has proved to be the heaviest-worn of all of the jackets listed here. Perhaps even of all the jackets I own.

When you like wearing polo shirts, grey shirts or denim shirts under a jacket, something simple and versatile like navy cashmere comes out a lot.

Caliendo Neapolitan hopsack blazer double breasted copy

Caliendo hopsack DB blazer

May 2015

www.permanentstyle.com/2015/05/hopsack-blazer-the-perfect-summer-jacket.html

The navy cashmere was such a success, in fact, that my next commission was a summer version, in hopsack.

In one way it could be seen as my first mistake, however. I had never had a double-breasted jacket from a Neapolitan maker before, and couldn’t resist trying it.

Much as I like Elia’s DB style, and have worn the jacket regularly, a single-breasted version would have been even more useful and would have been worn more.

Escorial jacket Solito bespoke with Pardesso trousers

Solito Escorial blazer

March 2016

www.permanentstyle.com/2016/04/escorial-jacket-the-modernity-of-muted-colours.html

Three stages led up to this commission.

First, meeting the guys from Escorial and loving the softness and natural stretch of the wool. Second, seeing that Ralph Lauren carried it for jacketings and had a great muted green with very subtle purple overcheck. And third, asking Escorial if they could get me any (which they could, and which others can now too).

I had made mistakes with windowpane checks before.

I have a lovely Thom Sweeney jacket, for instance, which is navy with light-blue windowpane, but find it surprisingly bold. Everything else has to be toned down, to go with a piece that was meant to be quite versatile.

This Escorial has had no such issues. The check is so subtle (dark as well as faint) that it is just as useful as a plain green.

Elia Caliendo cashmere jacket bespoke copy

Caliendo Oatmeal cashmere blazer

April 2016

www.permanentstyle.com/2016/04/your-next-sports-jacket-oatmeal-cashmere-from-elia-caliendo.html

Although the navy cashmere jacket was extremely useful, I wasn’t that impressed with the lightweight Zegna cloth, which started to wear and fade at the elbows and collar rather quickly.

For a Neapolitan jacket the following year, therefore, I picked a Loro Piana cashmere, and that has performed much better. It is slightly heavier, admittedly, but even accounting for that it has held up better.

As discussed in the post on the jacket itself, I also found the colour very interesting.

Having built up a collection of blues, greys, browns and greens, it was good to find something that was sufficiently different to the rest and had a genuinely new appeal: not a classic navy or grey, but plain and muted enough to suit most business environments.

Sartoria Dalcuore Naples bespoke suit

Dalcuore brown Crispaire suit

June 2016

www.permanentstyle.com/2016/06/dalcuore-bespoke-brown-crispaire-suit.html

This was a plain copy.

I don’t think anyone should be embarrassed about copying their peers. So many senior people in the industry admit to doing so. No matter how many things you’ve seen, someone will see something you haven’t. 

I saw Yasuto Camoshita wearing a dark-brown summer suit, with a white shirt and dark-grey tie, and loved the look.

This Crispaire suit from Dalcuore achieved the look very well, though (as again often happens) I found it difficult to wear in many situations. Nice with those monotone accessories and black shoes, difficult with much else.

cotton bespoke suit

Caliendo cotton suit

July 2016

www.permanentstyle.com/2016/07/the-appeal-of-the-cotton-suit-bespoke-from-elia-caliendo.html

Looking at the last three commissions on this list, it occurs to me that I am increasingly moving towards different tones of brown in my tailoring.

It honestly hadn’t occurred to me before, but along with a caramel-brown jacket and brown cord suit in the works, there is a serious trend here. Huh.

I had loved cotton for a long time, but made the mistake years ago of having one made by Choppin & Lodge in a structured, English cut. The suit was great, but the material was much better suited to a Neapolitan make.

That remained at the back of my mind for five years and was finally realised with Elia last summer.

I had considered a navy cotton, as the Choppin one had been, but as the suit was specifically made for the Young Tailors Symposium in the summer, navy seemed a bit too boring. So light brown it was.

I had hoped that the jacket would soften up enough to be worn casually with denim and so on. It hasn’t done so so far, but I know its first dry clean will take some of the stiffness out (as happens with linen) so we’ll see.

 

For anyone that is interested in more detail on these commissions, please click on the links under each one.

Photography: Luke Carby and Jamie Ferguson

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Anonymous

Fantastic article Simon. A real strength of your site is the depth and breadth of commissions so it’s really helpful to see a piece where you reflect on them.

Carl

Great article, I love neapolitan tailoring.

A question. I work in ‘chinos and jacket’ office and usually wear neapolitican jackets but also suits. I think that it is easier to dress down with a neapolitan suit even if it is a navy worsted. Do you think it is too informal to wear a navy or charcoal worsted neapolitan suit in some business environments?

Dan

Excellent article Simon, thanks. I’m really looking forward to reading through this one in greater detail.

On a slightly-but-not-really-related note, I’m currently looking to add some cream-coloured flannel trousers to my wardrobe and would appreciate some advice on the best places to find them. My budget isn’t going to stretch to bespoke unfortunately, so it’s going to have to be high-quality RTW. Any suggestions from you or other PS readers would be greatly appreciated.

Dan

Perfect, thanks Simon. I’ll check out A&S with Hackett as a fall back option.

Sam

Dan, I also struggled to find on the high street. Suitsupply however do have some VBC off-white flannels at the moment which are decent quality for the price. In the flesh I found them to be a bit too much on the yellow side of cream for my taste but they’re worth a look – especially considering their generous returns policy.

Dan

Thanks Sam – I’ll take a look. Appreciate you taking the time to reply.

Ian

Great article, thank you Simon. Really interesting to see the different pieces you have commissioned of this type. On your comment in the first section about using Neapolitan tailors for casual jackets and English tailors for business suits; do you think that the English soft / drape (S. Hitchcock, A&S) style is also suitable for casual jackets? How would such jackets compare to the Neapolitans?

Ian

Thanks Simon.

Matt

You might have to wait a few weeks before the majority of RTW shops begin stocking for spring and summer.

New & Lingwood in London had some nice cream Fox Bros. flannels in stock last year. Cheaper than A&S and better quality than Hackett and RL.

Scott

This is an excellent article Simon. Caliendo and Solito do some fantastic work obviously both having a superb taste level. I was a bit surprised concerning your comment on the durability of the Zegna cashmere however, as it’s supposed to be among the best. To what do you attribute this fabrics poor performance?

Anonymous

Love articles such as these – to contrast and compare cut, cloth and colour is always informative – thank you. A beautiful pocket hank features with your Caliendo Summer jacket, could you please give some detail (I did check original article but could not find)? I love hopsack and thought your Caliendo DB a nice addition – have you tried it with a good fitting t-shirt (white, grey, navy, black) and jeans/cream chinos – I think it might have a different dynamic with a more casual style.
Lastly, Happy New Year Simon and thank you for all the great articles in 2016!

David

What a great article!
For me Coliendo has it hands down and I am seriously tempted to give this house a go.
I have only two reservations on your commissions:
1) I don’t like the patch breast pockets. Albeit perhaps the presence of a pocket square is accentuating it too much and I may think differently if I were to see them without.
2) I’m not a fan of the one button cuff. I note you changed that on more recent projects.
Personally I don’t like the Rubinacci at all. I just don’t like the cut and I think the side pockets are awfull.
All in all an excellent summary piece that allows a true comparison and with the perspective of wearing the garments over time.
I’ve definitely decided to commission 1 summer and 1 winter piece from Coliendo.
Bravo Simon.

Winot

Elia is flexible about the two things you mentioned. In fact on a family formal SB he made me, he suggested a welted breast pocket (barchetta style) and a 4 button cuff.

NB his surname is ‘Caliendo’.

Richard Jones

Hi Simon, would you have a list of Neapolitan tailors that you’ve used based in London?

DKP

For someone based in London looking to dip a toe into the world of Neapolitan tailoring, it would seem Rubunacci is the only option (aside from trunk show visits) but looking at their website is somewhat confusing. They mention bespoke but all the blazers shown are offered with RTW sizing. At the price point, I’d have assumed bespoke but again, it’s difficult to tell what they’re offering.

Hristo

Very nice article. Looking forward for the following articles from this series.

Adam

The real question from me is if you had to start again with a slightly more limited budget, and looking back on how much wear you get out of them which 2 would you pick to be made first?

David

Obviously life style is everything when it comes to ‘most used’.
Had I chosen this array my most used would have undoubtably be the Harris tweed and the hopsack.
That said your point about commissioning the hopsack as a SB rather than a DB is key and I couldn’t agree more.
Summer jackets in DB are a bit of a contradiction to me. I have a beautiful summer DB in a zegna cloth that I seldom wear simply because I don’t want to feel ‘trussed’ in warm weather.
I also think that traveling with a DB is more difficult. They are inevitably so distinctive that they limit the versatility of your traveling wardrobe.

Paul

Thank you for a well-written and informative article, Simon. It’s very interesting to see how you’ve built your wardrobe. Nice garments!
What made you opt for the Loro Piana cashmere? It’s beautiful but I find the price tag hard to justify when other (slightly cheaper options) exist such as Piacenza. Even Holland & Sherry is slightly less expensive AFAIK.

Douglas

Nice post Simon. My personal favorites are the Caliendo summer jacket and the Solito navy cashmere. They all feel very versatile.

Paul Impellezzeri

I am intrigued by you comment about the versatility of a camel colored overcoat. I always thought that was a very versatile color. Can you elaborate more or point me to where you have discussed on your site. I did a search and don’t see it. Thanks

BespokeNYC

Is it possible the style you went with was part of the issue? As I recall it was quite a heavy structured DB. Perhaps something more casual / less structured would have made it more versitile as a more casual piece?

MichaelH

I agree – a camel coat goes with everything…

Thomas

Escorial, “… which others can now too”: apparently not. I have tried to email Kristie Reeves multiple times, with no reply. Do you have alternative contact information? Cheers.

Thomas

Thanks!

Thomas

Thanks for the suggestion, but that particular fabric doesn’t seem to be available there.

Jackson Hart

Thank you for that Simon. Having been an avid follower of yours for quite awhile, I feel as though I accompanied you on each of these journeys. This, nevertheless, is a refreshing summary – with an opportunity to follow the link and get a more in depth view if wanted.

Do you think one day you could have a “lookbook” of sorts on your site, that is, a place where one can just see ALL the photos from Permanent Style through the years without any verbiage?

I would enjoy such a “picture only” section for one and would probably visit it multiple times a week. I am curious to know how your other followers would respond to such a thing….taking into account of course the slight intellectual embarrassment a person may feel asking for a picture only book or admitting that such a thing would be enjoyed.

Thank You

Martin

Simon, may I ask what you are wearing under the Caliendo brown Harris tweed?

Anonymous

Hi Simon

What’s the difference between a 2 button jacket and a 3 roll 2. The latter simply looks like a 2 button with a redundant top button. The the two approaches result in a different lapel roll? I assume they both finish at the same point.

Thanks.

Anonymous

Good article but doesn’t really explain why one would go with a 3 roll 2 as oppose to a standard 2 button. Does the lapel roll differently across the two styles? Does the unused top button cause the lapel to flare out more?

Anonymous

Does the roll finish at the middle button? Or above it?

Anonymous

Hi Simon

The quarters on your Neapolitan jackets look quite closed. Are the pictures reflective of how they look in the flesh? I had thought that Neapolitan jackets traditionally were quite open. You’ve covered lapels in a previous article. Perhaps a future article could cover the effects of open and closed quarters.

Jackson Hart

I always wondered, is the effect of open quarters in Neopolitan jackets to balance out the larger lapels, to wit, vertical balance?

Anonymous

I believe the original reason for open quarters was to accommodate horse riding.

Dan P

This was a helpful article to bring it all together. Of all the Neapolitan tailors mentioned here, I’ve discovered that only Rubinacci travels to my town. I get the feeling Rubinacci is perhaps not Simon’s number one fit these days, but if they are my only outlet for Neapolitan bespoke, should I still expect much joy with the results? I’m too far from New York to have the kind of choice on offer.

Anonymous

Great article and superbly looking odd jackets. Caliendo may be the best of them but both Solito and Dalcuore are up there among the best (and a little cheaper at the moment). All the jackets look marvelous. Congrat´s

Mac

Hi Simon

Are the Escorial and green Solito jackets used in the winter months only?
Thank you

Mac

Hi Simon

What is the weight of the green solito jacket?

Sean

Hi Simon,

I will be in Naples this year. Regarding a bespoke jacket, would you need to make an appointment with Caliendo or is a walk-in acceptable? Do you perceive any great advantages/disadvantages vis-à-vis Naples shop vs London visit?

Regards

Sean

Mac

Hi Simon
I have a now have a nice collection of bespoke neapolitan jackets for all seasons except summer. I wanted to commission a nice cotton jacket with three patch pockets like the Caliendo one above. What would be the most versatile colour? I would like to wear it with Denim and casual trousers.

Mac

Hi Simon
I now have a few bespoke neapolitan jackets covering all seasons except the height of summer. I wanted to commission a cotton jacket like the one from the Caliendo suit above. Which colour would be most versatile and which would be best with denim?

Mac

Hi Simon
Wouldn’t the Caliendo cotton suit be a classic ‘three way’ piece, with trouser and jacket easy to wear as separates?

Mac

Hi Simon,

Would a Linen Neapolitan jacket be good with denim? What colour would go best with denim?

Martin

Would you consider a jacket like the Caliendo brown Harris tweet with a peak lapel? Or would that be too formal?

Dan G

Hi Simon,

I’m considering commissioning a Neapolitan-style sport jacket from either B&Tailor or Solito that will be sufficiently casual to wear with jeans. I would like it to be as adaptable as possible, so I’m thinking navy. I would also like it to be as close to a “four season” garment as possible (I live in New York City). Any recommendations on cloth? Also, what was the cloth Solito was sold out of that you ended up going with the green (if you remember)? Thanks!

Dan G

Thanks Simon. What weight was the escorial jacket? And does Solito carry that fabric or did you have to order it separately?

Dan

Irene Maldini

Dear Simon and readers,

I am a researcher based in Amsterdam and as part of my PhD research I am looking for respondents having 10 or more personalised garments in their wardrobe. With “personalised garment” I mean clothes that have been made upon request with participation of the wearer in the process, for example made-to-measure clothes, self-made clothes, clothes made by family members or friends upon request, customised clothes, etc. This excludes ready-made clothes adjusted after purchase.

I would appreciate your help to find men having made-to-measure, bespoke suits and/or other personalised garments in their wardrobe. Each piece of a suit counts as a separate garment. Respondents need to live in the Netherlands to be suitable for this study, though, as I need to analyse the wardrobe itself. The findings will be anonymous.

Any help to be able to continue with my research is very welcome, as companies are naturally hesitant to share information about their clients.

Kind Regards,

Irene Maldini

Mac

Hello Simon

I have an unusuall question: I know Neapolitan tailors use silk thread for button holes but do they use it for all the stitching throughout the jacket as well? I’ve become alergic to silk and I was told that cotton thread is used for everything except button holes.

Alfonso

Hi Simon, I’m thinking about next pieces to add to my wardrobe. Since they cost a lot it is better to think about it twice and ask you for advice. Must be said that I don’t have to be formal more than 3-4 times per season. My spring/summer wardrobe now includes, apart form some cotton chinos, shorts, short-sleeves polos,t-shirts and all-year round poplin shirt:
JACKETS: 1 emerald green H&S Monadh (single-button 2 patch pockets), 1 royal blue H&S Mesh Blazer (2 golden buttons, 2 patch pocket), 1 houndstooth (blue, brown, off-white) 3-roll-2
SHIRTS : 4 linen (white, jeans, white-striped light blue, light blue), 1 Friday Polo
TROUSERS: 1 denim trousers, 1 double-pleated off-white cotton, 1 double-pleated light tan Crispaire, 1 cotton cargo, 1 double-pleated light grey Monadh, 1 double-pleated dark grey tropical wool
SHOES: loafers (tassel, penny …)

I would add 1 shirt, 1 sport coat and 1 trousers. I’m thinking about:
– for the shirt: red-striped white shirt (cotton/linen)
– for the SC: would you suggest Fresco-like or wool/linen/silk mix as H&S Crystal Spring or Caccioppoli Jacket Bunch? I am oriented on H&S Crystal Spring 477100 or Caccioppoli 3070113/370104, but I don’t want to rule out Fresco-like or high-twist cloth…
– for the trousers: depends also on the SC

Alfonso

Thank you Simon. I’ll keep in mind

Anonymous

Hi Simon

I’m planning a trip to Naples to have a jacket made. Do the tailors tend to have better jacketing bunches than are available in the UK? Also, any suggestions on where I can get fabric whilst over there?

G.

I suggest you Dalcuore, Panico or Eduardo De Simone. They have access to almost anything you need: Caccioppoli, Fox Brothers, Harrisons (Harrisons, P&H, Smith Woollens, W.Bill), Holland&Sherry, Schofield&Smith, M&E …

Anonymous

Do they carry any in stock? I’m planning to go for a week, so I can really only consider fabrics they have in stock:

Anonymous

Simon

Can I ask how much shorter Neapolitan jackets are compared to English jackets? I believe, in the past, you’ve said that jackets should always cover the entire seat. Is this true of Neapolitan jackets?

Anonymous

Hi

Thanks for the response. I’m still at fitting stage. The jacket doesn’t completely cover my seat. It’s a little above my knuckles, say 1.5cm. Would you say this is acceptable? When looking in the mirror, it seems to look ok but this , I think, can be subjective depending on trouser rise. Thoughts?

Anonymous

Sound advice, thanks.

Vincent

Dear Simon,
I would appreciate your advice on ordering my first bespoke suit. I can’t justify English or French due to price, so I would opt for Neapolitan (I understand they are more affordable), and I also happen to like the more ‘deconstructed’ suits. So what I’m looking for is a classic single-breasted business suit in navy, 3-roll-2, traditional jacket length (not short), wider lapels, maybe working buttons. I would also need a tailor traveling to Western European capitals as I can’t go to Naples myself. And my price range would be in the neighbourhood of 2,000 euro, not too far up. Is this even possible and if so whom would you recommend? I like the style of Sartoria Formosa and Eidos suits, and also Sciamat, and your Dalcuore suit. Much obliged.

Vincent

I see. I guess I should save up a bit more for a while and go for that. So I should look at Dalcuore probably? Any other suggestions?

Carl

I would try Saman Amel. Top-notch MTM. They are based in Stockholm but visits London every 2 month.

Vincent

Dear Simon, and how about Biagio Granata? I’m reading some very nice things about them online (e.g. Dirnelli is a fan), and I see some comments here as well commending them. Any thoughts?

Vincent

Fantastic. Much appreciated. Will check out the Instagram story as well.

Vincent

Ah, right, just like on Snapchat, which originally introduced stories.

Dan G

He may be having a trunk show in NYC in October btw. (I encouraged him to come).

Dan

Courtney

Thank you for the insightful article. Two years ago I started building my wardrobe based on pieces you’ve had commissioned. More than a dozen sport jackets later there is some feeling of accomplishment. For the Solito navy cashmere blazer, I decided on a Lori Piana navy wool cashmere blend. The cloth is mostly wool in a nice twill from their dream tweed bunch. It’s by far my most frequently worn piece in cooler to cold weather. The LP cloth is durable from my experience.

FIDELIO

Courtney, could you please comment further on your experience with Solito? I am considering commissioning a jacket with him. I like the style but have heard some concerning comments regarding responsiveness and fit quality. Simon, perhaps you can also comment on recent experiences or feedback from other readers. I live in NY and will have to have fittings every three months or so.
Thank you both,

Carl

Simon,

I am commissioning a navy sport coat from Saman Amel (Napoli line). I will use a 320 g version of Loro Pianas Cashmere Wish. Would you recommend having it lined or half lined? I usually prefer half lining but is thinking that it will fall better on my back with a full lining. What do you think? It will be with a soft canvas and spalla camicia.

Anonymous

Hi Simon
I already have a navy hopsack jacket from Elia for the warmer months but I’m struggling to get a light wool fabric for the summer that can be worn with jeans and chinos. I’m looking at Drapers hopsack in brown. Do you think this colour would be appropriate and if so should it be on the darker or lighter side?

WES WP

Hi Simon –

I spoke with a sales agent today from a Florida menswear shop called Artigiano asking about their bespoke offerings. He told me that they do “full bespoke” (pattern, hand padded collar, fully canvassed, etc.) for $1375 with entry level 120s New Zealand merino. I was told that all the work is done in Santiago (in the Dominican Republic). This is a shop that used to sell d’Avenza (it was selling level 5 and 6 suits).

Does this make logical sense – in terms of price? The store has really good reviews (on Yelp), but that is hardly proof-positive (of anything).

I wonder about the competence of tailors in Santiago (I haven’t heard anything about them one way or another), but I was assured that I’d be getting a garment that is on par, or better, than d’Avenza. “Better,” he said, because there would be a good deal of hand-work.

Can you speak to this question generally and/or specifically?

Any suggestions about how to research something like this?

Thanks
Wes

Gonzague

Re the Rubinacci jacket: I am struggling to find donegal cashmere cloths. Any mills in mind you can share.

Martin

Simon, were your Solito jackets cut by the father or the son? I am asking because I read somewhere that it makes a difference.

Tommy

Hi Simon,
I need your advice. Atm I own:
– SS: (i) green wool-silk suit, (ii) Hopsack royal blue blazer, (iii) Navy linen suit, (iv) raw silk biscuit-colored sport coat, (v) W/S/L houndstooth blue/brown/white sport coat (and some nice odd trousers from cotton to frescos, not yet in linen)
– FW: (i) brick red with yellow windowpane tweed sport coat, (ii) green with dark green and burgundy checks tweed sport coat, (iii) brown donegal tweed sport coat, (iv) blue flannel suit (and trousers ranging from flannel greys – light, medium, dark -, corduroy, denim)

Now i’m planning the next:
– SS: seersucker suit and off white linen trousers. Then another sport coat in W/S/L.
– FW: blue blazer in Fox Bros. Somerset or in Shetland tweed (I love tweed!), off white cotton trousers and Cav. Twill cream/beige trousers. Then PoW flannel 3p suit or charcoal 4-ply 3p suit.

What do you think about this plan? Is it worth considering something else?

Tommy

Well, I will need a SS suit to attend a wedding. Given it will be not too formal, in the morning and want to avoid wearing the linen suit, I thought about seersucker. But I will check if there is some cotton i would like… Fawn colored maybe.

About FW, I don’t usually wear suits, I’m more in “spezzato” so blue blazer not tweed ahahaha . And yes a coat would be a nice upgrade. Do you know some water repellent / waterproof fabric ? I don’t want to worry about rain…
For the model I’m thinking about Polo Coat (classic color) or a raglan coat.

Jackson Hart

While traditional (white and light blue stripes) seersucker may be a little on the dandy side of things, it does come in, for example, navy and various shades of blue and is a great choice for a more conservative summer suit.

Tommy

True words about the seersucker. Indeed I will pick one of the “newest” color combo.

About the winter blazer i’m considering Fox Brothers Somerset Jacketing FJ350-B2692/45. Can you advice other fabrics?
I’m going to make a brass/ancient silver buttons blazer with 3-roll-2 configuration, rollino, 2 patch pockets and barchetta breast pockets.

MFB

Simon,
I’m planning on making my first bespoke commission. For a long time I have been a fan of Neapolitan tailoring and it’s style – and I need a bit of guidance. Which tailor should I pick?

What I’m opting for is a classical Neapolitan suit, with a shirt-style sleeve (spalla camicia), their soft construction, finishing at the top end for a Neapolitan and perhaps a jacket that’s a tad longer than some of the Neapolitans.

I’m leaning towards Caliendo – but I do have one concern. I’ve never seen any of his tailoring in person, but in quite a lot of the pictures I’ve seen I think it looks like his jackets have some drape in the chest and more excessive fabric there than other Neapolitans. Is this correct? I prefer having a jacket with little/no drape.

(Among other pictures, I think the fourth picture her looks like there’s a bit of drape in his jackets: https://www.permanentstyle.com/2017/07/pale-summer-colours-in-vintage-linen.html)

Mads

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

I hope you are well. I noticed that most of your jackets from Elia and your summer checked jacket for the Dalcuore Rakishman day had the traditional spalla camicia shoulder construction with the fullness fed more into the bottom of the sleevehead, instead of the top, avoiding the prominent pleating on the top that is the current rage. The shoulder style very closely resembles a slightly extended soft shoulder and seems to me, the epitome of understated style. It’s something that could go unnoticed, yet gently draw people’s eyes to them and make them wonder what makes the jacket you are wearing feel so soft and elegant.

I am meeting Patrick, the head cutter of WW Chan, this March in San Francisco for a trunk show and I plan on showing him pictures of your Caliendo shoulders and the summer checked jacket shoulders. If you look at their instagram, you will find many 3-2 roll Neapolitan style jackets and many soft shoulder jackets – I think they can definitely create something close.

Could you provide a more detailed and technical explanation of the aforementioned “traditional” Neapolitan shoulder? I am sure many readers would find such information highly valuable, and you could easily transplant your response into a future post!

Thank you so much,
Bernie

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

Thank you for the explanation and advice. Looking forward to my first bespoke jacket!

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

What are your thoughts on a lapped shoulder seam for soft shoulder SCs?

Bernie Leung

Hmm, I read your article on lapped seams and all the picture examples have expired.

If you take a quick peak at KayJen Dylan on instagram, a lot of their shoulders for jackets look exactly like a dress shirt with a very noticeable seam on the top of the sleevehead. Are those an example of a spalla camicia with lapped seams? I don’t like it when the pleating/shirring is higher than the shoulder – it is too flashy for my taste.

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

Thank you for the explanation – I can now see that you can emphasize the lapped seam via a swelled edge effect or have it barely noticeable.

You know, the amazing thing about your Caliendo shoulders is how soft & natural they look despite how much fullness there is…I swear in some pictures they look like extended shoulders due to the fullness. Your Caliendo shoulders have the most understated shirt shoulders I’ve seen! (Which I very much admire)

Carl

I am thinking about commissioning a summer suit with our mutual friend Saman Amel. I am thinking about a brown suit in Irish linen. But I know that you have made your linen suit in London and wonder if you think a Neapolitan style would be to casual.

Zohair

Hello, can you suggest any tailors in London that can alter jackets with Neapolitan shoulders? The sleeves need shortening and I don’t think I can trust most tailors to leave the same wrinkled finish at the shoulders!

FIDELIO

Hi Simon,
Curious about the fate of your wonderful navy Solito jacket. Did you end up having to add elbow patches? Do you still wear it? This jacket was the inspiration for my first bespoke commission. After reading your comments on the quality of the Zegna fabric I went for a heavy cashmere instead and could not be happier.
Congratulations on a successful year for Permanent Style.
Happy holidays.

ezequiel

simon, a question on shoulders: is it typically neapolitan to use foam at the end of the shoulder? i looking for a kind of slouchy shoulder look (slightly extended but not square) and i think that the absence of foam may be what i need (i don’t mind a little/minimal padding).

ezequiel

oh im sorry. i meant the foam that forms an arch at the end of the shoulder, which i suppose it is what make it more square. can this be removed without the jacket collapsing and still have a slightly extended shoulder?

ezequiel

great! thank you simon for the explanation and the references. i’ll check those jackets/suits to decide which i prefer.

Mark

Great article Simon!
For a Neapolitan sport jacket – which shade of grey do you think would be the most versatile? pale ,mid or dark grey?

Mark

Thank you

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
Is there any significant difference in how Neapolitan cutters draft a pattern versus Savile row cutters? Would it be normal for a Neapolitan to take less measurements than a SR house?
Regards
Alex

DKP

Simon – when determining my first bespoke jacket commission, I want to follow your advice and avoid letting my imagination run riot but rather, select something traditional that will provide the greatest flexibility in my wardrobe. I’ve determined something in navy makes the most sense for me and given how often I wear jeans at work, will need to be in a fabric that can pair well with that more casual look but hopefully still capable of being dressed up with trousers. I’d also prefer a weight that will see me through as many months of the year as possible (noting I tend to run hot in the summer months). My question to you is given this criteria, which fabrics should I consider? Many thanks

DKP

Thanks very much Simon. Understood regarding make which is why I was thinking Neapolitan might be better suited to my goals. In particular was considering Ciardi as I recall your mentioning their house style offers a slightly longer proportion which ensures the seat is fully covered – something I would want.

DKP

Simon – on the subject of Ciardi with regards to my previous query, do you happen to know what they currently charge for a jacket? Also, any idea what their London schedules are? Looking at their site doesn’t provide any information on this. Thanks

Anonymous

I would appreciate it if you could give me some advice for my third sports jacket. I only wear jackets in my free time (at work always suits). I already have a navy hopsack (SB) and a light grey tweed (SB, soft tweed). I wear the tweed a lot in spring and autumn mostly instead of a sweater or layered with knitwear if it‘s colder. The hopsack is used when I want to dress up in warmer months, in the summer often in the evening. Sometimes I also wear the hopsack with knitwear. On the coldest and hottest days I don‘t like to wear jackets, or during bad weather. The third jacket could be a wool/silk/linen in a dark muted brown with an overcheck (similar to your Solito jacket in the style breakdown), a navy or brown cashmere (though I’m afraid that cashmere is too delicate) or another tweed one (maybe brown or green).
My question now is, what do you think is the most versatile and best complements the other two?
Any other suggestions for my third jacket are always welcome.

Maybe a capsule collection post about sports jackets in different climates would be helpful for many readers (for example hot/humid regions, regions with four distinctive seasons and colder countries).

Anonymous

Thanks a lot for your in-depth and quick answer.
One more question. What would be the fabric that „can span a few more of the months“?

Anonymous

Do you prefer a neapolitan suit over an english suit in the summer when the occasion requires a suit?

Anonymous

Hi Simon, when would you recommend spalla camicia and swelled edges? I’m looking into getting a navy Fresco sports jacket (and possibly later getting trousers in the same fabric since my workplace isn’t too formal) and am trying to decide on the details. Thank you.

Anonymous

Thanks for your advice Simon. If I wanted a more casual Fresco suit then, would spalla camicia and swelled edges on the jacket be strange?

Chancellor

I know you discourage double breasted sport jackets, and I think it’s a very sensible position. Nonetheless, I’ve been thinking where a double breasted style would work best amongst sport jackets. I’m thinking relatively smarter cloth, and thinking function, perhaps cooler weather cloths. So perhaps cashmere.

Do you have any thoughts?

Chancellor

Thanks. I assume the Cifonelli one you referenced is your denim jacket from them?

Are there principles you’d suggest that make a double breasted in these cloths work best?

Chancellor

Thanks. Are there principles for when you think double breasted styles work for sport jackets?

Chancellor

Thanks! I was wondering if one might need to balance some smartness (for congruence with the DB style) with casual elements. Seems like leaning into the casual elements is more important, and evident by your recommendation of cottons and corduroy as cloths that work well.

Appreciate your advice as always.

Shawn Ailawadhi

Hi Simon,
I am going to dip my toe into Neapolitan tailoring but for regular suits and jackets. At this point I am not interested in summer suits. I would say it’s usual blues and grays. Keeping this in mind I am leaning towards Peluso, Ciardi and Dalcuore. What tailors and styles would you recommend. Any help would be appreciated.

Shawn Ailawadhi

Thanks. From style breakdown also Cairdi seems to be a better fit for business ware.

Alex N.

Dear Simon,

Do Neapolitan tailors use paper patterns?

I asked a tailor ones and he didn’t reply, I asked a question as a comment of an Instagram post of another tailor and it was deleted.

I feel there’s some stigma around the subject. Do Neapolitan tailors think it’s embarrassing to use paper patterns? Frankly, I prefer it as I want consistency and not to explain what I want every time to the smallest detail.

Best,
Alex

Rob

Hi Simon – your articles have been a fantastic distraction during the past year. Enjoyable and fun. I have been refining my thoughts regarding wardrobe-building during this time. I think I am now clear what I need to do and the timeline for that – mostly mid-range MTM, maybe some City-made suits. Although my budget is relatively limited, I would like (and can just about afford) one proper Neapolitan made jacket and I am drawn to a dark, brown (urban) tweed. I think there would be some authenticity in having just one special item which is bespoke and made in Naples. I do luckily have one (possibly two) brief trips to Naples over the next year, and like the idea of visiting a workshop in the city just for the experience, but even then I think I need someone who – post pandemic – will visit London and who speaks English (I don’t speak Italian sadly). I think that probably would be Solito, Ciardi, Caliendo or Zizolfi? I also believe a likely budget would be somewhere between £2,250 and £2,750. Do you think that’s right? And what would you do, and who would you use, if you were in my position?

Martins

unless I’m mistaken, Caliendo and Zizolfi would charge above 3000 for Simon’s tweed jacket…

Rob

Thank you, Simon.

I feel I have to share this with you. I checked out both the Ciardi website and Instagram page following your comment. My first thought was that the brothers look as if they are great company – I look forward to meeting them very much. However I did notice that on the Instagram comments you were name-checked but quite amusingly referred to as “Salmon Crompton”.

Chris

Revisited this fantastic piece in research for my next commission Simon and was curious how you felt 4 years on about your take here on ordering DBs, which you saw as a mistake early on . I notice too you regret the fabulous caliendo DB not being SB, though in the accompanying piece see it as one of the most useful jackets you own.
I feel like I have detected recently that you’ve started heading back towards the DB style a bit more. Would you see that as fair? And do you still see them as a mistake due to lack of versatility or something you’ve changed your opinion on over the years? I’d also be curious how and where you see them fitting in a modern wardrobe. They feel such a big category and decision in tailoring.

Chris

Absolutely makes sense Simon, and I think highlights many common PS themes – aiming to strike a balance between reflecting our lifestyle in clothing, buying things that are useful and last , and how the rules need to necessarily vary a little person to person to find that correct balance.

And for me, always good to have a sense check prior to throwing down several months salary on a commission.. am I buying something exciting or something useful?