Ettore de Cesare – Neapolitan summer blazer and top coat
In some ways, this navy jacket and topcoat from Ettore de Cesare are the antithesis of the Disguisery tweed jacket we featured last week.
Ettore is a third-generation Neapolitan tailor known for his close-fitting, unstructured garments and leather work.
The jacket - in a hopsack-like open-weave cloth from Holland & Sherry - is relatively short, small-shouldered and completely unpadded. Other than a touch of roping at the end of the shoulder, It makes no effort to make me look bigger or stronger.
It may make me look slimmer, but that's about it. (And even then, there is minimal difference in the fit through the waist.)
The contrast between it and the Disguisery tweed should be interesting, therefore, for readers evaluating where on the spectrum of size and structure they prefer to sit.
Readers may also understandably ask why I have jackets made in such different styles.
Partly it is the interests of the blog. I want Permanent Style to be a reference for all styles of tailoring, and that requires pieces made by a variety of tailors in their rough house style.
But in reality that is a minor reason. More important is the fact that I just enjoy different styles of tailoring.
I enjoy, in the same way, finely welted bespoke shoes, chunky cordovan boots, and simple, chic sneakers.
There are limits (all have points of quality and style in common) but the range is still fairly wide.
Of course, I will also wear these pieces of tailoring in different ways. I am more likely to wear English tailoring at a smarter occasion, with smarter accessories. I am more likely to wear a Neapolitan jacket with an open-necked denim shirt and slip-ons.
Ettore has not had much attention online as a visiting tailor, which I think is partly due to his tendency to bright colours/designs, and partly that so much of his clientele is in Italy - Naples and Milan.
However, the quality of the work is very high - and he offers something genuinely different in his familiarity with leather and suede.
The workshop was founded by his grandfather, who had trained at Rubinacci, in 1960. Ettore initially learnt tailoring at his grandfather's knee, working after school as many in Naples do.
But he left to go to university, studying economics, and comes across as a little more cosmopolitan than some tailors as a result. (He is also very tall - easily the most striking thing about him.)
I'm in Naples next week and will report back on Ettore's workshop, as well as those of many other Permanent Style favourites.
The fit of the pieces Ettore made for me was very good in the fundamentals - but required a few changes, both functionally and aesthetically.
Both were made without any padding in the shoulders, just canvas. But at the first fitting, the shoulder line was perfect, the balance perfect, and both back and chest very clean.
It was the work of someone that - I learnt - is used to working off a single fitting.
Because when Ettore returned to London, both pieces were finished. This wasn't what I expected, but as the fundamentals were right it just meant the changes would be a little harder for him to make - requiring more seams to be unstitched.
As I was travelling to New York the following week, and shooting with Karl-Edwin Guerre of Guerrisms, I took the two pieces as they were and had them photographed.
That is what you can see here. There were some functional issues with the jacket, eg:
- the vent was opening too far (obvious in the image above)
- the fit was a little too tight through the waist
And some aesthetic issues:
- the length is about 2cm too short for me, even on a short jacket (seen on the top image most obviously)
- the sleeve was a little too slim (it was usable, but any sleeve becomes rather effeminate, for me, if too slim)
The latter two points perhaps illustrate how Ettore naturally cuts a jacket - what might be called his house style. And it's useful to have imagery of those things for anyone considering using him.
The coat, by contrast, was perfect from the off. That same clean fit in the chest and back, and neither waist nor sleeve too tight.
It is double breasted, with a dark-brown suede undercollar, ticket pocket, dark-brown horn buttons and a half-belt in the back.
The back of the coat has a full-length pleat, tacked just behind the belt - which itself has been made in the style I originally used on my Vergallo loden coat, with two buttons at the fastening points to allow it to be tightened when worn without a jacket.
This system has worked very well on the loden, and so far on this navy DB.
It helps that the coat already has some fullness in the back gathered into the belt, as tightening it just increases that gathering. It also helps that it is a relatively soft, lightweight cloth.
I'd pick out that cloth separately as something I love about the coat.
It is a 400g wool/cashmere mix - so very lightweight and soft for a coat - and has a beautiful black herringbone pattern over a mix of navy and white/grey flecks.
It is produced by Scabal, but unfortunately exclusively for Ettore - so it is available only through him.
As a top coat, the dark colour will make it a great piece to wear with smarter outfits - suits or at least smart trousers, black or dark-brown shoes - in warmer weather than a regular overcoat.
The jacket's cloth also deserves a mention, as it is an open-weave wool that is extremely lightweight and breathable - but not a hopsack.
It is from the Mesh Blazers 1730 bunch at Holland & Sherry, which was new this year.
The bunch has five different blues, plus a big range of bright summer colours. Nine ounces, woven in Huddersfield.
As to the suede, I was keen to make use of Ettore's experience here but in a small way to start with. So we just added suede to the undercollar of both pieces - dark brown for the coat, mid-brown for the jacket.
Both are subtle details, but ones that I really like. The mid-brown on a blazer, in particular, is something I've always loved on Loro Piana jackets, but been unable to replicate bespoke.
The suede is beautifully soft, and neatly worked. It also helps support the collar when it is popped up.
Ettore's suits start at €2300 - so great value - with this jacket costing €1800 and the coat €2600.
He travels regularly between Milan, Naples and London, but not elsewhere. He is in London roughly every 4-6 weeks, and is next here in September after the summer break.
Usually fittings and finishing can be done between each visit, so 2-3 appointments would be necessary for a suit. More likely to be three for a first-time customer.
Beautiful! The soft structure might not add as much shape as the Disguisery jacket, but it’s got a youthful elegance to it.
It’s a matter of taste of course, but I find very strong structure in an odd jacket to limit its range of uses. And, like tightness in a leather jacket or a tshirt, a bit can be flattering, but too much risks looking like one is trying too hard.
The coat is magnificent. How do you feel about such light wool in adverse weather—London in the Spring, say?
I agree on the structure.
On the coat, it’s fine really, you just end up wearing more layers – a jacket and knitwear, for example. But generally I would suggest a heavier weight if you don’t already have 2-3 nice coats.
Hi Simon, Ettore did a great job especially with that coat. I like it! And your cloth choice is perfect in my opinion.
But about the jacket… I prefer you with more relaxed cuts: this is too tight, but this time too I like your cloth choice: I actually fell in love with Mesh Blazer, I have the Royal Blue one and I recommended it to all my friends for a summer blazer and so far have all given positive feedback.
Will you have the jacket lengthened by 2 cm? Can it be easily done?
I have, by almost that. And no, it’s not an easy change if you want to take it from the shoulders at all, to preserve the same proportions
I think the coat looks like a really useful piece, hopsack being a great cloth for an informal look but something which can also easily be dressed up.
Fully agree that it is way short on you, and 2cm would not only fix the length but lower the button stance, which is also too high given the current proportions.
The overcoat looks great. Roll on winter!!
So the tailor lengthened it from the shoulder? How do they even do that?
I discussed with Russel at GB about lengthening a jacket with 3/4 inches (ie 2 cm) due to it by mistake being too short by that much, and he said it could easily be done from the hem. This was especially as the button position was placed based on the correct lenth of the jacket at the forward fitting stage. Would you recommend me taking Russel’s advise here?
Yes, that’s fine if you’re happy for the button not to move. Also be aware of the pockets
It may just be the light in the first photograph, but the front darts seems very conspicuous even though the cloth is plain, and the line jars with the patch pockets. This is a fairly common problem with front darts; personally I dislike them in any patterned cloth, particularly plaids, where the pattern becomes distorted. Very few tailors seem to go for the option of concealed darts to overcome this problem. Overall though, this is a nice jacket, and I agree about the length being too short and the waist a little tight, exaggerating the curvature of the back. I think the slim sleeves would look better without the roped sleevehead; perhaps that’s what give the effeminate look. The overcoat is gorgeous.
Thanks. Yes, it’s just the light with the darts.
The jacket is not you. Too tight,too short,button stance a bit too high…..etc.
Also trouser leg,especially in thigh,seems a bit wide making the jacket/trouser combo look bottom heavy.
Thanks. The trousers are from A&S and the breeze rather exaggerates the width in the thigh
This is a common approach to tailoring for many (young) tailors in Italy.
It’s amazing how much difference structure can make when this jacket is compared to the one from the disguisery.
This one makes you look skinnier, somewhat more youthful and perhaps a bit more contemporary and modern. The roping stops it from looking too casual. If there’s one thing I would change, is the length: it seems slightly short.
The disguisery jacket makes you look stronger, a bit broad chested even and more rough (as in masculine perhaps).
Neither hides the your slopped shoulders, which I think gives a more natural appearance.
The coat is a lovely thing indeed. Despite the short length and tight waist, the jacket still does look very nice — is the lapel size reflective of the tailor’s house style, or did you specify that size?
The coat looks great, congratulations on another beautiful piece. Your wardrobe MUST be huuuuge!?
One question, if you don’t mind? Where/how do you find some of these obscure craftsmen, do they contact you, do you have a team
It’s about 50:50 people contacting me and me discovering people. Also having friends in the industry helps – they’re always making suggestions
How hard is it to lenghten a jacket that is allready finished? Particullary in the quarters?
Hard, unless you’re happy to just do it from the bottom and leave the button position and potentially pockets in the same place
I posted that lengthening from the front of an SB is impossible, even though you suggested it was, but you haven’t put it on.
You don’t like being challenged, do you?
If you write tosh, expect to be called out Simon.
Thank you for your comment.
As I write I am talking to Gigi Dalcuore about this point. It is possible if there is enough inlay, and there often would be. However, you make significant sacrifices to the size of the armhole. He would prefer never to do it, to start again. But he has done it in the past. And with this jacket, we did.
You suggested to your reader that he could lengthen a jacket from the bottom if it was too short. You can’t. SB jacket construction means there is no inlay at the front, although there will be at the back. So you could lengthen from the bottom along the back, but not at the front, meaning you would ruin the balance.
Simon / anonymous,
As discussed above, I have it from Russel at GB that there’s no problem to lengthen at a modest length of 2 cm if there’s enough inlay and the button position is already in the correct place.
This is another question for you Simon: i’ve had jackets made in lengths (back) from 33 to 30 inches (and the one discussed above which ended by mistake at 29 1/4) but the button position is at the same place for all of them. The button is at my natural waist (where the natural “bend” is). Isn’t this the standard way to position the button? And wouldn’t this mean tha jacket length (within reason) is unaffected by the length of the jacket?
It’s an interesting question, and one I was talking to Formosa about today. (So helpful being on a trip when talking about these questions). The button position is affected both by your natural waist and body proportions, and by the proportions of the jacket itself. The relative importance of each depends a little on the tailor when they lengthen the jacket at a basted stage, for instance, and decide whether to move the waist button position or not
The jacket reminds me Boglioli… Is it comfortable to wear?
Yes, except for the slimness mentioned in the waist and sleeve for example. Boglioli is generally a more relaxed, less tailored fit
On your right shoulder, there is a gap between the rope and the upper arm, even when the arm is straight. I guess the sleeve is too tight there. But how can a tailor let a customer leave like that, I wonder?
That is no issue with a gap in the upper arm – I would resist judging fit aspects from photos, as mentioned variously in the past
Good to know that the fit is right. But from an esthetic angle, does it not bother you? I find it unnice and it kind of reveals the trick of the rope.
It’s not actually there when arms are fully straight, and any sleeve will crease as soon as you move your arms.
I like the texture of the coat! I thought I read earlier in your blog that you prefer coats to at least cover the knee.
For an overcoat, yes, and if you only have one or two good coats, they should likely be overcoats. But a top coat like this is designed for warmer weather and is lighter in weight. It would then also usually be above the knee
Thanks I think most of my Overcoats must be more for summer weather as none of them fall below the knee or are that warm!
I’ll have to get a heavy weight one in something like this colour and texture something that can withstand a British winter!
Do. They are a real pleasure to buy and to wear
Would you recommend Ettore for a peacoat? Price is good value.
Which fabric would you suggest for a casual look and to wear in Mediterranean winter (average temperature 10 degrees)?
I would instinctively, but I haven’t seen over he had made. Check and ask for imagery.
I would recommend the navy loden I used – it’s light for a pea coat
Thanks for your response :))
How does Mesh compare to Crispaire?
How do you minimize wrinkles on the back of suit jackets?
This ‘Mesh’ has far more movement and less stiffness than crispaire, making it better for a jacket but not a suit
I’m a big fan of your work, having been following and reading the blog everyday since several months,i know the blog content back to front 😀 and this is my 1st comment here ( I’ve been a silent non-interactive member,but an avid reader).
I truly appreciate how you commission and explain about clothing, accessories and mannerisms just for the sake of our knowledge ( even when there’s no one paying you for mentioning them ). Which explains why you’re No.1 🙂
I’m the head of the R&D dept at a RTW Suits company in India and reading your blog has been food for thought as i really love everything about bespoke in spite of working here at an RTW unit ( i get my clothes tailored, and your knowledge has seemingly streamlined my styling choices ).
About the jacket being talked about here –
1. The vents will fall exactly as they should, once the waist and eventually the hips are given more room. the buttoned area looks tight and i would not want to see the last one buttoned too, i can see it from here that it would make it very uncomfortable. It will be quite relieving if the tailor can fix that.
2. Reading about the length being increased from the shoulder is new to me, though my tailor had increased the length in two different jackets by using two different techniques –
once by opening the length the old fashioned way and using the allowance inside ,
and in the second case, a cotton jacket had shrunk a little after steaming , so he stitched a cut of fabric to the allowance to make the piece bigger (of the same curvature of the bottom front ,end to end and similarly strips in the back) thus increasing the length of the jacket and then stitched it together ,which isn’t visible now. ( clever people these Indian tailors are in matters of repair). But yes, someone with a keen eye can spot the faint edges in the bottom of the first fitting made prominent by final stage ironing and steaming.
Thank you for all your knowledge and here’s blessing you with even more success, progress and growth! Cheers!
Thanks, and nice to hear from.
1) Yes, as mentioned it is too tight here as I said. But I would never button the bottom button, and the jacket would never be cut to make this work.
2) Interesting, thanks
Really interesting to see how different the overall effect is from this cut!
Of the Neapolitan tailors you have known, who would you say is the best in terms of finish? I’ve tried two separate tailors and absolutely love the style (for more casual jackets) but the finishing often borders on downright sloppy (even though the fit was excellent.)
Probably Caliendo, but even then, finishing just isn’t a priority as it is from English or French tailors. Buttonholes, eg, are just never that fine
Saw you met Biagio Granata. Excellent young tailor. His cut is very similar to Cesare’s one. Je said to me he was working on a new pattern to give his parisians customer a more comfortable cut.
Have you tried Santa Maria Shirts?
Hi Mr. Cromptom, I follow his blog a long time ago and I write to him from Bogotá Colombia for the first time.
Very nice that jacket, to see the second photo with the lapels above makes me curious and the impression of which is a fused jacket?
I am starting a clothing business, offering bespoke and rtw service. In the process I have noticed that the quality of the fused has improved a lot, and I prefer logically with canvas but I have both fused and canvas jackets and I have not had problems with the fused and have a good body shape, I even found An overcoat of my grandfather who bought in Spain more than 32 years and for his age was in excellent condition except the lining where I could observe that it was built in a fused way and did not present problems of bubbles or detachment of the interlining.
Well, I wanted to tell you this to retake the subject of the canvas vs fused suits, I think that just as digital photography has already exceeded the analogue or digital sound in front of the tape may be happening between the fused suits regarding the canvas suits .
Thank you and many successes.
Thanks. Fused construction has definitely improved a lot in recent years.
Obviously that comparison is less relevant here as this is a bespoke jacket with a hand-padded chest – not something you can do with fusing.
But for RTW, fusing is becoming a closer competitor for a floating canvas
Have you done anything with that veritable Roman atelier, Sartoria Ripense? I performed a search here – to no avail. If you have not, what are your thoughts on commissioning something with the iconic Andrea Luparelli? I want to know how he stacks against some of the others in your opinion.
We did discuss it a while back when he was talking about coming to London frequently. But that didn’t happen. I would still like to at some point
What’s your view on the h&s mesh fabric? I’m considering having a jacket made in it? Does it hold its shape well? Is it cool?
Yes and yes, I’d recommend it
“Readers may also understandably ask why I have jackets made in such different styles.
…More important is the fact that I just enjoy different styles of tailoring.”
I’ve often wondered this as well, and how utilizing so many different tailors makes it difficult to define and refine your own personal style through a particular tailoring house’s own cut over repeated commissions (e.g., I tend to think of Alexander Kraft as being synonymous with Cifonelli). Do you find this is less of an issue within say Naples, due to the more shared similarities than differences of the many Neapolitan tailoring houses?
Yes, it’s definitely less of an issue there – and among most English tailors too really, excepting big drama of Chittleborough/Sexton and maybe drape of A&S
I really like the color of H&S fabric that you used here. Do you perhaps still remember which of the 1730 series? Do you think the one in this link close to yours? ( http://apparel.hollandandsherry.com/en/fabric/browse-by-use/suits/307200-mesh-blazers-navy-hopsack )
Also I would really appreciate if you could suggest other good hopsack fabrics (e.g. fox brothers) from British Mill that I can use as I’m planning to create my first hopsack navy blazer.
I wouldn’t focus too much on the mills – the hopsacks are pretty similar. Just make sure you get a weight you like and a navy that’s dark enough.
In general, as I mention in parts of the guide to cloth, people focus too much on mills as brands and think they are all doing significantly different things to each other. That’s usually not the case.
Nice article, Simon.
I commissioned a bespoke, heavy twill navy blazer (16oz? with gold plated buttons) in the past and I’m very happy with the product, but its weight and button color makes it austere and just a bit limiting in its usefulness. I am thinking of ordering a second navy bespoke sports coat from the same house (Huntsman) for three-season wear, opting to dial down a notch in fabric weight (11-12 oz) but am having difficulty deciding on the exact fabric, button color/material and the type of side pockets.
I already have several Neapolitan style navy sports coat (RTW) with patch pockets and brown buttons, so I am looking for a garment that plays nicely into Huntsman’s formal house style without it looking like I’m wearing a top half of a business suit.
Would navy/grey buttons with matte-finished cloth and flap pockets be the safest choice? I could opt for gun-metal buttons (essentially ordering a lighter navy blazer), and I also saw how white/cream colored buttons can make it clear that it’s a sports coat, but it definitely bestowed it a spring-summer vibe which would limit its use in the cooler months.
Thanks for your time.
Compared to the Loden Vergallo Topcoat this Topcoat from Ettore looks a little bit closer fitting e.g. sleeve width, body etc. Or does it just look so from the photos?
No you’re right, it is closer fitting
Simon – For a blazer to be worn the year round in North West Europe (and mainly to work), what kind of cloth would you recommend? (Hopsack or mesh may be too light.)
To be honest Peter, no cloth is going to perfect all year round, it’s just not possible. A modern suit at around 9oz is really not good in the winter, and has to be layered up a lot if you’re going to spend any time outside. And it’s a little hot in high summer.
Still, that’s probably what you want to be looking at for covering most bases – either a heavy open-weave cloth like a hopsack, or a lightweight wool/tweed/cashmere around 9-10oz
This is a great overcoat.
Would a blue coat work as a casual one?
I have no casual blue coats, and on these days am planning to order one.
May be with a subtle blue herringbone, patch pockets…
Generally brown, grey or green will be better for casual. Navy can be ok, but good if it has lots of texture in it, and perhaps a rougher material, like a tweed
Your Cifonelli works so well as a casual coat.
Is it for the pockets?
You mean my navy Cifonelli? I wouldn’t wear that casually, eg with jeans, usually
How tall are you and what is your ideal jacket length, for a formal (e.g. navy worsted) jacket?
I’m 6 foot tall, though of course the jacket length depends on your torso length too, relative to your legs. If you’re interested in jacket length, have a look at our video here.
Have you commissioned anything else from Ettore since?
Yes – a charcoal tweed coat here
I’m going to be working in Naples for stretches of time over the next year(s) and am looking at having my first bespoke piece made. I really have a more classic dressing style, so I have been leaning towards Ciro Zizolfi (the fact he travels to New York is also a plus), but I was wondering if you think that someone who is already broad in chest and shoulders (45” and 20”, respectively) should use a tailor that uses more structure like Zizolfi, or more towards someone like Ettore. I know, probably a difficult question to really answer, I just don’t want to spend the money on Zizolfi and then look even more like a bus. Thanks, Simon.
I think it’s really up to you whether you want something that really minimises that or not. It’s not like a structured English tailor either – there isn’t any big pad or anything in there. So the effect is pretty subtle. Have a look at Gianluca too – he’s fairly broad
Good point, Simon, and thanks for responding. I’ve been an avid reader of your site for quite some time now and I can’t tell you how helpful this has been for me. Thank you again!
Oh good, that’s lovely to hear Sam, thank you
Simon, love this jacket and have recently ordered a similar style from another Neapolitan tailor. Pignatta patch pockets, double stitching, 3-roll-2, mock-leno from VBC… What buttons would you recommend for versatility? To make this a go-to jacket, the only purely summer-weight navy jacket in s collection, or the one jacket that does multiple duty on a few day work trip? I want it clearly to be a blazer rather than an orphaned suit jacket, but no gold buttons and likely no mother of pearl, to work with high twist and other smart wool trousers, but also casual trousers and diverse shirts or other tops (smart knits etc). So dark brown? More colourful brown? Thanks!
Nice. I’d go dark brown horn in that case
Thanks, Simon, appreciated!
Another question, related to an issue you noted in the text with your jacket’s vents opening too much. I have that issue too on a jacket of mine that otherwise fits great, but not sure what causes it or how to fix it. Which part needs to be let out to remedy this?
It could be a handful of things Stephan. The vent overlap may not be big enough, it may be too tight across the seat, or too tight in the lower back, pulling it all up. It’s hard to say – not an easy thing to fix on a RTW jacket without lots of inlay though.
Thanks, Simon. This is a ‘respoke’ suit by Sagripanti of Rome. Plenty of inlay. Guess best to take it to an alterarions tailor and see.
Yes, I would
Simon, it’s not absolutely clear from the pictures, but it somewhat looks like the quarters of this jacket are too open, no? Like, would the tie show up under the 3d button if you stood still on the photo? I recently had a similar jacket made-to-measure, and it does have this issue. I wonder if this is just a feature of some Neapolitan jackets, or a sign that something should be altered?
It is bordering on that, yes Kirill, and it is a style aspect of some Neapolitan jackets. Doesn’t help when they’re shorter and higher buttoning too
What’s your opinion on this style aspect? Doesn’t it look a little unflattering when the tie or the shirt show up?
Yes I think so. I don’t have my jackets cut that short or that open