Bespoke commissions – What I should and shouldn’t have

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Thank you everyone that responded to my ‘You are the interviewer’ post a couple of weeks ago.

The number of variety of questions was staggering, and I will try to answer as many as I can over the coming weeks.

It may take time, but I would rather do it properly than fob off the questions with quick answers, or leave out any interesting topics.

Some of those topics - such as storage and capsule wardrobes - came up so often that I will endeavour to do a separate, in-depth post on them.

Today I will answer the questions around bespoke commissions.


Dominic: What do you consider has been your best value item?

It would have to be a pair of shoes. Because shoes last so long and because they can be worn with so many different things. They also reward good maintenance and can get better with age, unlike most pieces of clothing.

[Edward Green Walcots here]

I would say my Edward Green Walcots have been the best value. Being a mid-brown, they go with everything from casual suits to sports jackets - I could easily wear them twice a week for the rest of my life.

And I’ve always liked the adelaide style: you have that long stretch of leather down the side, like a wholecut, but without the bareness of a wholecut design.


Tristan: What is the item you have ordered and love but get the least wear from?

Probably my Liverano purple jacket. I adore it: the broad-lapel, extended-shoulder cut; the beautiful fit; the unusual yet surprisingly subtle colour.

[Liverano jacket here]

But it’s a bit too unusual to wear. It’s certainly too strong for the office, and even at special events it’s the kind of jacket you can’t wear with the same company too often - it will be ‘oh, he’s wearing that again’.

And my Huntsman shooting suit, obviously. I still love that (aside from the pattern-matching issues).

The colours in the tweed are amazing and the make is wonderful. But even the jacket on its own I struggle to wear (see comment below on English sports jackets).

[Huntsman shooting suit here]


Matthew: Are there any items that you wish you hadn’t commissioned, either because you get practically no use from them or simply don’t like them anymore?

Others I don’t get much use from include my cream-gabardine trousers and double-breasted waistcoat from Anderson & Sheppard and my cream linen suit from Kent Haste & Lachter.

[Cream gabardine trousers here]

[DB waistcoat here]

There are very few bespoke pieces I don’t like any more, but they include that waistcoat (it never really worked as a separate with a suit) and sports jackets from the more structured English tailors (eg Graham Browne) - the structure just means they’re not casual enough.

Other interesting pieces have been the gilet from Davide Taub, which I liked the idea of but (as I mentioned in the review) just never quite hit the spot.

[Gilet here]

And in general tailored cotton trousers. Without the garment-wash of chinos, they often look too old-fashioned for me, too countrified. That’s why I increasingly prefer cavalry twills.


Zubair: when you first started getting acquainted with dressing better, did you ever go overboard into full peacock?

I wouldn’t say I ever went ‘full peacock’, but there is an undeniable tendency when you start to want to have striking things made.

Often these are pieces that are traditional foundations of a gentleman’s wardrobe, but are a bit too unusual.

For example my first-ever bespoke was a double-breasted suit. Lovely piece, but a double breasted is unusual in most offices and it wasn’t worn as much as I hoped.

[Double-breasted suit here]

The second was a navy single-breasted suit… but with braces and a fishtail back. I didn’t like the braces and back, and eventually had to have them remade.

And my first overcoat was very long, very heavy, in tan camelhair.

All three of those things are great to have made bespoke, as you can’t get them easily ready-made. And they are classics. But they shouldn’t be your first bespoke commissions.

[Fishtail back here]

[Camel polo coat here]


Anonymous: Is there anything that you secretly want but haven’t been able to bring yourself to commission (due to it being too flamboyant, expensive, wouldn’t get any use, you don’t have the je ne sais quoi to pull off etc)??

As a continuation to the answer above, there are several things I would love to have made, but know I would never use.

One of them is white tie. It would be beautiful, but have zero wear. I’d also love a double-breasted velvet jacket - but I already have one velvet jacket and a tux, and get little enough wear out of those.

[My velvet jacket here - pictured above]

[Dinner jacket here]

If you end up having these kind of things made, and then arranging events (or even just seeking them out) as an excuse to wear them, then it’s tantamount to costume.


Jon: Which bespoke item (with hindsight) do you consider you paid too much for?

Probably my Rubinacci sports jacket.

It’s a lovely piece, and I still wear it fairly regularly, but at the time I wanted to try Neapolitan tailoring so badly I would have tried anything - and Rubinacci was all you could access in London that I knew of.

[Rubinacci sports jacket here]

It was expensive six years ago -  £3800 I believe - and a huge amount of money for me then. Today I would start with something cheaper, like Solito.


David: Which items in each major category (suits, sportcoats, ties, shirts, trousers, shoes, knitwear, outerwear) bring you the most pleasure to wear? This is somewhat the opposite of the “which one item is most versatile” question

Interesting twist.

Suit: Instinctively, my Anderson & Sheppard double-breasteds. I have three. I just love the size and bulk that the drape gives.

Sports coat: My Elia Caliendo Harris tweed (pictured top). Lovely cut and make, but it’s mostly about the cloth (a lesson in there as well). There’s so many goddamned colours in there it’s like a crayon box.

Ties: Navy big-knot grenadine (boring but true) because it feels like the most conservative thing in the world, yet you rarely see someone wearing one. And an old burnt-orange tie from Church’s.

Trousers: Cream heavy-heavy wool trousers from Elia. They're outrageous, yet wearable.

Shoes: Probably my old Edward Green Oundles. Because they are the oldest and the most bashed up, yet looked after. Which is how shoes should be.

Knitwear: Anderson & Sheppard shawl-collar shetland. Such a unique design, so useful. 

Outerwear: Cifonelli navy overcoat. Beautiful yet wearable. (Interesting that, even though this question is about pleasure, not versatility, so many pieces combine both... Perhaps much of the pleasure is in wearing something wonderful that is also not ostentatious.) 

[Anderson & Sheppard DB here]

[Caliendo Harris tweed here]

[Navy grenadine here]

[Cream heavy-wool trousers here]

[Old Oundles here]

[A&S shawl-collar sweater]

[Cifonelli navy coat]


Anonymous: It’s easy to understand logical next steps of commissions, how a beautiful tweed catches your eye and you succumb etc. But what would be really interesting would be how and where you set your limits / parameters (if you do at all!)

I try to commission things that fill a hole in my wardrobe. Obviously those holes get smaller and smaller, but I try to work from that - from my needs outwards - rather than from seeing something and just liking it.

That helps set limits - you need to be able to wear it with other things you wear. And you need to know where and when you could wear it (office, home, day, evening out etc).

I have also written a few times about clothing being a social construct. It’s relative; it’s effect depends on other people, their experiences and expectations. So if you stick out like a sore thumb you are not well dressed.

The Cifonelli suede jacket (pictured above) certainly filled a gap - something obviously casual but made to the highest bespoke standards. 

[Cifonelli suede jacket here]



Walcots - James Munro

Shooting jacket - Andy Barnham

Harris tweed jacket, Cream trousers, Velvet jacket - Luke Carby

Blue suit, Pale-grey suit, Suede jacket - Jamie Ferguson

Rubinacci jacket - Ade Udoma

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Adam Jones

I didn’t expect, but it is nice to hear that with all of your bespoke footwear your “best value item” and “most pleasurable item” (IRO shoes) are both RTW options.


Morning Simon, sorry I must be a bit thick this morning. Talking about your first (DB)bespoke suit, you say you hardly wear it anymore because its so unusual in most offices. Then you say your A&S DB suits give you the most pleasure and you have three of them. While I am very happy to admit A&S house style is less structured than say a G&H surely the same applies – that double breasted suits are unusual (alas) and not seen often?


Glad to see two of my (Anon) questions being answered! And to think, I’m a pauper who has only ever had budget bespoke made!


Agree with the comments at the end. I’ve always felt that at the heart of true, permanent, style, is a consideration of other people, the people around you.

Erik Rasmussen

Do you know why there is such a difference in price between entry level London tailors and Neapolitans? I think you’ve recommended Graham Browne as best value in London, and Solito for Neapolitan, but Solito is about £1000 more expensive for a suit if I’ve understood correct.

Erik Rasmussen

That makes sense, thank you. Do you know of any Neapolitan tailors that travel with similar prices to GB?


Do you no longer regard GB as bespoke then? Would you no longer recommend them?


The hand / machine padding dilemma is an interesting one. I understand that GB does a bit of both.

But what is really the importance of this, especially when GB uses fairly modern machinery? Perhaps you could do an update to your 2011 post regarding the hand padding issue? (the one where you also mention that Henry Poole also partially machine pads)



I appreciate a hand padded chest is needed in some cases like for a nice drape. But what does it bring for someone with a normal breast wanting a normal or even fitted chest (which may be the most frequent cases)?


But is this really true when comparing state of the art padding machinery to hand padding? It seems to be largely a myth prpogated by tailors with a vested interest who do a comparison between hand padding and 30 – 40 year old sewing machines. Such machines are so much more advanced now. Maybe worth covering?



How different do you think your wardrobe would be if you didnt write Permanent Style? Not talking from a financial perspective.


Hi Simon

In your “Tailors I have known” post you mentioned that Graham Browne were producing some of “the best non-Italian soft jackets I’ve seen”. Have you reviewed one of these specifically and how would they compare with the other GB pieces you commissioned?


Last year I bought my first soft tailored jacket from Solito. This year I bought my second from GB. Bearing in mind that Solito was a little over twice the price of GB I think they’re both very good value and I’m very pleased with both jackets.


The difference is mainly in the fit and style rather than the finish, which is very good in both jackets. The Solito is actually the more structured of the two. It has a little chest padding and is higher and tighter at the back of the neck. It has more shape through the waist, the lapels are wider and the pockets smaller. The GB feels shorter, although it isn’t. It has even softer shoulders and no chest padding.
Before you asked for the comparison I would probably have gone to GB for the third jacket. Now I’m not so sure.


Why are the cream garbadines on your list of bad commissions, but the super heavy creams aren’t?

Peter K

So what have you gone to as a replacement for the cream gabardine Simon? Chinos or the cavalry twills you mentioned in the article?


Would you say Solito is a better make than Rubinacci, or are you paying a premium for, well, the name esentially?


Simon why do t you wear the Kent haste linen suit much anymore? I remember seeing pictures and really liking the look of it. Is it something about the cut or you don’t get a chance to wear linen suits much in England?


Ah ok interesting to know. I’ve been eyeing a linen cloth to use in a future suit. Love the look but I’m sure you’re right that it would stand out in an age where tailored men’s clothing seems to have ditched variants like a cream linen suit in summer. I might just go ahead and do it regardless though)))



Who made the pale yellow tie your wearing with the tweed jacket?



Hi Simon,
A very interesting post and relevant questions asked too.
I want to know if a merino or any kind of wool cardigan of same color would habe been a better option than the waistcoat, not functionally equivalent though.

My name

Could you share who makes that beautiful brown alligator belt in your picture?

Jesus Gonzalez

Do you know if Caliendo has any interest in coming to Miami as the Neapolitan jacket would be a perfect fit for the heat and humidity in Miami. Rubinacci has started to travel to Miami four times a year and I have had two jackets made by them but again as you mention in your blog expensive even though very well made and very good fit.


that’s interesting that two of your least worn trousers are cream. is the purely down to your choice of fabric? if so what would you recommend commissioning your first pair of cream trousers in ? amazing post as always.


Do you think the lack of wearability is down to the English weather? It’s perhaps easier to wear cream in sunnier climes. Similarly, light-colored or tobacco linen always looks a little odd on a cool, cloudy London day (even in July or August)

John H-A

This is a really great post – fascinating reading, thanks Simon and those who submitted questions


Thank you, for this article! Was an interesting read.



I like your comment about going “over the top” when one first develops a taste and understanding for quality/bespoke clothing.

There seems to be aspects of “bespoke” that is making its’ way into RTW (mostly at the mid-high end) that may have lost their cachet…Such as jazzing up a blue blazer with contrasting electric pink button holing.

Do think it is now becoming too common, and will not age well?

If so, should the true bespoke flourishes return to such items as wild jacket linings, etc.

Perhaps a style guide on what is acceptable in bespoke or not is in order, no?

Don Ferrando

Your opinion about Rubinacci jacket linings ?


I find this completely fascinating because. Although you have commissioned some pretty ludicrous stuff, you often come up trumps in a big way.
It is just difficult to reconcile the man who likes the Liverno purple jacket , the Huntsman Shooting suit and that awful RL cardigan with the man who designed the PW trench, the Friday polo and who sports those beautiful A&S DB suits.
I can only assume that either there are two Simons. One who has to do some pretty bizarre stuff to animate the blog. He has a wicked sense of humour. He likes to give us a huge belly laugh and doesn’t care if it’s at his expense.
The other is a discerning gentleman who has a real ‘Permanent Style’, who demonstrates impeccable taste and whom would give Cary Grant a run for his money.
Either way I’m eternally grateful because this excellent blog has saved me a fortune and has prevented me from making some horrendous mistakes. And for that I thank both Simons from the bottom of my wardrobe.


May I say this is a fabulous, engaging post. Very enjoyable indeed. Thank you.


Dear Mr Compton,

Thank for your insightful & fascinating responses to these well-reflected-upon questions.

Re sticking out like a sore thumb: this often depends in part on the crowd. Outside of affluent neighbourhoods, it’s the well-dressed person who will stick out. Between blending in & wearing a coat & tie I would not hesitate in my choice.



Dear Simon
Like your site very much and have been learning from it for some time now.
I often see advertising for bespoke suits for £199. Should I try one?
Also is polyester a good basic material for trousers?

HJ Beardsell

Dear SC,

You write that white-tie just wouldn’t warrant the commission. Would you take the same view on [barathea] morning dress? (mainly weddings, race meetings, memorials, and the unlikely investiture cum garden party)

Kind regards,



Not sure where in which category to put this question, but could you possibly recommend a business card holder (or manufacturer) you like? would be much appreciated!


thank you, Simon!



This is a great article.

In your answer to the ‘full peacock’ question, you mention your tan camel hair overcoat. Do you consider tan overcoats peacock-like? I notice that most of your overcoats these days are rather muted in colour.


Its interesting you mention your camel overcoat. I had a Polo coat made a couple of years ago and original wanted camel, but the tailor was quite strong in his advice that I go dark blue, and I am very glad I did.


Hi Simon, I am thinking of commissioning a navy blazer when Luigi Solito comes to Hong Kong later this month – hopsack, 3 roll 2, 1-button sleeve, barchetta breast and patch side pockets. I also want to use gold tone buttons from Benson & Clegg. Since the blazer is more formal than a sports coat would the Solito-cum-Neapolitan style be appropriate? Many thanks.

Stephen Dolman

Hi Simon,
In your opinion what do you consider, in order of importance the three most important pieces.
to have made bespoke.
I would consider:
1, ( without doubt) Suit.
2, Shoes
3 Shirt.
I had two suits from Edward Sexton some 35 yrs ago(he is currently making me a new one)
which he has jus valeted, are as good as new, still worn regularly and still commented on.
Stephen Dolman

Chuck Harris

Simon – great article as always. Here’s a question that may resonate with many of your readers (and one you’ve possibly answered before but I can’t find).

Can you provide suggestions or guidance for those of us who would like bespoke tailoring but are “remote” and only get to visit London, Paris, or New York infrequently for a few days at a time? Maybe more specific to my case, I will be visiting London and then Paris for about three days each in a few weeks and would really like to at least start the process of a bespoke suit/jacket.

I suspect I’m not alone here and that many of us only get a rare opportunity to visit these places for a few days on a very infrequent basis.

Any thoughts?

Chuck Harris

Thanks Simon – in my particular case, not often. I’m relegated to the sartorial hinterlands of Hawaii so the opportunity to make it to Europe is pretty limited. In this case, I’ll only have three days in each city.

I’ve had decent luck with MTM and may have to accept my fate there. Can you provide thoughts on the better MTM shops (or at least poitn to a previous where you’ve discussed)?

As always, thanks.

David Ward

Dear Simon

It has been brought to my attention by my clients and colleagues on Savile Row that you have made several negative remarks about me on your website relating to a shooting suit that was made for you during my time as the senior cutter at Huntsman. Your comments, not your original article, that actually complimented your experience, are sadly devoid of technical accuracy and instead offer misleading information.

For the avoidance of doubt and clarity, when you were given the free suit back in 2010 you were specifically and correctly asked by myself, on more than one occasion in the presence of Peter Smith, the general manager and Jonnie Alan the sales manager, if you would be using the garment for shooting. The role of the cutter is to gather as much information as he can prior to the commencement of cutting a suit, especially a shooting suit. You responded to say you would indeed be using the suit for shooting. A shooting suit is a highly technical, functioning, garment and my record for cutting them is exemplary. Additionally, the tailor who made the piece is one of the best on Savile Row and is a highly respected individual.

In relation to the check at the half belt that didn’t match, you actually correctly pointed out the following in your original article, dated 30th March 2011.

“On stock examples of this cloth in the Huntsman shop the collar matches but the belt does not – indeed, the difference at the belt is even more pronounced than on my version, as they are made with a greater drop between chest and waist”.

Yet you, unfortunately, persisted with the following remark at a later date on your website?

“I finally had my Huntsman jacket fixed last week, after David Ward had failed to match the checks originally, either at the belt or collar”.

In spite of your own observations about (no) half belts matching on stock items in the front shop at Huntsman, you continued in making false and inaccurate remarks about my failure to attend to this aspect of the shooting jacket. For the sake of clarity for you and your readers, it is impossible to match a half belt with a bold check at the small of the back when a centre seem is present, as the suppression in the centre back seam distorts the pattern. You might get away with adding a seam in the belt or shrinking or stretching the cloth, but that’s not the correct way of doing things on Savile Row. That’s factual information.

During the fittings, you commented on several occasions that you additionally wanted shape to be present in the garment. Therefore, under your instruction, the garment was also cut with the Huntsman silhouette for your aesthetic requirements. This is something rarely asked by a client intending to use such a garment for the purposes of shooting. Your comments in the same original article corroborate my execution of your style requests and even reference the mismatch of the check.

“It was certainly right to improve the fit at the expense of the pattern matching. The fit of a bespoke jacket should always be the priority, and I think you can see from the clean finish to the back that the fit was very good”.

Regarding the collar not fitting. You were informed by me during the final fitting, that as you had clarified your intent to actually shoot with the suit and felt you wanted a slightly bigger cross back, I explained I would need to let out the centre back to solve this, rather than cut a new back, which we would normally do for a paying client if requested. Therefore, the check on the top collar and back neck were slightly out to accommodate this.

There are many nuances of a shooting garments aesthetic and fit, that are sometimes overlooked to enhance functionality when used in synergy with a loaded rifle. When a client has paid in excess of a £100,000 for a gun at Purdy’s or Boss, they value function over style and shooting suits are fitted accordingly. Therefore, It was decided by the then owners of Huntsman that we would not cut a new back to a free suit that would normally cost close to £10,000 on completion. If you felt that this was unfair then it would have been maybe constructive if you had made your reservations with the Huntsman management, who also felt that I had carried out my work to my usual exceptional standards. The photographs of the finished suit in your original article show this. The fact that you have then chosen to personally defame my reputation years later with spurious wording due to their inaccuracies, is, I feel, incredibly poor.

As recently as April 2016 you offered the following in response to someone on your forum asking what I was like, but instead your reply referenced the shooting jacket once again?

“I haven’t seen him for years, but I can’t really recommend him given his cutting of my Huntsman tweed jacket (see posts on that)”.

I’m sure you are aware of the problems the industry has in trying to keep traditional tailors within its boundaries and the natural environment of Savile Row. Therefore, the presence of myself as an independent tailor, who is part of an unnoticeable trend at the moment, should be endorsed rather referred to with specious remarks. It is also a shame that you have offered your inaccuracies on a site that is noted as a resource for sound information about menswear. You have noted there were a few things that needed looking at on one of the gun pleats. As you are aware, with every bespoke order a client is encouraged to wear a garment and bring it back if need be. Your experience of bringing the garment back to Huntsman for tweaking at a later date was the norm, rather than the exception. My contact details are published online and I would have been happy to discuss the issues with you over a coffee (or something stronger), which might have helped to resolve or maybe even enhance your review.


David Ward


Very interesting article.

More of these please.

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

You’ve inspired me to make the jump to bespoke and I am currently mid-process in commissioning my first bespoke project, a pair of 13/14oz Minnis Fresco double forward pleat trousers.

I am writing to you out of concern of being taken advantage of and would like your expert opinion on the matter.

To help compartmentalize my experience, I will divide my thoughts into the different stages of the bespoke process.

Initial meeting: We agreed on making the trousers as slim as possible without compromising the uninterrupted crease in both the front and back. Pant style – double forward pleats w/ turnips and side adjusters on seam.

Basted/Muslim fitting: They created a test trouser in light wool/muslin. The muslin garment was made incorrectly with backward pleats (I requested double forward pleats), thus, I was not able to see how the pleats would lie, whether they would be closed, and how deep they were. The trousers overall was too tight overall, but I wasn’t worried as it was a test trouser. I did ask for an increased rise. They apologized for messing up the pleats.

Forward Fitting: We decided on increasing the rise, taking in the back thighs (slight ballooning in the back thigh area, knees and below were fine), and hemming the pants as it was too long and bunching at the bottom, throwing off the center crease in front. At this stage, I wasn’t really happy with the pleats as they did not feel deep enough and fully closed (they were half closed, maybe a bit more), to which the fitter responded that it would take too much time to redo them so I stopped pursuing the matter.

Third Fitting: it wasn’t until this stage that I realized the trouser was too tight in the front legs, and felt the discomfort. The pleats were semi-closed, with the outer pleat really opening up when I moved. This time, I requested they redo the crease on the left leg as it was off center and threw the center line off. An additional hem was also needed as the pants were still too long. Everything else was perfect. The back of the pants including the seat and crease were perfect while being as slim as possible.

I believe the pants are almost there – everything is to my satisfaction except the pleats and the tightness in the front, which makes it uncomfortable to walk and ruins the center creases in the front (back crease is perfect). The fitter has been very adamant about how much work it would be to accommodate my concerns about the pleats and front tightness. He told me that this commission would be used to make the second commission better…is that normal?

Firstly, we both agreed on making the trousers with an uninterrupted line – front and back. Second, they messed up on the muslin fitting so I really wasn’t able to see how the pleats behaved.

I’m not happy – what should I do? I paid $1,150.

P.S. the fitter is the founder and he has a tailor workshop right inside his shop. So he isn’t the actual tailor. Shop is called Tailors’ Keep in San Francisco, California.

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

Thank you so much for getting back to me. Regarding adding extra fullness in the front leg throughout, would that also be be impossible?

Also, if base price for a MTM coat is $950, and the cost of a hopsack fabric is $200, is it reasonable that the same fabric is $1,000 if I go bespoke? Bespoke sports coat starts at $2,000 without fabric. I’m wondering if you need to order more fabric with bespoke, hence the $3,000 price tag….

Kind regards,

Bernie Leung

Thanks again for all your help, Simon,

Don’t know what I would do without someone to consult with, especially since this is my first bespoke experience.

Thank you.

Bernie Leung

By the way, I suspect the tailor shop sees me as a difficult customer as they think I have high expectations. I merely pushed for the fundamentals of good fit espoused by your blog: 1. Uninterrupted line front & back, 2. Center crease should hang dead center of foot, and 3. No pulling or creases in the seat and hips.

If they are charging me $200 for a fabric on a MTM jacket (they quoted me this before we started work on the bespoke trousers) and then $1000 for the same fabric but on bespoke jacket, is that common practice? I know tailors/custom ateliers run their business differently and would like to get your thoughts.

Thank you,

Bernie Leung

MTM is the bulk of their business – they have only 10 bespoke trousers under their belts and do not have a house style/cut. The founder has mentioned that they can make anything I want (for trousers). He also told me he is also experimenting with bespoke odd jackets, and that I should hold off on commissioning a jacket until he is confident in the program.

They’re pretty much the only decent option within a reasonable geological distance. How would you handle this matter? I’m not particularly thrilled with being upcharged….and I’m sure that’s what they’re doing. The owner quoted $2,500 for a bespoke odd jacket with sherry tweed fabric earlier, which should definitely be more expensive than the VBV navy hopsack fabric quoted at $3,000 later. Since their MTM is nailed down, perhaps I should go with that? That way, it won’t really impact the workload of the tailor on staff and they will no longer feel the need to upcharge me 400% on fabric….

Your help is greatly appreciated, thanks.

John S

I thought I remembered seeing a bespoke suit maker on your site that offered two different price points, one did the measuring and fitting in London and the sewing in ?India? and was therefore lower priced, the other did everything in London and was priced accordingly.
I just secured a new job and am ready to go finally, but I can’t seem to find the suit maker, is this something C&M did?

John S

Awesome thanks!


Have you or would you consider writing a comprehensive piece on how to communicate with a tailor? I would like to have higher/tighter armholes than I have been able to get in the MTM arena. I am looking to dive into bespoke to achieve the results I would like. For me the MTM’s I have are in good shape, but as I’ve tried different styles over the years, I like the ones with higher armholes. And my original suit jackets now feel like I am a flying squirrel or have bat wings under my armpits.

My real concern around communication, I live in a second tier (at best) city in the US and so I would be working with a salesman, a travelling tailor, or through some sort of remote communications. So communication will be key to a successful end result.

A follow up question… How do the fittings work with a travelling tailor? Most bespoke website I have visited say they require (recommend) at least 3 fittings. If they’re traveling to the US, is this possible in a timely fashion?


Apologies if you have covered this elsewhere but I am considering a summer suit from Elia Caliendo but do not particularly like the ‘spalla camicia’ on a suit. I love it on a summer jacket but would prefer a ‘normal’ soft shoulder on a more formal suit? Could Elia do such thing? Naturally, I love everything else about his work. Many thanks David


Thank you Simon

I will certainly have a look at Ciardi.

Much obliged



Hi Simon,
For my last bespoke suit I toyed with the idea of a gauntlet cuff.
However, I decided against it as I believe a bespoke suit should be relatively classic and timeless.
Maybe on my next dinner suit,
Your opinion please


If you had to have only 1 suit, what would it be?
Eg: Navy Sb/Grey Flannel/Sb/DB
I think I would have to go for a Navy Sb with 2 vents
Your thoughts:

Tom Higgins

Hi Simon. I’ve been following your blog for some time and find much of interest in it – you are very good on your Naples and Florence trips. A comment you made above made me smile, about having white tie and a double-breasted velvet dinner jacket on your wish-list, but being unable to justify them from a usage point of view. I smiled, because I have had both of those items made, by a tailor I’ve been using in HK for the past 25 years (not cheap, very traditional, great finishing, English and Italian fabrics). I’m a diplomat, and have gone through HK pretty regularly for a number of years, and we still have to dress up a bit from time to time. Anyway, if you take your wife to a ball in Vienna during the season, you can justify the white tie, and if you take in the opera in Vienna at the same time, the double-breasted velvet jacket is just the thing – some of the Viennese still dress for the opera, and those that don’t don’t stare too much. At the same time, you could check out some of the amazing Viennese shoe makers. So you see – tailoring and trip fully justified: magic!


@ Tom Higgins. Viennese Ball & Opera? White tie & DB velvet jacket? What’s not to love? Sounds splendid. Glad to know glamour isn’t dead. Definitely on my bucket list.

Ian F

Beautiful though it is, whenever I see your Liverano jacket (and your views on it here) I can’t help thinking of Jenny Joseph’s ‘Warning.’ Perhaps you’ll get more wear out of it in later life!


Hi Simon,

Wondering what were the poor stylistic choices you made for your velvet jacket from Timothy Everest ?

Thanks a lot !




Hi Simon, I like the first question (best value item) in the interview. That’s how I started investing in menswear, shoes. Besides shoes, what other items do you think have good value too?


I found this insightful. The best investment is learning from the experience of others.

If you had to select a colour for a plain sports coat for May to September wear, what would be the most versatile and what colour trousers could you pair them with?

For the record, my skin complexion is medium brown.


Would you ever consider a jacket with a single central vent ? Is it mainly a style issue ?

The only practical aspect I can think of double vents is putting hands inside pockets.


Thank you for your answer, Simon.

You’re right in that they are traditional with Ivy-style jackets. I wonder why?