Sartoria Melina bespoke leather jacket – Review

Monday, October 9th 2017
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My leather jacket from Sartoria Melina arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I’m relieved to say the fit is good and the product excellent.

I was rather worried at the fitting we had in Naples, because the canvas toile they had created was rather too short.

I should perhaps have been more specific that it should copy the proportions of my existing Neapolitan tailoring - and I see why they offer a service of completely copying the proportions of one of your jackets.

Ready-to-wear leather is more commonly this bumfreezer length these days, but that was not what I wanted.

We talked about it at the fitting, and decided to add 3cm to the length in the end.

Fortunately the jacket that arrived was perfect for length. Perhaps a tiny bit shorter than most of my tailoring, but no more.

The fit elsewhere was also pretty good. It could do with lifting up in the shoulders a little - that affects both the front and back under the armpits, causing those areas to collapse a little.

It also needs a little more shape in the small of the back, and perhaps cleaning up a touch below the collar on the back. 

All of these things Melina can tweak easily (except perhaps picking up the shoulders - that’s harder).

But, and this is very important, it should not be compared to the fit of bespoke tailoring.

As far as fit is concerned, this jacket is very much made to measure.

It uses standard blocks, which are then altered for the customer. There is no canvas structure that the tailor can use to help create shape. And there’s no use of an iron.

The leather is also extremely soft and pliable, making it hard to maintain straight lines.

It would be more useful to compare it to ready-made leather - which, trust me, would fit a lot worse than this. I’ve tried enough of them.

A leather or suede jacket from Cifonelli or Camps de Luca would use canvas and could be shaped more easily - but it’s a different beast, far more expensive and with less emphasis on the external finishing.

That finishing - the pick stitching running around every seam and edge - is just beautiful.

Not only is it a nice style point (the kind of thing everyone notices, but only once they’re up close), but it also makes you appreciate the leather itself more, seeing it pricked and swelled.

As I mentioned on that original post, I really love the nubuck calf leather.

This jacket has been worn about four times so far, and it already looks beautifully aged. Getting a leather jacket that looks beaten up and natural, yet still fits well, is a real challenge - and one this achieves.

Interestingly, I’ve found that I want to wear this jacket all the time. With jeans and with flannels, at work and at the weekend.

More than my Cifonelli suede jacket - even though the only thing that makes that less wearable is the slightly lighter colour of the suede.

The pockets actually have flaps, but I found I preferred the look of besom pockets, so I’ve tucked the flaps in.

Somehow it looks more casual, even though besom is meant to be more formal. Perhaps it’s just that it looks cleaner and less like it’s aping a suit jacket.

In that same spirit, I wouldn’t normally wear a pocket handkerchief with a leather/suede jacket, but liked it with these combinations. The white is a nice pop.

Melina were keen to put a little flash somewhere on the jacket, reflecting their speciality with exotic skins in particular.

And so we put a lovely piece of alligator under the collar - visible only when it is popped up and the jacket buttoned by the top two of the three buttons. 

The two outfits I've shown the jacket with illustrate its versatility, I think. 

The first, at top, has it with a grey shirt and heavy cream trousers (from Pommella, review coming soon). I really like this combination of deep brown, grey and cream, but it is quite strong - not one for the office. 

The second outfit, which I was also pictured in when interviewing Adam of CQP last week, is much more conservative. 

It has a blue button-down shirt (actually our Everyday Denim) worn with grey flannels, and the brown leather on top.

If it were a brown-wool sports jacket, it would not be that different - such is the matte texture of the leather. 

The only reason I can see someone not liking the leather is that it feels a touch rubbery. I don't mind this at all, but if you are thinking of commissioning something too, it's worth seeing the leather first hand. 

Jolanda and her mother will be coming to London before the end of the year, but are just finalising dates at the moment. 

I'll have my fit points amended then. Fortunately none of them involve letting the jacket out, rather than taking it in. 

Sartoria Melina bespoke leather jackets start at €2900. For more details on the sartoria and the product, read my original profile post here

Photography: James Munro

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Dimitar Dimitrov

Not good for me !!! Sorry, but true

Charles Davide


A very nice piece, but I can’t quite understand why you would comission another leather “blazer” that looks so similar to your Cifonelli one?




This raises an interesting question about ‘in between’ items: I’m happy to be persuaded, but right now I feel like this is less useful than either a traditional leather jacket or a woollen sport coat.

When you say “If it were a brown-wool sports jacket, it would not be that different”, my thought is that this is the problem, that this is neither fish nor fowl, and that perhaps it makes sense in your wardrobe only because you have so many of the standard options already.

As I said, happy to be convinced otherwise, but I feel like more casual leather items do their job better than imitation woollens.


You should wear this and the Cifonelli one more regularly. In my opinion, suede jackets are the best.
There are alot of suede options out there so perhaps a suede blazer is more unusual in a special sense and fitting considering it is well documented the workplace is becoming less and less formal, which I prefer…

I would actually prefer this to a brown sports jacket!


As I look at the beauty of the leather , the mastery of the pick stitching on the lapel etc etc and then read your comments , one could be forgiven for thinking you’re being very ‘awkward’.
(I fully understand and appreciate why you ‘nit pick’ ).

On that point how do you reference your criticism? Do you benchmark against an intangible expectation or a particular jacket ?

Although on reading again it’s clear this is a remarkable jacket.


How would you care for the jacket?

Perhaps a waterproofing spray…


I like the louche look of this and can fully understand why you are wearing it a lot.
Personally, I much prefer it to the Cifonnelli which, although a great piece of work, is too perfect to pull off the look that is so important in leather and suede.
I was wondering if you considered a wider lapel with 2 button fastening and patch pockets ?
When they come toLondon I’d definitely be up for discussing a commission.
When will you know dates ?


Do you wear the jacket indoors much? It’s really beautiful but, as with you Cifonelli suede one, it seems like more of an outdoor coat, rather than a stand-in for an odd jacket? Does this mean you go shirtless once you’re in the office?


Hahaha, apologies, I meant to say “jacketless”! Clearly the morning coffee hadn’t kicked in yet! So, given… *jacketless* is probably not a look you would go for in the office, does this mean it’s more of a weekend piece?

Kev Fidler

Like a fellow commentator I also on looks prefer this to the Cifonelli. It’s the tone mostly though the leather on this appears very supple and comfortable. On the subject of the accompanying cream trousers – are they simply a different weight to your heavy ones you have featured previously? That tone does look good with the brown of this jacket.


Small point but the lapel,edges are not swelled as you say. A swelled edge has a line of stitching set in from the edge, say about 1/4″.
Also why is the buttoning point so high?


I don’t follow your point on length. If the jacket is shorter than normal, then making it longer would make the buttoning point look even higher…………


But you said you had made the button on your natural waist, just above your belly button………….so longer jacket = lower button= below your natural waist=not very good answer………..


Sorry, but that’s complete nonsense.

The button point is where your waist is, not how long/short/tight/loose the garment is.

Jacket length is measured by the knuckle on your thumb.


Are pleats growing on you, Simon? Why the change of heart?



Sorry, but you really are getting out of your depth…………..


Nice one. The colour and texture look great. The front balance seems a little short — front quarters seem to be kicking out. Would you correct the sleeve pitch as well?


The fit of the Cifonelli one looked superb but it lacked casuality and the colour was not so great.
On this jacket, the colour is nice, classic but the skin looks too thin (too many thin pleats).
I am surprised to read that the finishings on the Cifonelli was neither as good, nor with similar pick stiching. How much was the C suede jacket?


I can’t shake the country/city taxonomy from my perception of the jacket, and both nubuck and suede, esp. in brown, just seem very country. So while I think this jacket is better styling (though not fit) than the Cifonelli—the dark nubuck giving more texture than the smooth light suede, the unlined structure and soft shoulders allowing for more flow—I think it’d work so much more effectively as a belted safari or shooter with shoulder and elbow patches and flapped pockets to be paired with denim and tweed rather than flannel and twill. Perhaps even a Taubian driving jacket?


The jacket looks very beautiful. especially the close ups! I just bought an ubercool Jil Sander jacket for less one tenth the price. I visited their shop in Zurich in June and tried on their latest offerings but felt euro 5000 was too much.


Lovely jacket Simon. This is exactly the kind of thing that I’d like to wear in the office but budget means that it is unlikely that I will as there are other items further up the “wish list”.

Why only the one button on the cuff and why is it so high? Is this the house style or did you specifically ask for it?

Greta post as always.


If it is unlined, was it not worth showing the inside?


As with others I prefer this to the Cifonelli – it just looks better even though it is not bespoke (colour, cut, style). Having said that I feel it will date quickly – suede is good new but the wear and patina of age may quickly reduce it into casual wear more suited to accompany denim. As with another commenter I think a different cut of jacket would have been more productive in the long term due to its ‘outdoor’ association. You have many styles of jacket but I wonder if a bomber, harrington or shooting cut might have been more intriguing and ultimately more wearable (given the presence of the Cifonelli). Looking forward to the Pommella review – hoping to see it with other jacket combinations.


Hi Simon,
This is a lovely jacket! And the pockets haven’t been patched, as one might have expected with such a material. I just wonder when, if ever, you will just stop challenging craftsmen and women for the sake of style! For sure, it’s also interesting to know what they can still do today!


Hello Simon,
as this is more close to MTM, are the armholes high or low?
If I understand correctly they could copy an existing bespoke jacket. Why didn’t you gave them one of your Caliendo or Solito jackets to be copied?

Greg Coleman

Good morning Simon,

Irrespective of the differences between Bespoke and MTM, colours etc., I think this is a beautiful jacket and the fact that you want to wear if so often must be one of the “acid tests” when it comes to the success of (expensive) clothing.

I’m seriously interested in buying a similar blazer in blue, but am interested in hearing your (and other readers’) experience regarding how you think the nubuck will age? Did you get a chance to see any older jackets when you were at the workshop – either worn by members of the family or in for repair?

You mentioned that your jacket is already aging (albeit in an attractive way). Is there a danger that, after a year or so of moderate wear, the elbows and edges will become shiny?

I’d be grateful for any thoughts

Thanks again


Greg Coleman

Thanks Simon. I’d also be grateful if you could post (on this thread) as soon as you have dates for Sartoria Melina’s London visit?
Kind regards

Jon A. Olason

I think the color of the jacket is exquisite and especially like it against the grey flannels. Agree with others who commented as preferring this to a brown sports coat; the color of the leather is so very deep and rich. I bet this is going to age beautifully.

Gus Walbolt

This color suede was an excellent choice. In the last era of suede blazers (late 70’s-mid 80’s) it was recommended to wear a scarf to prevent skin oil from the neck from darkening the edge of the collar. Suede also tends to droop a bit over time. Did they offer to build up the shoulder slightly to compensate for that? Or, perhaps you prefer the softer, relaxed look?


I am trying to be honest… but I dont see it working here.

Iinitially I thought, hmm it looks cheap, out of shape, a bit small…
But I cant pinpoint it.


Shoulder problem is easily solved by the insertion of a pad but yes you are right leather is a different animal. This is why the blouson is such a huge success – note that even low value garments in cheap leather are wearable and look better as they age.

Greg Coleman

Good morning Simon
Now that you have more time on your hands (!) I wonder if you could do another article on “How things age”.

Given the high initial outlay of many of the items featured on your website, the question about how they age becomes vitally important.

I’m particularly interested in your Sartoria Melina suede blazer. I wasn’t able to attend when they visited London, but am still very interested in buying one of these jackets.

So, I’d really like to know:
(a) Do you still wear the jacket much (particularly in view of your large selection of jackets); and
(b) How is the suede bearing up? Has it gone shiny where it rubs?

Thanks for the really useful website

Kind regards


Greg Coleman

Thanks for the quick response, Simon

I’m still very interested in this, so will look at getting in touch with Sartoria Melina

Thanks – Greg



Do you mind if I ask how this leather blazer has aged down the years?
I bought one in this colour in a bomber jacket some years ago – and its lovely.
I am thinking of getting a blazer in a black nubuck and would like to hear your thoughts?


Thanks a million Simon – much appreciated..!!