Saman Amel made-to-measure jacket: Review

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It’s so enjoyable writing good reviews.

It is valuable to write balanced, semi-critical pieces of course, and this is a core part of Permanent Style. But you always feel very conscious of the effect the criticism will have, and bad even if it’s accurate.

Enjoyably, there is almost nothing bad to say about this Saman Amel made-to-measure jacket. It is simply superb, in terms of style, fit, craft and value.

Which is even more pleasurable to say, given what lovely people Saman and Dag are.

I first wrote about Saman Amel in September 2017, when they first came to London. They’ve been here another time since (when we had the first fitting) and Saman is here next month again (February 8-10).

I say fitting, but given this is made to measure and not bespoke, the jacket was pretty much finished at that second meeting. Nothing was basted, with any adjustments requiring opening up the seams.

This restriction of made to measure is one reason Saman says he takes the measuring process so seriously - and that showed at this second meeting.

All the fundamentals were perfect - the balance front and back, side to side, the clean close fit around the neck. I don’t think I’ve ever had a piece of tailoring that fit this well at this stage.

The only things we changed were to balance the sleeve length and put a little more shape in the back.

The jacket was sent a few weeks later, and I showed it to them in Stockholm when we met at the atelier. It was perfect.

As per usual, the photography here doesn’t necessarily do justice to the fit. Until you start moving (or the wind starts blowing) the fit is beautiful and clean through the waist, for example.

And you can see how lovely it is in the back - below. (Bear in mind also that this is a very soft, lightweight jacketing - Loro Piana wool, 320g).

The only thing I might change is to give a touch more space in the waist. It's perfect over a shirt, but doesn't give much room for a little knitwear (as here).

Often adding a bit in the waist like this doesn't visibly change the line, but allows the jacket to hang a little more easily. Making jackets tighter even if it doesn't slim the lines is a frequent mistake men make with bespoke or MTM suits. 

These fit points are important, because there are also cheaper jackets in the Saman Amel range that would fit just as well, but involve less hand work.

My jacket is from the Neapolitan line, which starts at £2200 for a two-piece suit. Jackets start at £1800 and mine (in Loro Piana cloth) was £1950.

But the Toscana line starts at £1400 for a suit, and there is even a business-suit range with limited cloths at £1200.

The major difference with the Napoli line is that it has hand-padded lapels, which give a touch more shape to the chest (albeit less that with most English suits, given the lightweight canvas).

The other handwork in the Napoli line includes hand-attached lining, -sewn buttonholes, -attached buttons, -sewn gorgeline, -picked stitching, and -attached pockets.

Plus the functional work you’d expect on any good MTM or RTW suit, such as a hand-attached collar.

Many of these things will be points that Permanent Style readers like and will value. But for others, the Toscana line is a great option.

In terms of style details, it is noticeable how Saman pitches the top of his patch pockets forwards, which makes them more functional (above).

Round Neapolitan patch pockets look lovely, but can often be impractical given the narrowness of the opening. A slanted top solves that problem.

The shoulder is very soft but slightly extended, which gives a subtle impression of width without more padding. The chest is fairly clean and close, and the lapels wide.

In fact, the one thing I would change about the Saman Amel style is the gorgeline, which is very high and - as a result - makes the wide lapel look even wider.

It's also striking how open the foreparts are (below the waist button) but relatively straight - not as curved as some Neapolitans and in keeping with the line of the lapel. 

An unusual aspect that was picked up on Instagram a while ago is the strip of lining Saman has included underneath the two vents (above).

This is intended to keep the two sides of the jacket together, and keep the vent in place, when you put your hands in and out of your pockets.

I was initially sceptical about this. It reminded me of those horrendous shirt stays that attach to your socks.

But actually, you never see this strip when wearing the jacket, even when putting your hands in and out, and it functions perfectly.

It’s something Saman would only use on those with a big seat, and it is an issue I occasionally have - no matter how much the vent overlaps.

As discussed in more depth on the first post on Saman Amel, their styling is also a big attraction.

Both Saman and Dag are very fashion aware, and their monotone aesthetic of grey, cream, brown and navy feels very grown-up as well as very modern.

Their input on the cloth selection, as well as the brown corozo buttons and green lining, was useful.

I’ve also tried the made-to-measure knitwear (which I will write about separately) and am rather taken with the cut of the cashmere hoodies, which are more formal than most despite their raglan sleeve.

Lastly, I would say that I am very happy with the cloth selection.

I've long wanted a Prince-of-Wales sports jacket with a touch more texture and some brown in it, to make it a more suitable jacket than my Anderson & Sheppard flannel

The disadvantage of a grey jacket, of course, is that it cannot go with grey trousers and so is limited to charcoal, cream, green and then tans/browns. But I think that will be enough. 

Details:

  • Cloth: Loro Piana, Jackets and Trousers – Collezione 627 bunch, 320gr/mt, 100% Super 120's wool.
  • Tie: Ralph Lauren Purple Label, charcoal cashmere
  • Trousers: Drake’s ready-to-wear cavalry twill, from my collection with them
  • Shirt: White spread-collar, bespoke from Luca Avitabile
  • Cardigan: Grey ‘Finagon’ from John Smedley (my design, sadly no longer available)
  • Handkerchief: Yellow silk from Rubinacci
  • Shoes: Bespoke oxfords from Cleverley

Saman is back in London for the next trunk show on February 8-10. Appointments can be made through dag@samanamel.se. There aren't many appointments left for those days, but they will be back again two months' later.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man