Sartoria Ciardi Neapolitan bespoke suit: Review

Friday, February 23rd 2018
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A friend used to say that he knew whether a suit was going to be good at the first, basted fitting.

I’m not sure I entirely agree. The first fitting is largely for the tailor, to make sure the fundamentals of balance etc are correct. It is at the second fitting that you start to see the style, and get an idea of whether the suit is going to be really good.

But at the first fitting you do get a sense of whether the tailor knows what they’re doing. If the fundamentals are good, you know you’re in safe hands.

When I had my first fitting on this Sartoria Ciardi suit last summer (above), I had that exact, reassuring feeling. Everything in the right place; already most of the way towards a great piece.

It felt like Enzo and Roberto had been doing this for a very long time, which of course they have (albeit until recently, under the supervision of their father Renato).

I had a second fitting on the suit in Naples in the Autumn, and took delivery of it at Pitti in January.

We did fit the suit in Florence, and had planned to adjust it if required, but it wasn’t needed. The suit lived up to all its initial promise.

As usual, the pictures here are only partially reflective of the fit. It hugs the neck and top of the back beautifully and has perfect clean lines through the waist. There could be a touch less drape in the back, but not much without the jacket becoming too tight.

Like most high twists, the cloth is also fantastic at keeping a sharp line, but its crispness means even a slight movement will produce an instant fold across the body.

It’s a VBC four-ply cloth (853.601/56, 390g), which I really like for its performance - like a heavier version of Crispaire with more body as a result of the weight.

The suit is fairly typical of the Ciardi house style.

Very lightly padded shoulders and light chest canvas, with a shirt-style (spalla camicia) sleeve head and only a little fullness (and therefore ripples) at the top.

The lapels are broad, but not extremely so - still balanced across the width of the chest. And a relatively high gorge, cut a little square, but again not extreme.

It is a three-roll-two style, with the top button just hidden as the lapel rolls over. The top buttonhole is not fully reversed.

The length is about 1cm shorter than most English tailors would cut, but also at least 1cm longer than some other Neapolitans (Formosa, Solito, Ettore de Cesare) tend to do.

As I was interested in exploring the idea of a very casual, Neapolitan suit, I had the jacket with a welt breast pocket but patch hip pockets.

I had 5cm cuffs in the same vein, but also because it's the style Ciardi most commonly makes.

The same goes for the brown corozo buttons, which I like for corozo (they have some nice pattern in the surface) but may yet change to my usual matte-brown horn.

Interestingly, it's not often these days that people focus on how comfortable this soft style is.

Comfort is generally less about weight and structure, and more about freedom of movement.

But, if you combine a high armhole, good-sized sleeve head and not-too-tight chest with that lightness, the result is extremely comfortable.

There’s a sense of that in the photograph below. The movement and pliability of the style is obvious when I cross my arms, with both sleeve heads crumpling into service.

This outfit was a first attempt to wear such a casually styled suit with fairly formal accessories, and I think it works well.

Dark greys are generally good with a white shirt and dark tie, with the latter here an old olive silk.

The shirt from D’Avino has double cuffs, which I rarely wear but give me a chance to show off some Permanent Style pearl cufflinks (white pearl, gold bar in between).

And that gold is reflected in the case of my Armoury lapel chain and Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch.

Interestingly, as mentioned in my post on watch style, I find such a formal outfit either requires a pretty dark or pretty light-coloured strap. Dark brown would look odd, but this pale-orange ostrich is OK.

Light-blue linen handkerchief with white shoestring; black-suede shoes on the feet for something a tiny bit unusual. You can find my views on black-suede footwear here.

I mentioned in a recent comment that larger, older houses tend to be more reliable for bespoke, and I do think that on average that holds true.

The likes of Henry Poole, Liverano, Dege & Skinner, Cifonelli, Anderson & Sheppard and Panico all made me very well-fitted suits with pretty much no mistakes.

There will always be exceptions, but the larger houses usually have experienced cutters and tailors, as well as well-oiled workflow systems. 

The problem with larger, traditional houses often comes when there is an attempt to change those personnel, systems or style, or when a customer asks for something that throws a spanner into that machinery.

Ciardi definitely falls into the well-oiled camp, and if you like the style I can highly recommend them.

The value is also good, at €2800 for a suit fitted in Naples (like this one) and €3200 for one abroad.

Enzo and Roberto are friendly, and although Enzo’s English is not perfect, he is taking intensive English lessons and really cares (unlike some artisans) about understanding the nuances of every word that comes up during the fitting process.

The brothers will be coming to London for a trunk show and event in 10 days' time, on March 7th. More details on that tomorrow. 

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Anonymous

Nice overall. Button point could be a touch lower, and sleeve opening looks too big. Seems very good value compared to some of your other Italian outfits.

Anonymous

Hey Simon, lovely suit. What are the lapel measurements of this jacket and the Vestrucci? Thanks in advance.

hugh

Hi Simon,

I would also be interested in knowing this measurement, when you have the chance

cheers,
-hugh

Carl Richard Melin

Very beautiful! Do you think a weight of 390 gram is too much for a 4-season-suit or is it more for three seasons (all but summer)? I get the impression that you, and many other, are buying heavier suits than you did 10 years ago.

Anonymous

14ozs is heavyish these days, 11 being closer to the average, but a lot depends on the weave. A 4 ply Finmeresco comes in at 13ozs but it is designed to be worn in warm weather.

GONZAGUE

Is a 4 ply not a denser weave?

GONZAGUE

Ok, then is a cloth with a 4 ply yarn not less breathable (each yarn being perhaps thicker)?

Gonzague

And a 4 ply yarn is necessarily hight wist?

Gonzague

Ok. I saw Scabal new « Miracle » bunch with 300g 4 ply super180s, most likely insanely expensive, but could it be the ideal cloth, ie with drape, a luxurious touch and decent durability?

Anon

Simon, why do you rarely wear double cuffs?

Gustaf

Fantastic suit; I really like the lines in the back and shoulder shot. But that Connolly coat makes me melt every time you post a picture. I think you mentioned that it’s likely to have sold out by now. If one wanted something similar with those very wide lapels and drapey feel, is there a particular style of coat to look for? Is it something you would dare to ask a decent tailor to make, or is it too particular in it’s style for that?

H

That such a casually cut and styled suit can be so formal is, for me, a good case study in how much colour affects formality. I think if you wore this at 95% of London offices you’d be the smartest man in the room – and you’d probably just about get away with it even at a bank or City law firm, albeit with some strange looks. Its only the coat and shoes which take the formality back down a notch.

Mirko

I don’t know if we can say if it is a good suit at the basting fitting but surely when we see you wearing it, fot the very first time we cannot say that is a new suit. It looks like you are old friends and I think this is the best compliment for a tailor.

Bravo Ciardi

Dan G

Do they travel to New York by chance?

John

Ciardi over Solito?

Kel

Ciardi over Panico? (Sly smile)

Kel

Yes! Was really looking forward to this, and the upcoming Panico review!

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

You’ve mentioned the finishing of Solito on a number of posts. For those of us with less knowledge it would be great to see a post that details exactly what you’re referring to with photos. This would provide a better indication as to what level of refinement is being talked about when referencing finishing compared to your other neapolitan. I quite like the fit of your Solito Jackets over the fit of this one. Just my opinion though.

Regards,
JB

Ron

I agree, Simon.

I’m a Solito client and I like them but there’s nearly always something missed when delivered and the lining/ buttons usually come lose. All down to finishing….

Matt

Simon – will Ciardi emerge as a serious competitor to Solito?

Luigi had that segment of the market to himself for the past years. I like what Solito does but a lot of people have mentioned the work is a little sloppy and one wonders whether they might lose some clients

BespokeNYC

Lovely suit and outfit. If you wanted to go the other extreme and wear it as casually as possible, what might you pair it with?

Anonymous

Simon

Please help me with button positions. Others have commented, but the buttons look quite high up. The bottom button is higher than your pockets. Is this how it should be?
Thanks

El pogiguy

Simon do you think the jacket could stand on it’s own as an odd jacket?

Peter K

Maybe with a grey long sleeve Friday polo or a silvery-grey fine knit rollneck?

BespokeNYC

Thanks @Peter! Yes this was the kind of thing I was wondering about! Sadly I get very few opportunities to wear a suit; not because people in my office don’t wear them, but because nobody (not even the CEO) ever wears a tie. I’ve tried to slowly introduce them, but eventually I get tired of constantly being asked if I’m going for an interview!

Peter K

Yasuka Kamoshita is someone who can wear a suit without a tie successfully. His Instagram account might give you some inspiration.

Peter K

Sorry the correct name is Yasuto Kamoshita.

JBW

Off the top of my head, I can think of only three Neapolitan tailors that travel to NYC – Solito, Rubinacci, Biagio Granata. Am I missing any? Us Americans can mostly only look at such beautiful (casual) garments from afar.

Luis

Orazio Luciano goes often to The Armory

BespokeNYC

Also Formosa (via NMWA) and Napoli su Misura too

Timofey

Don’t forget grandissimo Sartoria Sabino. They travel to NY since 1928. Even they style is adoptation Napoletano to NYC guys)))

Michael

Dear Simon,
a great suit, indeed! Elegant but relaxed. How would you describe the differences to Caliendo, less in price or finishing, more in style?
BTW – It would be great to have a post comparing this one with the camps de luca one, for occasions and shirt/tie combinations.
Many thanks!

John Chong

Would you suggest Ciardi then considering they are significantly cheaper than Elia?

Mark Seitelman

The overcoat? Maker? Cloth?

Timofey

Bravo Simon. That is the really that I like.

Nick Inkster

Good to see black suede shoes getting an airing!!
Often pair mine with mid grey flannel.
Louche.

Feurich

Thank you for this interesting review. I also find that the sleeve endings need more tapering. I think, due to your anatomy, that you would look better with shoulders that are padded up or more structured. This can always be requested, even in Naples. Otherwise a fine looking suit.

Brian

Would you comment on your choice of a three button sleeve.

Donald

Nice whistle, Simon!
Question/s for you – would you ever go for a suit like this (Naples) without the patch pockets?
Also, could the colour work with dark brown leather shoes or only black?

Heinrich

Simon, which style pockets would you go for if not patch pockets (when choosing a suit with Ciardi)?

Anonymous

How about jetted?

Ty

Wow. Simon this might be your best suit yet. The shape of the garment just really works well for you; especially from the button point through the lapels and shoulders. Length looks spot on as well.

Will

Looks really clean mate, some cracking shots too! ??

David

Very good result. The drape and the proportions are very good. Great fabric choice. This 4-ply VBC is gorgeous. Any hint on the price of the stoffa? No word about the trouser?

Rabster

On a more general point would you say it’s more important to go bespoke with a soft structured suit as their is little to hide the discrepancies.

Anonymous

That is a beautiful looking suit, and a superb choice of fabric. I love Cripsapire but it is very nice to see you pick an Italian mill! Shame about the price point, at €2,800 I would have arranged an appointment but that extra €400 has done enough to make me look the other way. Pity.

Tully

I think it looks great.

I know you veer towards positive reviews, but would be helpful to hear more about Formosa and what went wrong.

Anonymous

Great suit. Can you comment on the shoulder construction? It looks like there’s a bit of “rollino” in the sleevehead in the first three pictures, but perhaps that’s the photography playing tricks on me.

Matt

At the risk of being branded a heretic and cast out into the wilderness, I must say that the jacket looks a bit tight across the stomach. There is a noticeable ‘X’ shape around the top button in all of the photographs which appears to be the result of pulling. I’m not normally uber critical about fit but this one seems a bit off to me…

Spark

Button position looks perfect to me. Tailors aren’t machines, .5 cm here .5 cm there. Who can really see that with the naked eye.

Dan

How often will he aim to come back to London – that is an important factor. Are we looking at 4m for a suit, 6m or 12m

John

Hi Simon,
This is very nice suit!
Now with this one, I really wonder whether you aren’t actually blurring the level of formality achievable with a casual suit. Due to the fabric and color of this suit and the kind of accessories displayed with it as it is the case here, to me it sits above a knockabout suit or the navy blazer even with the right accessories.
So, where does it sit in your scale of formality?
I hope you could still catch up with this belated comment!
Thanks.
John

Sam

Which tie is this

Omar Asif

I really like this tie of yours Simon, i have loads of ties but this is a gap –
looking for something similar

K K

It’s purely a matter of taste, but I think the jacket would have been better a tad longer and without the patch pockets, which to me look a little clumsy and too close to the bottom hem. The sleevehead seems to rumple up over the shoulder in the shot with your arms crossed. Also, did you change from peak to notch lapels after the baste fitting? Your rarely mention linings; what did you choose? Lovely VBC cloth btw.

Simon

Do you have any recommendation for a four/three-seasons suit (not for hot summer) cloth and weight, probably as a three-piece to cover the winter months?

Matthias Su’uch

This looks very good overall. Goes to show that “soft” tailoring can still achieve a strong, “masculine” look. At the same time, it’s comfortable (as you note). I will stop by them when in Naples, but I’ll still get a few things from Solito – their finishing isn’t the pinnacle, but I love the cut and the freedom of movement.

BespokeNYC

It does seem there’s a real gap in the market for Neapolitan tailoring with high quality finishing. I’ve had suits / jacket made by Formosa, NSM and Solito and, although the style is great for so many reasons, all leave a lot to be desired in terms of finishing. I hate to generalize like this about an entire region, but has anybody found any notable exceptions? (Even better if they visit NYC… 😀 )

Anonymous

Beautiful cloth – great choice. The cut seems good value at £2,800, there are some small issues. I understand the move toward something less formal but the crisp worsted drives the formality – the patch pockets are therefore a little superfluous. Their positioning – too low – adds to the illusion that the gorge and buttoning are thus too high. The cuff angle is not quite right – too square – it needed to be lower on the buttoning edge. As an extension the three buttons vs. four look out of place against the formal cloth and the rear vents look slightly rumpled at the top edge. Also the rhs shoulder is markedly lower than the lhs – just the photograph or the cut? The black suedes look good but are out of balance with the formal accessories; sans the accessories and tie a more informal look would have been achieved. On the upside the trousers have a clean, modern shape and look to be very well cut – as fit is a problem area for you could you comment on their finish please?

Anonymous

A question. Why do you persist with the Napoli boys? You get far better, for far less, with the Sicilians, and yet they don’t even feature in your years of writing.

Ron Master Tailors

Hey Simon!
I love this suit, very nice colour and tie is looking so good.
Which tie is this?

Anonymous

Re. trousers – sorry I wasn’t being rude – it’s just that over the years your trouser commissions have sometimes offerred a dfficult fit and have not met with your wishes. Do they fit well around waist, seat etc. – as to finish I really mean the cut and silhouette – they look good but as the images focus more on the jacket it is hard to see the overall shape. Interestingly you offer no description as to their cut though I assume they are flat front, with slanted/vertical pockets, side adjusters and 8″ width on cuff? Of what I can see the cut also offers good balance between upper and lower legs (being not too full in either), with a pleasing taper down to the shoe.

S

Simon,

How much do they charge for a jacket?

Thanks,
S

Philip Park

Hi Simon,
Hope you are well.

Really love the suit and thank you again for the very detailed review.
In the article you say that you went for this particular cloth because of its performance. Could you perhaps please clarify what 4-ply cloth means and how it entails the “performance” you mentioned above?

Many thanks

Kind regards

Philip

Jesse B

Loved this post. Recently finally got around to watching O’Mast and these photos really put a smile on my face! They seemed a sweet, dedicate family in the film, and the suit not only looks fantastic, you seem to be having a brilliant time wearing it!

In the frontal fit photo, it looks as if the left side of the jacket lays a lot cleaner than the right. There is less rippling at the sides and a cleaner sleeve–do you find that to be the case or is it just your pose?

Peter

I’m not sure if it’s my images Simon but the cloth looks to have the surface texture that would pass of as a feasible alternative to Mohair. My personal preference is for either button two or three and not the indecisive middle ground of button three roll two.
I am a little Old School about buttons and prefer Matt horn with two holes but resin does offer a wide range of useful colours.

Andrew

I may give them a try. The Neapolitan tailor I have been working with forever has suddenly gone off the rails, the last two jackets I’ve gotten have been terrible. Thus, I would add your comments about tailoring houses that smaller tailors in Naples tend to outsource work because you can throw a rock and hit a competent tailor practically anywhere in town. Unfortunately, that also means they can go from excellent to very bad in the blink of an eye.

tdang93

Hi Simon,

Are the shoes St. Crispin’s? How have you found the fit now that you have ordered, iirc, 3 pairs? I am contemplating being fitted by the guys at The Armoury for the personalized last program, but still a little on the fence about whether it can accommodate flat feet like mine.

shem

Hey Simon,
I’ll be going to osaka later this year and am thinking of getting a bespoke sports coat from Coccinella. This will be my first bespoke sports coat and will likely be going for something I can wear in the autumn/winter when I go on holidays (am from singapore so humid all the time). Given that I will be there only for 10 days and fittings may likely be limited given the duration, I’m wondering what’s your advice on getting bespoke done in such a rushed fashion?

Anonymous

The suit threads a beautiful balance between formalities.

Is the suit fully lined or half-lined (as per the Naepolitan norm)?

JPG

Hi Simon-

Would you consider this more of a “mid-grey” or a “dark-grey”? I would like to get something along these lines made up for basic business suiting by W&S and trying to decide between the mid-grey 3-ply Finmeresco 2729 and the darker grey 2728. Having a hard time visualizing how dark the darker grey will make up. Thanks Simon.

Justin

Bernie

Hi Simon,

Thank you for pointing me towards Ciardi and Dalcuore for Neapolitan cuts with a bit more fullness and curve/shape on the top. They are exactly what I was looping for – this Ciardi suit on you is stunning and manages to add masculinity and bulk to your chest in a way that is not overdone.

How would you compare the cut of Ciardi and Dalcoure? Would I be correct in saying that Ciardi has a touch more fullness in the chest and more “drape” in the back? What else would you say about them in regards to differences?

Bernie

Hi Simon,

Thank you for the advice. My tailor told me it would be better if I took a trip to Italy and commissioned an odd jacket from a Neapolitan tailor, as no one in San Francisco would be able to achieve my desired style and fit, particularly with the extra chest swell. If my budget is around $2,000 for an odd jacket, what are my options for tailors like Ciardi and Dalcoure that are perfect for us men who have small chests and want to give off an impression of a stronger one provided I am willing to make the trip?

Bernie

After further consideration, I don’t think one trip to Italy would cut it since I wouldn’t be able to take advantages of the multiple fittings with bespoke.

If I live in San Fran, would waiting for traveling Neapolitan tailors to come either to SF, LA, and NY be better? As long as the traveling tailor is Neapolitan, I can always have them try to cut more like Ciardi & Dalcuore with more chest fullness, right?

I just recently became interested in bespoke ever since reading your website, but I never realized how challenging it was to commission bespoke in the US, especially SF…

Bernie

Even for New York, Neapolitan tailor visits are maybe once a year so I’m looking at a several year horizon.

I know you probably don’t recommend having a bespoke tailor cut a Neapolitan jacket if they don’t specialize in it but it seems I have little choice. What to do…

RoccoGranata

Simon, this suit is absolutely amazing. And with 2800 € it is cheaper than some single Jackets……..!!

TOS

Simon,
Having digested your articles for about two years now, I’ve just returned from my first meeting with Enzo for my very first suit commission. Wasn’t totally sure what to expect but had a friendly, efficient encounter and I’m ending up with a sensible blue in the cloth you’ve outlined above. Can’t wait!
I’ve found your ability to analyse and articulate stylistic concepts invaluable – thank you.
Best wishes.

Luis

Hi Simon,

Given the casualness of this suit, would you ever consider wearing it without a tie?

Still on the topic of casual suits, I think I remember you were having a navy seersucker suit made — do you plan on reviewing it here?

Thank you and once again congratulations on your fantastic work.
Best,
Luis

Anonymous

Simon

Would you wear such a suit style to a wedding? Or would you go with a more formal English style?

Hugh

Not for a wedding, but W&S is making me a suit in this cloth – should hopefully tick the boxes

anon

This is off-topic, but I notice (and believe you’ve written) about wearing your tan leather watchstrap with black shoes, reasoning that lighter browns are a reasonable match for black shoes. Do you also wear your tan-strapped Reverso watch with brown shoes? Am I being overly picky here?

Rupesh

Hi Simon,

I have seen you have reviewed bespoke suits from various Neopolitan tailors and it is always interesting to learn the different styles. However, I know you may not favour MTM but do any of the Neopolitan tailors (Ciardi, Elia, Dalcuore, Solito) you cover offer MTM as the price point for Bespoke can be unattainable for some and hence would opt for a MTM to achieve a better fit. I know you have mentioned before on certain tailors based in Naples offer bespoke level work MTM. Any recommendations?

Serdal

Hi Simon.
Is the extra fabric on your back next to the sleeves for movement and comfort or can that be considered as sligthly unclean back?
Best Regards
Serdal

Dave

Hi Simon – thank you for this post about a beautiful suit.

I’m looking at what I believe to be this fabric in the Drapers Ascot book at the moment. The subtle texture looks great and will certainly be crease resistant as a travel suit. I’m interested to hear how it wears in terms of temperature being an open weave but also quite heavy. Have you worn it in any hot weather? Do you have any comments about that?

Scott

Of all the Italian tailors, maybe all tailors, that you’ve commissioned and written about this Ciardi suit looks the best on you in my opinion. It really is outstanding in every aspect from fit to fabric.

Anonymous

Would a more suppressed back or more waist suppression help remove the few wrinkles on the back?

Anonymous

By lifting up you mean more padding at the end of the shoulder, or?

Is it due to your sloping shoulders?

Peter

Dear Simon,
Do you find that some cloths are more suitable for Neapolitan tailoring than others? Does Finmeresco suit this Neapolitan style more than British? What about heavy cloths of 16oz +?
Best,
Peter

Flo

Hi Simon. I would like to buy a neapolitan suit. I really dig the Ciardi style except for the closed quarters. Love the shoulders, straight broad lapel and low buttoning point. Could I ask them to cut the quarters more open or would it be easier for Dalcuore to lower his buttoning point, if i would buy from him? I am 170 cm tall and got broad shoulders. My body shape looks a bit like a square. That’s why i would like to commission a suit, which makes me look slimmer and taller. If those changes I asked before are a bad idea, do you know a tailor who does a jacket with natural shoulders, straight lapels, low buttoning point and open quarters? An answer would be really helpful.

Thanks,
Flo

Jonathan Farley

Great suit Simon. Love the cloth. The high gorge looks good. Not sure about a lapel that wide on your frame but it does look very distinctive. Your right shoulder drops considerably more than the left. On a bespoke piece I would have padded the right side more to give more symmetry. Not having a go, just my two pence worth – it is a class suit.
Jonathan

Claes

Would it it be silly for somebody living in an nordic country to use this kind of fabric for a 4-season suit? Using high twist wool when it’s below freezing three months of the year, perhaps isn’t a great idea? Or is the weight countering the twist? I really like the matteness and sharpness of it.

Best regards

Claes

Thank you for the reply, very kind.

I might use it anyhow (the fabric just looks too lovely), and call it a 7-month suit. And then use my location as an excuse for something else, très flannely for the other five.

Best
Claes