Richard Anderson tuxedo: Style breakdown

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This is the first in a series of articles looking back at suits I have had made by the world’s major tailors, and examining their style through a consistent set of parameters and images. For background and context, see the introduction here.

House: Richard Anderson

Address: 13 Savile Row, London

Site: www.richardandersonltd.com

Cutter: Richard Anderson

Price (at time of writing): £7860 (incl VAT)

Suit starting price: £5904 (incl VAT)

 

Richard Anderson cut me this three-piece, peak-lapel tuxedo in 2014. I really enjoyed talking with Richard, and particularly Brian [Lishak] about the style aspects of the tux.

Although Richard’s output is always expanding, the atmosphere at 13 Savile Row remains cosy, with everything under Richard’s watchful eye.

It is more similar in some ways to the Italian houses that are organised around a single master cutter, than to the other houses on the Row.

For my tux I opted for a mohair/wool cloth, tempted by the sharpness of the mohair, and in black rather than the now more fashionable midnight blue.

I don’t regret the black, and the mohair has remained crisp, but in retrospect I think I might have enjoyed a pure wool more. Mohair doesn’t have the same drape or age as nicely.  

Richard, of course, was at Huntsman for a long time, at the end as head cutter, and his style is similar to their classic cut.

Compared to other English tailors, the style is perhaps best described as understated: straight up-and-down, without any exaggerated lines or sharp cutaways.

The shoulder, for example, is relatively narrow, finishing before the outer edge of the deltoid muscle.

The lapel is relatively narrow for a peak, at 3½ inches, and that peak fairly small. The gorge sits almost 5 inches from the shoulder seam, which average for Savile Row, but low by the standards of many contemporary suits.

The quarters (below the waist button) are quite closed, and the hips cut neat.

So Richard’s style is quite modest in that where another tailor might use some combination of extended shoulders, wide lapel and open quarters to create more of an ‘X’ shape across the body, he does not.

[For an illustration of the different parts of the jacket, and their tailoring terms, see the introduction to this series here.]

The jacket’s shoulder has a moderate-sized pad (for an English tailor) and finishes quite naturally at the sleevehead, running smoothly into the sleeve and down the arm.

Some tailors would try to create an impression of width here by using sleevehead roll (padding and often canvas) to lift up the top of the sleeve.

The jacket is quite long (one of the longest I have, at 32¼ inches) which is consistent with the Huntsman style.

The buttoning point is quite low on the body, but normal in proportion to that length.

Interestingly, the jacket has a little drape in the chest, although nothing approaching the tailors known for such drape, such as Anderson & Sheppard.

The lapel is cut quite straight, with a little ‘round’ towards the top. (Generally, ‘belly’ is used to refer to a fuller shape at the bottom of the lapel, ‘round’ to shape at the top.)

Both these things could be used to give an impression of fullness or roundness to the chest.

Elsewhere, not too much shape has been put through the back of the jacket.

I have quite a hollow lower back, and tailors vary as to how far they want to highlight it. Richard kept it relatively hidden, with the back seam quite straight.

The sleeve width is pretty standard, though the cuff is relatively narrow (11 inches). And the vent is a touch shorter than average (10 inches).

In terms of make, the buttonholes are slim and neat - fairly standard for good West End suits - and the grosgrain facing (on the lapels) has been put on by hand.

The work inside is also good and standard for the Row. Lining attached to the facings by hand, side seams in the lining by hand, centre seam by machine.

In the chest there will be a layer of body canvas running the length of the body, a layer of horsehair just at the top, and then demette over the top of that.

Jackets generally have two darts or cuts on either side at the front, to help create shape through the waist.

Which of those they are, however, and which one (or neither) extends below the pocket to the bottom edge, varies considerably between tailors.

Richard’s jacket has a front cut that runs all the way to the bottom (above - the line running through the pocket), and a dart behind it that runs from the armhole to the pocket.

This is a little unusual for Savile Row tailors, who are more likely to have a dart or cut at the front that ends at the pocket, and a cut behind that that runs all the way to the bottom edge (creating a ‘side body’ between that cut and the side seam).

As mentioned in the introduction to this series, I won’t comment on the style of the waistcoat (as there are hardly any to compare it to among my suits) and only mention the measurements of the trousers in the list below.

Overall, I’ve been pleased with how my tux has worn.

The only question mark for me is whether a more dramatic style might be more suited to evening wear.

That is very much a matter of taste, however, and others might see this modest, understated style as perfect for something that - at heart - is meant to be elegant and simple: an accompaniment to any female companion, rather than a rival for attention.

Style breakdown

  • Shoulder width: 6 inches
  • Shoulder padding: Moderate
  • Sleevehead: Natural, no sleevehead roll
  • Sleeve: Moderate, narrow cuff
  • Lapel: 3½ inches, straight
  • Gorge height: 4¾  inches
  • Drape: Small
  • Outbreast pocket height: 10 inches (shoulder seam to bottom of pocket welt)
  • Buttoning point: Low, 20 inches from neck point
  • Waist suppression: Moderate
  • Quarters: Relatively closed, straight
  • Length: 32¼ inches
  • Back seam: Quite straight
  • Vent height: 10 inches
  • Trouser width at knee: 9¾ inches
  • Trouser width at cuff: 8¼  inches

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

Worn elsewhere:

  • Grosgrain bow tie and linen pocket square: Anderson & Sheppard
  • Black toe-cap oxford shoes: 'Chelsea' from Edward Green
  • Bespoke white silk shirt: D'Avino