Anderson & Sheppard two-button jacket: Style Breakdown

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This is the third in our Finest Tailors series breaking down the styles of the world’s finest tailors. Following on from Richard Anderson and Henry Poole, we now turn to Anderson & Sheppard.

Now, Anderson & Sheppard is justly famous as the biggest house that follows the ‘drape’ style of cutting, which uses a touch more material in the chest and back of a jacket, to give the impression of a bigger upper body.

However, less noted are the other aspects of the cut: an extended shoulder, a relatively low buttoning point, a suppressed waist and relatively open quarters, all of which contribute just as much to the overall flattering effect as that drape.

[For guidance on some of these terms, see the introduction to the series here. And by the way, for a nice introduction to Savile Row, see a recent article I wrote for Fashion Beans here.]

By comparing the cut of this jacket to the others so far, from Richard and from Henry Poole, you can see what substantial differences in cut there can be even within a very similar tailoring tradition.

House: Anderson & Sheppard

Address: 32 Old Burlington Street, London

Site: www.anderson-sheppard.co.uk

Cutter: John Hitchcock

Price of jacket and trousers (at time of writing): £4778 (incl VAT; same as suit starting price)

 

This jacket, in a sugar-bag blue 110z W Bill linen, was cut for me by John Hitchcock in 2013, before he retired.

John made me several jackets and suits, all of which I love. I found I particularly liked the double-breasted style, but I'm showing a single-breasted here to make comparison with the other jackets easier. I also found I preferred the two-button style to a three-roll-two from A&S.

The only consistent issue with the pieces from John was that he pushed for slightly longer sleeves, some of which I have had shortened since.

This jacket had to be shortened from the cuff, as the linen had faded and would be marked around the sleeve. This means the buttons are now a little closer to the end of the sleeve than normal.

As it was a casual jacket, I also decided to have patch pockets rather than flaps. This has worked out well except for the breast pocket, which in retrospect would have looked better as a plain welt.

I only have patch breast pockets now on the occasional Neapolitan jacket, where the patch is very small and rounded.

Now to the cut. The shoulder width on this jacket is 7 inches, a little more than the Henry Poole and a full inch more than the Richard Anderson tux.

The lapel is broad at 3¾ inches, and cut straight with a high gorge (all figures listed at the end of the post). All of these things make the shoulders appear wider.

Running down the jacket, the waist is cut quite close and the buttoning point low relative to the jacket length - 20 inches on a 31¼ inch jacket.

And then the quarters (below that buttoning point) are noticeably open. This isn’t something we’ve measured, but a comparison to the tuxedo makes it obvious.

All those things combine to give this Anderson & Sheppard cut a much more dramatic look, broadening the shoulders and narrowing the waist.

In the side profile below, you can also see how closely the jacket is cut into the small of my back, increasing that impression.

The side view also highlights the line of the sleeve, which is noticeably wider at the top than the other two suits, although narrowing to something around average, at 11½ inches.

I’m a big fan these days of a bigger sleeve. It looks stronger and more masculine, as well as making the jacket more comfortable when combined with a small armhole.

The only downside is it can look a little messy, particularly in a material that is apt to wrinkle, like linen.

(Which, before anyone jumps in to comment, is why the line of the sleeve looks a little rumpled in the front-end view.)

On the subject of comfort, I should highlight that I've found A&S suits to be the most comfortable of all the ones I’ve had on Savile Row - a combination of the drape, small armhole, soft shoulder and big sleeve.

A&S also uses a slightly backward-leaning shoulder seam, and cuts its chest canvas on the bias (45 degrees) which can help with the movement and stretch.

Interestingly, Ciardi in Naples also cuts its canvas in this way. The only downside, apart from being fiddly to do, is that it can be harder to make the bottom half of the jacket sit cleanly.

A last technical point is that A&S is one of a few houses that build their own shoulder pads. That applies to the sleevehead too - which here is a piece of wadding folded inside demette (the felt layer used in the chest to sit on top of spiky horsehair).

Elsewhere in the cut, this jacket has quite a deep collar (1¾ inches) which suits the length of my neck, but perhaps emphasises sloping shoulders.

I’ve always found the attitude to sloping shoulders interesting. Most tailors instinctively want to mitigate them by adding more padding, but if anything I prefer the sloping look.

I don’t think higher shoulders are that flattering - they don’t make me look bigger or stronger - and a sloping line makes the overall look more relaxed and less stiff, which is usually a good thing in tailoring.

Inside the jacket, the lining is attached to the facing by machine, and the in-breast pockets are cut straight into the lining.

This is the same as the Henry Poole suit. Both are ways to save time and money, and generally Poole and A&S are cheaper than the other Row tailors. The only functional difference really is that those internal pockets are not as strong.

Overall, I think this jacket is a good illustration of why the A&S cut can be so flattering (and is even more so in a DB jacket).  

Accessories from the Anderson & Sheppard haberdashery: playing with more colour again, with a bright blue silk alongside the blue of the jacket. The white cotton handkerchief is edged in pink.

Shoes from Edward Green (the other sponsor of this series) are Piccadillys in dark-oak antique calf.

The trousers are in mid-grey Fresco high-twist wool.

Style breakdown

  • Shoulder width: 7 inches
  • Shoulder padding: Moderate
  • Sleevehead: No roping, roll of just wadding and demette
  • Sleeve: Large, standard cuff
  • Lapel: 3¾ inches, straight
  • Gorge height: 3 inches
  • Drape: Large
  • Outbreast pocket height: 10½ inches (shoulder seam to bottom of pocket welt)
  • Buttoning point: Low, 20 inches from neck point
  • Waist suppression: Slim
  • Quarters: Open
  • Length: 31¼  inches
  • Back seam: Suppressed
  • Vent height: 9½ inches
  • Trouser width at knee: 10¼ inches
  • Trouser width at cuff: 8½  inches

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man