Video: In conversation with Lorenzo

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Friday, June 1st 2018
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As promised a while back, here is some video coverage of the talk Lorenzo Cifonelli and I gave at Attire House in Hong Kong last month.

We cover a pretty broad range of topics, from how annoyed Lorenzo looks when he's doing fittings, to the various parameters you could rate a suit on.

I hope some good info comes through the waffle.

I am wearing my Dalcuore brown Crispaire suit, with a white D'Avino shirt, Rubinacci handkerchief and Hermes tie. Lorenzo is, of course, wearing Cifonelli

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Malcolm

Hi Simon

Now this is going to sound contraversional, but for me this is where you really hit your sweet spot. Fascinating, knowledgeable insights across a breadth of tailoring styles and their history. You’re personal experiences of bespoke brought to life and then enhanced by Lorenzo make this a great piece to watch.

Sadly, my own view is that it gets more flakey which you do your pieces on style advice, partly because I don’t think a lot of what you say makes sense to people who know anything about dressing with style (eg don’t wear linen top and bottom),and partly because a lot of the outfits you wear look, honestly, a bit odd (eg a grown man wearing sneakers with shorts).

It leads to me being, on some days, fascinated by what you write and, on others, almost laughing at it.

Please don’t think me harsh, but it’s how I feel about PS.

Nick Inkster

Hi Simon

Really enjoyed the clip.

It’s right to emphasise the fact that style is always going to be personal and subjective. Lots of people will work hard to look as though they are sitting on a yacht in a Polo RL ad., or about to pilot a bi-plane, but ultimately there are no rules when it comes to casual except to wear what feels right for you.

David

Great video.
Having ploughed this furrow for many years one thing that I feel very strongly is that men should really ensure that they choose a tailor whose house style suits their body shape.
It all begins and ends with that.
There are tailors that I’ve lusted after for years because their work looks good on men 6’ tall, who run around in the shower to get wet and who have the posture of Nijinsky.
Unfortunately that is not me and the start point to sartorial happiness is recognising that.

Dan G

Hard to see how wearing sneakers with shorts is laughable?? But in any event…

Anonymous

I was a bit baffled by the shorts with trainers comment too. Personally, I don’t see what’s wrong with wearing trainers and shorts.

Orson

Hi Malcolm!

I didn’t really get your comment. Did you find it odd that he’s wearing sneakers and shorts? If that is what you mean, it could, for my money, be one of the more conservative comments I’ve read in a while. When you refer to yourself as someone who knows anything about dressing in style, it seems as though you mean, “someone who knows anything about a style”. Style has nothing to do with wearing just a certain variety of shoes to shorts. Sadly, my own view is that it gets flakey when self appointed style commentors try to dictate terms.

I don’t always agree with Simon; perhaps I more often disagree with him. That’s not a case of me knowing more than him. I just appreciate other expressions of style.

You don’t write “Please don’t think me harsh”, when you just said your laughing at someone…

Adam jones

Like everything it is about what sneakers / trainers with what shorts.There is absolutely nothing wrong with sneakers and shorts. Walking around a town on holiday all day in a hot country can get very uncomfortable in even the lightest of loafers. If Simon was wearing the latest monstrosity from balenciaga or alikeI may agree but a grown up, sensible sneaker is a perfect, regardless of age.

Malcolm

Hi Orson

My point exactly about self appointed style consultants. Thanks for amplifying my thoughts!!

Ben

“I don’t think a lot of what you say makes sense to people who know anything about dressing with style”

Ignorant, arrogant, malignant: the hat-trick of internet trolling. You talk of style as if there’s a science of the stuff out of which springs knowledge to which you’ve privileged access, and you dismiss the entirety of a work of which you, in citing examples from the two most recent posts, have demonstrated little familiarity.

It’s ridicule, not controversy, that you’re stirring.

Matthew V

I think the dislike of sneakers with shorts on grown men, is perhaps an increasing less popular opinion. I agree everyone should review what they wear to avoid mid life crisis dressing, but in very warm weather and especially on holiday I think shorts and sneakers (or loafers, Birkenstocks etc) is sometimes the only practical option, certainly during the day. Are we all getting less adept at dealing with heat? Maybe the world is getting warmer? I am 50 by the way. I am pushing my mid life crisis in other directions quote successfully (according to my wife!)

I like the shorts / shirt look (and I have taken the plunge with the PS Shorts already).

Keep up the good work Simon.

Oskar

A question came to mind when viewing this interesting conversation – say, and this in itself is hypothetical after ten years that you’ve been doing just that, you found you really “needed” a certain piece of tailoring to fill a real hole in your wardrobe. Something like your favourite mid-grey flannel just worn out beyond repair. Would you rather take this as an opportunity to “explore” someone completely new and go through this whole joyful process as you described, or would you play it safe and just call up your Number 1 favourite tailor and simply order another mid-grey flannel knowing that it will turn out perfect. I guess the first route would be a bit more explorational but with the risk of perhaps not nailing it in the first order, whereas the second route is tried and tested but foregoing some of the excitement. All of this is probably much more relevant for the occasional penny-counting bespoke customer than for yourself, but I hope you understand the idea. Thanks!

hugh

My two favorite bits from this:

{regarding discussions over regional style distinctions} “Do you think it matters?” – I just love that question, especially since it is something vicarious readers just beginning the process or with less access to tailors face

and your ending line – “I have several ready-to-wear shoes, and I have no ready-to-wear tailoring, which says something”

Great video; loved hearing both your and LC’s thoughts.

Scott

Simon, love the brown suit look! The simple,but effective combination of dark suit,white shirt and understated tie is fantastic. On the matter of grown men wearing shorts Tom Ford has a very clear view that I subscribe to. He says that shorts are completely appropriate for men at the resort,tennis court, or gym, but never in town or the city. Men can wear linen blend, linen or cotton pants and stay comfortable in warm weather. I’ve adopted this approach and found it very useful.

David

I really can’t see why shorts are such an issue, let alone the shorts and sneakers combination mentioned in the comments above. Of course they’re very casual but at the height of summer they’re a perfectly acceptable option as far as I’m concerned. I’ll wear shorts any day rather than the kind of ridiculous outfits and accessories sported by Tom Ford and the likes, and shorts will always be more appropriate and conservative than those. It seems more and more commenters here are desperately trying to sound more refined/knowledgeable than Simon.

Malcolm

David not sure what you mean by “desperately trying to sound more refined/knowledgeable than Simon”. Could you not accept that there might be some who are? Or who at least have well developed opinions? Or who have sufficient experience to be able to see both sides?

Don

RE: “A grown man wearing sneakers with shorts”. I’ll take the opposite tack here, Simon, and say that the great thing about your site is that you have a common sense attitude towards dressing. Yours is one of the few style blogs I bother with anymore as too many of the others have a stuffy old school haughtiness I find off-putting. I like nice clothes and love wearing my Cucinelli suits , but I also believe that weather, geography, context and situation (that is to say, being comfortable in not only how your clothes fit but how they fit in with making OTHERS comfortable ) should be the guide to everyday dressing. Living as I do on a small island in the Pacific Northwest, wearing a sport coat with a t-shirt and jeans to the local pub will get you good natured ribbing about being “dressed up”. And we live for those summer days when we can actually wear shorts! (I already ordered the navy, debating about the green).

Robin

This is very very good .

The sound isn’t clear in places.

What is said about RTW and bespoke in response to the question from “the gentleman with the odd shape “?

On a more general point when is it better to go with MTM rather then bespoke ?
I ask because some Tailors outside of London are offering MTM dressed up as bespoke .

Robert

Surely it’s boils down to money? If you can afford bespoke, go with bespoke. If all you can afford is made-to-measure, go with it. If all you can afford is ready-to-wear, go with that, and wear it with pride.

It is safer to go with MTM (or indeed, RTW) for items that are easier to alter, such as trousers or shirts. Jackets and coats are more difficult to alter.

Dressing well is not a religion. It’s hard practical reality, made of penny-pinching and budgets.

On the difference between MTMT and bespoke, I have to say I disagree with the general consensus. If your tailor measures you up and cuts your suit from a common block, and then you have three or four iterative fittings until you’re both happy, isn’t that bespoke?

Robert

I think we’re talking at cross purposes. How do you define MTM? Are you thinking of big names with large sales volumes? Because I can think of many independent tailors who cut suits from a common block, but have multiple fittings in which they adjust the fit, including putting larger sleeveheads into small armholes. And they will let the client decide the details like fabric, lining, buttons, suit, shirt and trouser features, etc. In my book, it makes them bespoke.

I like to keep things simple. I define MTM as being measured up, then taking delivery of your finished item. Anything involving multiple fittings and alterations makes it bespoke.

I don’t think this subdivision into finer categories (with acronyms, in true 21st century fashion – RTW, MTO,MTM, etc.) is very helpful.

Now, on choosing one over the other, the rule of thumb is the fewer the layers, the easier the alteration. Which makes it safer to choose MTM or RTW. An unlined blazer, for instance, is easier to alter than a fully canvassed jacket.

If you’re on a tight budget, what you’re looking for is the right fit. The rest is just a bonus. I think Alan Flusser said as much, only he does it with a lot more self-assured panache than me.

Those of us on an average income (i.e. below the 70th percentile – I know we like to quibble over details on this website) who buy a RTW unlined blazer that fits in the chest, and have access to a reasonably priced alterations tailor, can get it altered to near-MTM quality. You may not look like a sartorial god, but you can make up for it with your working class dignity and a gentlemanly bearing. Sour grapes and all that, but what else can you do?

For some items, such as socks, underwear, ties, pocket squares, watches and such, bespoke is best left to billionaires with money to burn.

Let’s not get started on shoes or we’ll have another flame war.

Robin

Personally I think MTM is a block that is altered whilst Bespoke is your own block.
As to how it’s made etc …. I wouldn’t care as long as the fit is really good (which bespoke with its own pattern would and should be ).

Even things like working cuff buttons, hand stitched button holes shouldn’t really matter . After all do they affect fit ?

Anonymous

Look at SRBA for a simple definition of bespoke.

David

It is important that Malcolm be allowed to express their his opinion.
The strength of this great site is that it is a one man show and Simon has developed huge expertise in evaluating luxury.
This has allowed him to bring some great developments. The PS tote, the PS Neck Square, the fabulous Trench Coat and the amazing Friday Polo to name but four. In addition Simon has also introduced some great artisans and brands and has evaluated more tailors than you can shake a stick at. All to the benefit of sartorial man.
This strength however is also the sites weakness. It is the view of one man and none of us are perfect. There have also been some mega faux pas, the RL tomahawk throwers cardigan, the schoolboy duffel coat, the bangles and plimsolls to name but four.
It is therefore important that we have custodians of style like Malcolm who are prepared to step forward and remind Simon that tennis shoes belong on the tennis court and have no place on a flanneur’s feet.
Standards have to be maintained otherwise we’ll have people turning up for dinner in shorts !
‘Permanent Style Forever, Low Standards Never ‘ should be our mantra going forward.

KR

How can you say you value freedom of expression if you routinely censor comments?

SJ

Hi Simon,

Who is best placed to make a safari jacket out of heavy winter cloth. I am based in the US and both Lorenzo and Berluti could be options. The French seem to have the best combination of Italian detailing and British dependability. I have experience with Camps but that would require a trip to Paris which I am not sure is in the cards just now.

Thanks – and appreciate your thoughts.

SJ

Fair enough

Appreciate your thoughts

Given the fabric weight (950gms), have a feeling a typical shirtmaker may struggle with using this particular fabric

Had seen a few garments like this from Lorenzo online and as you intuited the styling wasn’t to my taste – but figured we could work on that

Anonymous

For SJ…a heavy safari jacket is in fact a field jacket (both traditional items of military wear). If you are thinking of getting it tailored suggest you find a field jacket correct in fit and style and model the finished article on that – internet browsing will also assist. Simon, I think Malcolm and David both make fair points though, as usual, you deal with them most reasonably. The key is that style is and should be a personal thing. The most stylish of men learnt the rules then adapted them through their own creative expression. You also do this but as it is personal items may not appeal to all. Fashion, of course, may set trends but is never personal in its expression – quite the reverse. This may be of interest…I spent some time in Australia and NZ and in the 70s and 80s it was quite normal for male office workers to wear smart shorts (lightweight wool or synthetic) with long socks and dress shoes plus short sleeved shirt and tie in an attempt to remain smart but deal with 30°C + heat (pre air-con era). Shorts with trainers/plimsoles is not much of a leap by comparison. There is also an unwritten rule that tourists, particularly in European cities, are not held to the same sartorial standards as locals. Shorts, irregardless of Tom Ford, even in central London, are OK on hot days if on holiday.

Robert

Shorts are most definitely not OK in central London. If by OK you mean not illegal, why of course, then all clothing is, short of exposing oneself. But this is a website on sartorialism, for heaven’s sake.

Anonymous

I’m quite surprised by all the comments around shorts. If it’s scorching hot outside and you’re not going to a formal event, I see no issue with wearing shorts in a city. Ultimately, clothes have to be comfortable….

David

From my perspective the issue is not about shorts.
Wearing shorts on the beach, dog walk etc.. in hot weather is normal and the PS developments are great albeit I won’t be participating because I’ve a couple of pairs of incotex that serve that purpose just fine.
That said shorts in town, unless it’s a resort, is not something I would countenance and wearing them for dinner – even at home – is not for me. Then again we always change for dinner and that seems to be another great practice that is biting the dust in some quarters.
The real issue here is about those awful plimsolls that you keep pushing. They just ruin everything and should only be worn with sports attire when exercising.
Surely a man who puts so much effort into how he looks should understand this otherwise we’d all be wearing Chelsea boots on the tennis court.
Shorts should be worn with loafers or with walking boots when in the hills. Anything else risks to make us look like one of those rapper characters or the amusing guitarist in AC:DC

Bolaji

Nobody can part me from my shorts …
and sneakers.

Anonymous

Robert, you have misunderstood the point. I am not proposing that shorts should be worn anywhere (I only wear them at the beach or for sport). The proposition is simply that, in general, tourists, anywhere, get a free pass when it comes to matters sartorial. It’s all part of being hospitable. The rule also applies to teenagers. If you are the same Robert espousing views on MTM the rule is simple; if the pattern is unique and cut, by a trained cutter, not just to measurement but also to correct any indiosyncrasies of shape (stoop, sloping shoulder, one arm longer than the other….) it is bespoke. If cut off a generic block pattern with proportional changes made according to size (now often aided by software) it is MTM. A trained eye will spot the difference. Number of fittings are unimportant – I have fittings for alterations but they hardly count as bespoke. Furthermore, despite the musings of HM legal system and some MTM businesses, I don’t think any house on the row would disagree with the definition, certainly not those I have spoken to. Given that SR originated and developed the suit I defer to them.

Harry of Monmouth

Point of information !
Are sneakers – to those of us UK resident, plimsols (and for our Welsh friends “daps”)
yours in hood/bonnett mode

SB

Simon,

I found insightful your comment about owning ready to wear shoes while owning no RTW jackets.

Is it that feet are generally simpler for RTW manufacturers to accommodate compared to the body? I realise that you also mentioned price, however a MTM jacket is often substantially less-expensive than its RTW equivalent.

Regards<

SB