Olive-green corduroy suit – from Ettore de Cesare

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You know when you think you’re not part of a trend, and then see everyone wearing the same thing? As a clothing snob that likes to think he’s different to everyone else, it’s very annoying.

I had admired Michael Hill’s green-corduroy suit - and more importantly perhaps, the way he wore it - for several years.

So 18 months ago, while in Naples seeing Ettore de Cesare, I asked him to make me one.

I had been extremely impressed by the first jacket Ettore made for me (a navy hopsack) but a couple of the style things weren’t right, most obviously the length.

My fault, probably, but in the interests of this site I do like to see what a tailor will do as their default style, before trying to change it too much.

Then as soon as I received the suit, two months ago, I began to see green corduroy everywhere.

Trunk with De Bonne Facture has pieces in it; Drake’s with Capalbio has a collab jacket in it. It doesn’t help that corduroy itself is having a bit of a fashion moment, and this dark green is one of the three or four colours you’d make tailoring in.

Never mind. I was confident I hadn’t opted for cord out of a desire to be fashionable.

After all, I’d admired Mike’s for years, and the honey-coloured cord suits I have from Pirozzi in Naples and Anderson & Sheppard have been consistently worn and loved.

In fact that A&S one is six-years-old now - and the subject of one of my favourite photos from Pitti back in 2013, with Luca Rubinacci, eating a dripping, nut-encrusted ice cream.

I have also found corduroy to be very versatile in that time - as the best example of what I called a ‘three-way’ suit.

Such a suit, which can be worn as a separate jacket, separate trousers or all together, usually works best in casual materials, and cord is the best.

This green can certainly work in that regard. Indeed, I’ve already set aside some more to make a second pair of trousers.

The fit from Ettore was very good again. Unpadded shoulders that nonetheless sit very cleanly all the way along their length.

Nice suppression through the waist, with just a little extra room for corduroy (given it has no natural stretch). And the jacket 3cm longer than my first one.

The only thing I might change is having a slightly wider sleeve.

I’ve never quite understood why guys think a skinny sleeve looks more flattering or manly than a large one. It’s not going to make you look thin if you’re fat, or muscly if you’re skinny.

The slimness with my sleeve is marginal, however, and it does have the happy but unintended effect of adding extra wrinkles to the elbows.

This is what you want with corduroy. It looks best as it ages.

The cloth is 501281 from Scabal, 380g or 13.5oz in weight.

That’s relatively heavy for cord, but it doesn’t feel heavy at all. Certainly fine for everything but high summer in England.

The colour was the crucial thing though - that deep, muted olive-green. I looked through lots of other bunches trying to find tit in the right wale and without stretch.

The only other candidate I found was Dark Olive 304 from the T1 bunch at Brisbane Moss. But I marginally preferred to the colour of the Scabal.

I’ll wear this cord suit mostly with other matte, casual materials.

So suede shoes, knitted ties, button-down shirts. The refined geography teacher - elevated by the cut of the suit, the waist of the shoe and so on.

Here it is worn with my button-down shirt in the Lighter Denim fabric, a knitted-wool tie from Hermes that I like for its slightly unusual knit pattern, and a burnt-orange silk handkerchief from Ralph Lauren.

A grey tie here is quiet, and makes a nice supporting partner for stronger colours, like that orange. A navy tie looks great too, but is stronger and doesn't provide the same support.

The burgundy socks from Bresciani I also find are a nice compliment to the green, although overall perhaps there is then a little too much colour going on.

Maybe green socks would have been better, unless I lost the handkerchief.

The suit bag is from Rubinacci and the umbrella Michel Heurtault.

The shoes are from Philippe Atienza in Paris - his new bespoke-made ready-to-wear line.

Given I don’t go to Paris often, this was a nice way to try Philippe’s shoes, and the fit is very good apart from a little too much fullness across the vamp.

I like the elongated, round-toed last. It has a definite French pointiness to it, but less pronounced than Berluti or Corthay.

The brass aglets on the end of the laces are made by Philippe himself, in a vintage machine he has in the atelier. More on that collection of machinery here.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson

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Robin

A very nice colour .
On the subject of colour how long does it take you to pick a colour (how long flicking thru the books ) and what sort of method do you follow ?

Andy

what do you think of dark brown as a colour from brisbane moss for a corduroy suit?

curious to see why you picked olive over dark brown?

which is more versatile?

Chancellor

Any other colours you would recommend for corduroy, aside from olive-green, mustard, and brown?

Anonymous

A few comments;

Really good look overall, and especially the length which seems to suit you so much better than many of the jackets you feature. I don’t hold with the view of “this is how they make them in X or Y”. It’s either the right length for your body or it isn’t. This one is.

I’m surprised by your comment that corduroy doesn’t have much stretch; its got far more than worsted wool or cotton.

Could we have an idea of the price please?

Thanks

Gonzague

– is it worth having a bespoke suit made of corduroy as it is not meant to be that hard wearing and it is not a material tailors can play much with (such as heavy ironing, stretching parts of the suits,…), is it?
– a nice piece though, the sleeve head seems roped, which I like for a casual suit (rather sharp casual) but did not expect from a Neapolitan tailor.

Matt S

Narrow sleeves are very popular right now, following the narrow everything trend. But they cause so many fit issues yet cannot be rectified on a completed suit. Is there an opportunity during the first fitting to make the sleeves wider?

JKC

I commissioned a green cord suit back in 2013 (I submitted it for the hunstman dinner, Simon), reading the opening paragraph was like you were live typing my thoughts, Simon. Oh dear! The secret is out.
I suppose it’s reassuring to see you write a post about a look one considers a personal favourite!

John

Hi Simon,
This is a lovely suit! As to the fabric, I presume you have seen the Hardy Minnis needlecord too. Why weren’t you interested in that fabric for this suit? A little bit eavier, perhaps?
John

P

Simon – you mention that the jacket can be worn separate. What color and material of trousers would you pair this jacket with?

Dan

The shoulders seem to have quite a bit of roping for what is meant to be a casual suit. Looks good but wondering what your thinking was on that style point?

Christopher

Great suit in fantastic colour! I own a three piece corduroy suit in navy, but the green is more flamboyant! I have already asked my Bangkok tailor if she is able to get that cloth…

GONZAGUE

The quarters seem very closed. While it nicely echoes the shape of the pockets, isn’t it too formal a choice vs the rest of the cut and the casual function of this suit? A moderate X shape would have been nice.

Peter O

Dear Simon,

Excellent experiment which is beautiful! Your sense of color is superb.

Regarding the trend – don’t you think you yourself are responsible for the trend? You focus energy and it is picked up.

What don’t you like about cuffless corduroy suit trousers here?

Since you suggested corduroy as l cloth for my worn-out RTL N&L covert coat pocket lining, I’ve been thinking how I can order a small amount somewhere to give my Swiss seamstress. Obviously a corduroy suit worn by a careful guy like you if it has at least half or full lining would be silk or viscose, correct?

Chancellor

Interesting you went with fully lined, as I understand that half-lined is your default. Why did you want full lining here?

Chancellor

Thanks. And sorry, I was confused–I thought your fully lined comment was still about your trousers, but the question was clearly towards your jacket. It makes much more sense you’d want this jacket fully lined.

Simon

Hi Simon,
On the cuffs point, would you ever wear these trousers with anything but a smart pair of shoes – your CP sneakers for example. I have bought some cords and would like wear them with both shoes and sneakers, but the concern is that if I have them altered with a cuff, that it will look odd with sneakers. Thanks
Simon

RM

Is there any house styles, or particular tailors, you could supply who would be happy (and competent) to produce an unpadded shoulder with a roped sleeve head?

RM

Any UK based tailors in particular you can think of? Unpadded or very soft shoulder with roped sleeeve heads.

G

When first seeing the suit, I thought it a mistake. But it grew on me and works in the right environment. I agree the sleeves are a bit slim.

Ben

Love the way a dark cord reflects light. With the strong chest and shoulders in this jacket, the fabric also makes for a very substantial looking ensemble. Really good.

P

Salut Simon,

I’ve notice that with all (?) of your corduroy clothing you go for needle cord over wider wale.

Could you tell us a little about hat preference? Is it due to wide wale’s association with country sports?

At the other end of the spectrum, needle cord seems to come close to velour, at least in my mind.

Cheers

John

A remark following on from what you said here: “The burgundy socks from Bresciani I also find are a nice compliment to the green, although overall perhaps there is then a little too much colour going on. ”
Since the entire outfit is smart casual, I wonder why you still bother about the colours in this case, which happen to not clash with one another.
John

Jason

Nice suit. Love the colour. The only thing I’d change are the patch pockets. The line on the outside of the jacket makes them look like they’ve somehow been embossed on the exterior ?
I have my single breasted corduroy suits made by A&S and would thoroughly recommend them as an alternative to the Italians.
My most recent commission was a mustard in a heavier whale. Initially I had reservations but now it is nicely worn in, I love it. The jacket looks great with jeans too.

Rune

You seem to have left England ,Mr. Cromptom? Regarding tailoring. From this I understand that the Italian artisans are way ahead of the English tailors?

Rune

Perhaps this is potential material for an in depth post about the topic? This is very very interesting. Is it a cultural thing?

John

Hi Simon,
While posting my two previous comments, I have forgotten to ask you why you haven’t been interested in a type of cord made up of coton and elastane blend, which is supposedly to be more comfortable.
And if I remember, your previous cord outfits weren’t of the blend kind either.
John

Nick Inkster

Hi Simon

I’ve got a coulple of suits and several pairs of trousers made from the Dugdale White Rose bunch, a corduroy with a small amount of elastene.

They are very soft but have kept their shape really well, despite being at least 5 years old.. Am not sure though if the fabric is still available.

Happy new year.

Philip P

Hi Simon,
I love the shoes but I don’t quite follow when you say “bespoke-made ready-to-wear.”
Will you do a coverage on the pair? Also how much are they?
Thanks
Phil

Stoneman

Slightly off topic but suit related. I was wondering whether you have a specialist insurance provider you utilise for insuring your clothing. Or do you simply add them to your home insurance as a special listing?

Anonymous

Special listing?…. the replacement value of all PS commissions must be upwards of £150k…PS must be known to Lloyd’s by now!

Anonymous

Your PS guides are very useful. Further to this, as an aid to understanding the various cuts and silhouettes could a compilation based on style, not per house, be assembled?

Emanuel Lowi

This kit is easily among my favourites of what you’ve had made.

The colour is gorgeous, the roping works, you appear very comfortable (and smart!) in the ensemble.

I am a little jealous!

😉

Anonymous

Yes: so, from a readers perspective, if a reader was looking for a particular look, cut or style yet unsure where to go a guide that groups by style, supported by information about the providing houses, would be useful.

NZ

Is the jacket canvassed? Does corduroy even need to be?

NZ

Simon, thank you for the response. I am planning to commision a grey corduroy suit (wide wales) and was thinking of getting a double breasted jacket. Would you recommend getting it canvassed or leave it unstructured?

Lewis

Corduroy does seem to having its moment but, as you say, it’s a great choice for what you call a “three-way suit”.

Which other cloths and colours would you say work best for that purpose? I’d guess a mid-grey flannel suit for winter and lighter linen for summer would be a good starting point. Any others?

TT

How useful do you find the derby? I’ve been considering adding a Mod 543 or Mod 106 from Saint Crispin as something else (compared to a split toe) to be a worn as a ‘casual’ shoe that could potential smarten up denim too.

TT

Many thanks. I was thinking about choosing a material and color similar to what you have on your G&G Crompton loafers. Was hoping that tweak would make them a bit more denim friendly. I currently do not rotate loafers into my wear and have been debating adding them for awhile now.

Pat

How versatile is a navy cord sportscoat? What odd trousers would youwear that with?

Frank Shattuck

This tailor does exceptional work. Exceptional. Very satisfying for a tailor to see.
Simon, how does he cut the corduroy, nap down or nap up ? I can learn a lot from a tailor like this.
Frank

Frank Shattuck

As it does. Thank You Simon

Anonymous

Is the suit jacket from Ettore cut similarly tight compared to your Caliendo and Solito jackets or still tighter (especially regarding sleeve width and waist suppression)?

How is the jacket lenght compared to the other two?

Can Ettore also do a neapolitan natural shoulder? Roped shoulders seem to be his default.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Seems like ettore cuts his lapels with a little bit of belly?
You said you were impressed by his work. How is ettores quality compared to other good tailors from naples like ciardi, caliendo, panico or zizolfi?
Could ettore be the best value for money in naples?

Anonymous

Does this affect the lifetime of a suit? Are suits with better finishing more durable?

Anonymous

Is it possible to tell on what Neapolitans are saving?

For me it always seemed that Neapolitans make more visible decorative stitching than Savile Row.

Anonymous

I’m asking because quite a few people told me that they had issues with loose buttons and seams that had come apart by neapolitan jackets (Solito).

Do you had any issues with your commissions from Ettore? Are there any Neapolitans where you had no quality issues so far? Caliendo? Ciardi? Rubinacci? Dalcuore?

Anonymous

I assume it is to heavy for a 4 season suit. Is it a 3 season suit or more for the colder months?

Ayo

Hello permanentstylelondon. Hope this meets you well. My name is Ayo and I live in Houston. Wanted to know if it’s safe to wear corduroy pants in the summer. I have two corduroy pants from kiton and brioni and they are extremely light cotton. They are almost see-through pants when they are put up-close to the eyes. The kiton is white and brioni is light brown. Thanks

Ayo

Thank you Simon for your response. Considering the widespread believe that corduroy are to be worn during the colder months, I was just wondering if the pants that I have could be worn during the warmer months (if there are corduroy that could be worn in the warmer months). The wale count on my pants are very high and you might not know that I’m wearing corduroy pants until you get very close to me. Thank you.

Henry

Simon, please advise me for your corduroy suits did you use 10 wave, 12 wave corduroy or was it 16 wave needlecord fabric? Regards

Chris

Dear Simon,
I have been reading the comments and answers eagerly here as keen to commission my own corduroy 2 piece suit for the autumn winter.
However, I’m struggling to really understand the intricacies of fabric choices and my own needs in the corduroy world.. needlecord/mid wale, wide wale etc… I have not fully picked up on their formality levels so curious as to your insights into the subtleties of the cord I choose. Are there any other points on the fabric I should be aware of? Perhaps how they drape, or what may suit a softer suit better etc? Is one better for separates perhaps?

My plan was something casual and for want of a better term “drakes-esque”. Not knockabout in the sense of say their games suits, but equally not so formal that it would appear to be business like .

Very best.

AK

I really love this suit. I’m looking to get a corduroy suit made up for myself later this year – do you have suggestions as to where to find the cloth? I’m particularly thinking about a charcoal grey, maybe 8 wale. Thank you!