The next area we move onto in our Style Breakdown series is Naples – which might have more high-end bespoke tailors than anywhere else in the world.
Neapolitan tailoring is known for its soft jackets, with light shoulder padding and chest canvas, both making them more suitable for the warmth of southern Italy.
But the style has also become popular globally in recent years, as dress codes have relaxed and men seek a bespoke jacket that is casual enough to wear with chinos, even jeans.
It’s fair to say that this characterisation of the style applies to most Neapolitan tailors. However, there is also more local variation than many realise, and in the next five pieces in this series we will illustrate and analyse this.
We start with Sartoria Solito, which offers what many will think of as the standard, modern Neapolitan jacket.
House: Sartoria Solito
Address: Via Toledo 256, Naples
Cutter: Luigi Solito
Price (at time of writing): €2400 (incl VAT)
Suit starting price: €2800 (incl VAT)
This summer jacket was cut for me by Luigi Solito in 2017. It was my fourth jacket from Solito, with the first being cut by Luigi’s father Gennaro, and occasional involvement from Gennaro in subsequent commissions.
It is a wool/silk/linen mix, which is my favourite material for casual summer jackets. The wool gives the jacket body and crease resistance, while the silk and linen keep it light and breathable.
The colour and pattern, too, have made this jacket a favourite because they combine to make something very versatile.
The brown can go with almost any colour of trouser, from cream to green to charcoal, while the muted check is helpful to differentiate top and bottom halves, without being too loud or showy.
Going back to the style, the most important things that make this a casual jacket, and therefore most suited to jeans or chinos, are the small, natural shoulder and the short, open bottom half.
So the shoulder is relatively narrow, 5¾ inches along the shoulder seam; it is only lightly padded, which keeps it close to my actual shoulder; and it then runs naturally down into the upper arm, without the interruption of any roping in the sleevehead.
The result is that the jacket looks like it’s following the lines of the body rather than imposing anything on it, and is almost more like a sweater than a jacket in this respect.
In the bottom half, the jacket is a little shorter than most (30½ inches) and the line below the fastened waist button is quite curved.
If you follow that line from the waist button downwards, it is relatively straight at the start (straighter than someone like Liverano for instance) but then curves away sharply at the bottom.
Jackets that are shorter, rounded and more open like this will feel more casual.
However, this can be taken too far. Many younger Neapolitan tailors produce jackets with stunted bottom halves and very high waists, which are not flattering at all.
Indeed, Luigi naturally cuts a slightly shorter jacket, but I wanted it at this length. So always be aware of the risk here. The seat of the trousers should always be covered – as it is, just about, here.
What else makes this a typical modern Neapolitan jacket?
Well, the lapel is quite wide (4 inches), which enhances the rounded shape of that front edge. And other things are rounded too, including the shape of the patch pockets and the ‘barchetta’ or ‘little boat’ shape of the breast pocket.
The gorge (the notch shape where the lapel and collar meet) is also quite high – 3¼ inches from the shoulder seam. This is a modern trend and something I might ideally have differently on this jacket. Closer to 4 inches might be better.
The sleeve is also tapered sharply towards the cuff. Despite starting at a fairly standard width at the top, it narrows to the point where a double-cuffed shirt would not be able to fit in the opening.
Overly narrow sleeves is also a trait of some younger Neapolitan tailors, and is worth avoiding.
Tight sleeves only make it look as if your jacket doesn’t fit. They don’t make you look more muscly.
There is a slight angle to the balance of this jacket, with the front a little longer than the back.
But this is not a feature of Neapolitan jackets. Many English do it too, as you can see in other posts in this series, such as my linen Anderson & Sheppard. It’s just often more noticeable with Neapolitans because the jackets are shorter.
Elsewhere, the chest of this jacket is cut quite close with no drape; the back is relatively suppressed through the waist; and the breast pocket is a touch higher than other tailors, reflecting the shorter length and higher gorge.
All are typical of this general Neapolitan style.
We will see in future editions of this series how an older generation of Neapolitan tailors cut things rather bigger, though still soft.
This is closer to the English tailors that inspired them in terms of cut, therefore, just not in structure.
Meanwhile, in the image above you can see that natural line to the shoulder of this Solito, as well as the Everyday Denim shirt and green-cotton handkerchief (from Anderson & Sheppard) it is worn with.
The trousers in a stiff cream cotton were not made by Solito, but by fellow Neapolitan Dalcuore. Their narrowness and deep 5cm cuffs are typical of most Neapolitans too, however.
The shoes are from Edward Green, a cap-toe oxford style they call Canterbury, made in dark-brown suede.
- Shoulder width: 5¾ inches
- Shoulder padding: Thin canvas plus felt
- Sleevehead: Nothing, natural
- Sleeve: Moderate, narrows sharply to cuff
- Lapel: 4 inches
- Gorge height: 3¼ inches
- Drape: None
- Outbreast pocket height: 9¾ inches
- Buttoning point: 18½ inches
- Waist suppression: Moderate
- Quarters: Open, sharply below second button
- Length: 30½ inches
- Back seam: Suppressed
- Vent height: 9¾ inches
- Trouser circumference at knee: 19½ inches (not made by Solito)
- Trouser circumference at cuff: 15¼ inches
Photography: Jamie Ferguson
Love this jacket, Simon. Coincidentally, before you first posted pictures of this jacket, I tried to have a jacket made in the same cloth, but it was out of stock. I hope to be able to find something similar for this spring /summer. In the meantime, I have a sort of autumn/winter version, though somewhat darker, also in a Caccioppoli cloth.
I like the cut of the trousers, too. The narrowness works well with the cut of the jacket. How much does Dalcuore charge for trousers?
I’ve really come to like the Neapolitan style of tailoring (also the Northern style of Sartoria Vergallo). Whilst I appreciate why many people find the English drape cut appealing, I don’t think it really works for me and I actually feel less comfortable with the excess material. I find the closer cut of this style of jacket very appealing and I can see myself gravitating more in this direction. If only there was a UK equivalent…
The closest I’ve seen is from Thom Sweeney. Close cut and soft construction, though still with some Englishness in the sharpness of the cut
Thanks, Simon. I’ve been meaning to talk t the guys at Thom Sweeney. I’ll make a post of doing so in the new year.
Thanks for this enjoyable post on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Thank you Richard, you too
Do you intend to review the jacket and trousers which Thom Sweeney made for you as part of this series?
Also, if I recall correctly, your suede jacket from Cifonelli also has soft Neapolitan like shoulders? Do you intend to review that (or anything by Cifonelli) as part of this series?
No, I wasn’t planning to do the Thom Sweeney, just because it was a long time ago and I think the style has changed a little since then.
The suede Cifonelli didn’t really have Neapolitan shoulders – the padding was the same, and the width, it was just that the sleevehead was taken out so it ran down very naturally into the arm.
But yes, Cifonelli will be included in this, it’s just that I’m trying to sum up the major styles in less than a year if I can! Then I’ll return to fill in others (Camps represents Parisian style for the moment in the series)
Hi Simon. Could you elaborate on the differences between Thom Sweeney’s soft jacket style and the Neapolitans? I have seen some examples and the main difference I notice vs. my Solito is that Thom Sweeney cuts the lapel with a definitive belly as opposed to it being straight.
Great entry to the series as always. Two questions:
1. How does gorge height affect appearance? Is it that the longer and more verticle (to keep the width the same) lapel line contributes to impression of height?
2. You write, “Well, the lapel is quite wide (4 inches), which enhances the rounded shape of that front edge.” I assume you mean the curved bottom of edge? And does it enhance it because of a more angled lapel edge that is reflected in the more angled part of the bottom curve?
Thanks for helping me understand these subtle points.
1. Theoretically it could increase the impression of height, yes, but it’s quite a minor influence I think
1. Theoretically it could increase the impression of height, yes, but it’s quite a minor influence I think
2. Yes exactly. The edge of the lapel starts wider, so it has to curve inwards more. As a result, that top half has more curve to it
Thanks. So if the impact of gorge height has minimal impact on how one’s physical proportions appear, is choice of gorge height mostly just about style/aesthetic preference?
A perfect casual jacket.
Out of interest, how much did you ask Luigi to lower the back by, 1cm?
I think it was 2
Could you provide cloth details of your cream cotton Dalcuore trousers?
Sure – Drapers (4838, 420g)
On the general point of soft shoulders you think this is necessary the best form given that tailoring is really to disguise and enhance the wearer’s body shape ?
Furthermore , I’ve found it very tricky to buy RTW soft tailoring and the shoulder often looks too short or too big . Though this is probably why it’s best to go MTM or Bespoke !
Good point – it depends how much of a priority that is for you. A soft bespoke jacket will still be a lot more flattering that non-tailoring, and actually probably than more structured RTW, given the difference of a bespoke cut, but yes it will never disguise as much as structured bespoke.
But, the latter just can’t be that casual, so if you want something casual there’s no choice
Lovely jacket and fabric. Is the fabric from Cacciopoli?
Thanks for the post. I have been trying to get a similar fabric but to no avail. Any recommendations Simon? Merry Xmas!
I haven’t seen one recently, I have to say. Sorry.
And thank you, you too!
Summer 2020 caccioppoli 300124 seems similar?
The fabric is gorgeous. My initial reaction is that the lapels are too wide for my taste, but I like variety in what I wear so it would be interesting to have a piece with wide lapels.
For your bespoke jackets, do you typically have them made with “surgeon sleeves”?
You mean working buttonholes? Yes, I don’t think I’ve ever been offered a bespoke jacket that didn’t have them (saving one sometimes not being cut to allow it to be moved at a later date)
Some Neoplitans will do the top button (closest to shoulder) in a non-working fashion to allow the customer to remove the button if they want to lengthen the sleeve if they pass it down (remove from top, move to bottom). Clearly shortening the sleeves is more problematic, so best to raise a son with equally long or longer arms….at least this was the story I heard, maybe a cover for short cutting the work to sew a working button hole.
It’s pretty common practice, on Savile Row and elsewhere (where there’s a lot of other handwork done that is purely for show)
I think you mean “surgeon cuffs”.
Hi Simon. I discovered Solito through your blog and commissioned a navy hopsack blazer. Coming along nicely. I find the style very appealing. Having some English suits I think the Italian style suits me better because I have broad chest and shoulders. The English cut can over emphasize that area while the Neapolitan makes the whole look more balanced I think. Does this mean I should focus on Neapolitan commissions going forward or there is always room for English style garments in a complete wardrobe on the basis of formality?
Happy holidays and keep up the great work.
Nice to know, thanks Fidelio.
I think these days it’s unlikely anyone is going to think a Neapolitan suit is not formal enough, but I do think there’s space for one or two for a nice variation in formality for your own benefit, yes
I recently received my Solito navy hopsack blazer and it is wonderful. Definitely the most comfortable jacket I own despite creating a nice silhouette and waist suppression. Perhaps it would be relevant to hear your comments about comfort as another dimension in your review of the different styles. For me at least it will become a must have in future commissions from any tailor. I am curious for example about how comfortable is your Liverano jacket, having read your review and your comment about the high armholes catching you.
By the way I also received my Bridge Coat, what an excellent product. You get the sense you are wearing something special and different. Keep them coming.
Nice point about comfort, yes I’ll include that. Your feedback on the Solito is interesting because generally I find Neapolitans like Luigi a little close in fit, so not always the most comfortable (compared to say A&S or Panico).
And very pleased you love the trench coat, that means a lot!
It might be the lightness of the construction -which is new to me- and the weight of the hopsack but I find it quite enjoyable to wear. Can you comment on your Liverano from that perspective? I am tempted to try it.
I wouldn’t say the Liverano is more restrictive than my Solito, no
It is my understanding that Gennaro cuts a fuller jacket than Luigi. Do you think it would be worth getting a fuller cut from this house?
Gennaro doesn’t cut that much anymore, so it’s really worth thinking of it as a single style. But Luigi can do it a little looser if you want. Just don’t try and make it something it’s not
Thank you Simon for the info. As you always say, let the tailor cut the house style. I just commissioned a jacket with Luigi on his trunk show in Miami, Florida.
He’s a great fellow and we talked about the jackets he has made for you in the past. I look forward to seeing how this style compares to other Neapolitan tailoring houses in future posts.
Very nice! A Happy New Year to you.
The neapolitan cut at its best, this.
Re sleeve width, proportionality to the rest of the outfit (width of trousers and torso from front/back or side) is key. So it makes sense to narrow the sleeves as the body of the jacket hugs the body more tightly. Obviously, if at any point the jacket follows the outline of one’s triceps—i.e. if one is visibly muscly—it’s too tight. And considerations shouldn’t be limited to when the arms hang at one’s side.
I can see the sleeves on this jacket being tapered another eighth of an inch unless doing so impedes movement.
Thanks Ben. I think the point you usually feel it as too tight is when you bend the arm at the elbow. A sleeve cut too close will start to cut in and restrain the arm at that point, and quickly distort the shape of the sleeve
You’ve had a number of jackets made by Solito, but never a suit or any odd trousers, unless I’m mistaken.
Is there any particular reason for this?
No, not really, just coincidence. I tend to have more suits from English makers and more sports jackets from Neapolitan, but I’ve also had suits from Neapolitans, just happen not to have had any from Solito
I’ve just worked my way down your excellent tailor styles series for the first time. What a great read!
With fascination, I noted that it was not until I reached the Italian makers that I for the first time thought the garments really looked good on you (with this Solito jacket coming close to perfection in my opinion). Forgive me if that sounds harsh, I don’t mean to offend in any way and I do have a point to make!
It is only when I read this article series that I realized that all the menswear enthusiasts I follow on social media almost exclusively wear suits and jackets of Italian make. Doubtlessly this constant bombardment of what is the “right” look has skewed my views of what is a proper fit and style.
However, I feel that most, if not all, of the English suits and jackets in this series look almost gimmicky. Obviously there is no such thing as objectiveness in tailoring, but when I try to methodically break down what I am seeing in the photos in the articles, I feel that the Italian pieces have been more expertly made to fit and flatter you. They look modern while maintaining the timelessness of a garment that has been made to fit the wearer’s body perfectly, emphasizing and suppressing the physical features of the wearer where needed.
The English (and indeed the Camps de Luca as well) jackets all look overly dramatic and stylized, with their often wide, structured and roped shoulders, full bodies and roomy arms. Paired with the very wide trousers, they almost look dated. They are head-turners in the way a costume is a head-turner, not in the way a truly excellent suit is a head-turner, if you know what I mean? There are some great points made in the comments on those posts, highlighting the issues (especially on the Henry Poole DB, which, forgive me, looks rather dreadful).
How do you feel about this? Are my points valid or have I just seen too much Liverano and Attolini in my Instagram feed?
Would you say that you are you moving more towards Italian cuts, or do you feel that the English ones still hold up?
I think what you say is valid, but that it’s very cultural and depends on trends. Bigger shoulders look too much at the moment when everyone’s in T-shirts, but when the 80s or Mad Men comes around again, it won’t look so.
Also, it depends on situation. I’d still want an English suit for something formal or extra smart. And I feel the English ones still do very well there. But I probably dress like that once a week, so that’s the limitation.
Very insightful comments Alex! So far, my favorite garments in this series have been the Solito and Caraceni ones, both look fantastic. Simon has also done articles on other Italian tailors such as Zizolfi and Caliendo that are very helpful. The Caliendo and Zizolfi garments are beautiful and the fit on him looks to be exceptional. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly moving in the Italian direction, in large part due to Permanent Style.
Simon, this jacket is superb! I’ve read all of the articles in this series and have enjoyed them tremendously. So far, the top three styles that I prefer are Solito, Caraceni, and A&S, thus giving a slight edge to the Italians. For some reason I find the Caraceni style particularly interesting, but all three are outstanding. This series is some of your best work and I’m looking forward to all of the future articles.
Is there any cotton like that (the one of your trousers) in the Caccioppoli range?
Yes I think so, though I don’t know the number I’m afraid
Simon, do you know who made the fabric and what’s the code? Regards Henry
It’s Caccioppoli, but a seasonal fabric so not available anymore. However, there was a very similar brown listed in our recent post on my favourite seasonal cloths – 390135, here. The fabric is darker than it looks in that swatch image.
Thanks to your coverage, I have recently ordered a sports coat and odd trouser from Solito. If I plan on directly visiting Naples, would it be plausible to secure the lower, local pricing for subsequent orders thereafter assuming I will have dialed in my fit and will just order remotely (and have things shipped to me)?
Probably not Bernie, no. Generally tailors stick to pricing to foreign or local customers separately, as it would be a little chaotic charging different prices depending on whether travel was involved in a particular commission or not. In any case I would always recommend at least one fitting on something new, ideally two
Did you specifically ask Luigi for a subtly longer jacket and lower buttoning point, or is your final jacket here more or less the house style? I have also seen the shorter length and high button-stance taken too far in this type of jacket and want to avoid that on my first Neapolitan commission, which is later this week. Thanks Simon.
I specifically asked Luigi to be a little longer in the cut. Also slightly lower buttoning point and slightly looser in the upper body
Thank you for this and all the other great content on your site.
I am based in Paris, and like the Neapolitan style best (not a fan of the Paris style). I am looking to build a serious wardrobe of business suits (starting from close to scratch).
Given this, I see two immediate main options:
– MTM through Jean-Manuel Moreau;
– bespoke, but this essentially requires 3 trips to Naples, as Neapolitan tailors seem not to travel to Paris (or at least not regularly).
Am I missing other options?
Between these two, I think I favor option bespoke with 3 trips to Naples (though really not easy to fit in my schedule). I am thinking Solito or Panico, based on your reviews and time spent watching pictures on instagram etc.
I’d welcome your advice.
I don’t know everyone that visits Paris, but I think JMM would be a good place to start – particularly given this is your first foray. Dont start travelling that much until you’re more sure of your style and the experience.
Thank you for all your insightful discussion of menswear . I have very much enjoyed your articles and videos.
I will be visiting Naples this summer and am looking to have a jacket made. I am trying to narrow down which tailor to choose. From what I’ve seen, there is a lot to like about a number of those that you have worked with- Ciardi, Dalcuore, Zizolfi, Solito and Caliendo. I am a little smaller than you, 5’10” and about 140lbs, somewhat athletic build. It seems like Solito or Caliendo might be a good match, but perhaps you have a different opinion , or other tailors to recommend at this point. If you can spare a minute or two, would you mind sharing your thoughts? I really appreciate it.
Thank you Joel.
First off, how are you planning on having fittings? You will need to meet the tailor at least three times, possibly four, over a period of several weeks. Are you going to be in Naples the whole summer? If not, you will need to pick someone who also visits somewhere near you.
On picking between tailors, I would pick first on styles you like (shorter/longer, traditional/contemporary etc) more than on body type. For that, have a read through the Style Breakdown series on the different tailors perhaps, to compare them.
Thanks Simon . I will be in the Naples area for a couple of weeks. I was hoping that would allow for at least a couple of fittings, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking. I live in San Francisco, and I believe Solito comes here at least once a year, so that was another reason I thought he might be a good choice. I travel fairly frequently though and could talk myself into a Naples detour sometime within the year. I appreciate the advice, and please let me know if you are aware of other tailors from Naples who visit SF or LA from time to time.
Sometimes tailors make exceptions for customers, and interrupt all other work for them to do it in that time, but it’s rare. You’ll really need someone who visits somewhere in the US you can go to.
Apart from Solito, there’s the Sicilian tailor that Peter @urbancomposition works with, and visits SF
How similar is the 300141 Caccioppoli from the new summer bunch (jackets) to this cloth from what you can see?
It looks very similar and I love the cloth so keen to get your view.
In terms of the current situation does it make sense to order the cloth now and then send to a maker for when I would like to have made. Is there a size to ask for that’s safe (6 ft 3 inches / 83 kg)
Thanks for all the guidance as always
It looked very similar, I don’t think you’d notice a significant difference.
In terms of ordering, it would be simplest for the tailor to do it. Why don’t you just contact the tailor and tell them that’s the cloth you’ll be wanting? Then they can get it in. If they’re unsure how much they’d need for you, they’ll ask about height and chest size etc (as well as style – DB, patch pockets and so on)
For this jacket, is it finished with double stitching or swelled edges? Do you think swelled edges would be best for only solid colored jackets and heavier ones?
Yes, it has double stitching and so swelled edges. I think it can work on all types of jackets, light or heavy, solid or patterned
Does double stitching always go hand in hand w/ swelled edges or are they different? For ex: Does your Caliendo tan summer jacket and Caliendo navy DB hopsack have swelled edges, double stitching, or both?
Unless you’re referring to something different (the phrases aren’t always used consistently), a double row of stitching will always create a swelled edge. The second row creates fabric between them, causing it to look swelled
I am noticing that there is a variation in how pronounced /double stitching/swelled edges are. Some double stitching has a more pronounced/sportier effect with a taller swelling. I read that this effect is caused by either pick stitching the edge using a backstitch or a single stitching for a more pronounced effect.
What do you think about more pronounced swelling on jackets with patterns, like your featured Solito summer jacket?
I think you’ll find it will also vary with the cloth a little, and just show more on plainer or paler jackets too. It also sounds a little like you’re focusing on something a bit too detailed, to be honest. It’s a very small point.
I think the swelling here looks good
I think you are right in that it mostly depends on the cloth, thank you
@Simon – I notice in these photos that the trousers look to have a very slight break but also understand from previous posts this could simply be due to the angle of the photo or how you were standing at the time. I often notice these days a trend to have no break of any kind and if anything, the cuff hovering just above the shoe or slightly “kissing” it. What is your preference?
I like to have the trouser just touching the shoe generally – not a large or obvious break, but not floating above either.
I think the stiff cotton here exaggerates that break a little.
I have a question regarding bespoke. If I want a suit made, would you recommend having a jacket made at one tailor and trousers at another given that we don’t factor in the economic aspect and only focus on the quality aspect? For example, having a jacket made by Solito and having the trousers made by Ambrosi/Pommella. Or would it be better to have it all done in one place?
Either is fine – it likely wouldn’t make a big difference in either case. Most of the trouser makers do the trousers for the tailors anyway.
I’d just go with a different trouser maker if you think you like their trousers more. And make sure you buy all the cloth at the same time!
I’m planning to visit Solito for a separate jacket this October (21) on their trunk show.
I wanted to ask about the length issue you mention here and how to communicate my thoughts. Do you advise asking for a longer cut from luigi or letting him do his thing? I don’t really know enough about tailoring or my own proportions to want to tinker too much with an expert, and am ultimately unsure of my own preferences on length.
I think in that case, Chris, just let him cut the jacket his way, and have a look at it when you have the first fitting and see what you think about the length. Perhaps think of a jacket you like the length of currently as well, if you have one, so you can measure that or even bring it along to compare. That’s often a good idea when you’re unsure about any points of style.
Lovely jacket! What trousers or trouser colors do you often wear with this jacket other than cream? I’m thinking of commissioning a similar jacket, but so far I think the choice for bottoms is somewhat limiting (given how light the color of the jacket is).
Dark colours work well too, eg dark grey or dark olive. Black can even look good.
I’d say most colours apart from a similar brown, and navy
What is your opinion on showing shirt cuff? I have read that if the jacket is casual, there is no need to show the cuff. Thank you!
If it’s more casual it’s certainly more a question of personal taste, but I still always want a little bit of cuff showing. It’s just a nice way to enjoy the way the two colours and textures work together
These trousers look like a cotton chino and seem to work beautifully with the jacket. Would linen trousers work better here as an alternative?
I’d marginally prefer linen, but this cotton is nice, yes. The problem is there’s a huge variation among cotton materials, from very coarse to very fine, and different finishes. I’ve never found another I liked quite as much as this